A prototype believed to be the next-generation 2017 Suzuki Swift Sport has been spied for the first time during hot weather testing in southern Europe.

Compared to the regular Swift prototype spied in March, this vehicle sports a more prominent front spoiler with larger air intakes, side skirts, and a fatter rear bumper with two large exhaust pipes on each side.

Though heavily disguised, the development vehicle closely resembles the leaked images of the next-generation Suzuki hatch that were published in March - which was also believed to be the Swift Sport due to its body kit, alloy wheels and dual exhaust outlets.

Suzuki Swift Sport 7

Design-wise, the new Swift will make a bigger leap in styling than the current model did from its predecessor, bringing a sharper and more masculine in place of the cuter, more rounded car on sale today.

According to a report by UK’s Autocar, the new Swift Sport will ditch its naturally-aspirated 100kW/160Nm 1.6-litre engine for the 103kW/220Nm 1.4-litre ‘Boosterjet’ turbo from the Vitara SUV, which should give it a welcome performance boost - though still not in the same league as the 130kW+ Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Meanwhile, regular Swifts in Europe will be powered by the 82kW/170Nm 1.0-litre Boosterjet turbo that recently debuted in Australia in the similarly-sized Baleno hatch.

Suzuki Swift Sport 2

Details on what will shift gears is still unknown, however, using the Vitara S Turbo as a guide, the Swift Sport should be offered with a six-speed automatic with paddle-shifters as an option, while a six-speed manual would likely be standard as with the current model.

In the leaked images from earlier this year, the Sport is likely to get a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a new infotainment system shared with the Baleno and Vitara featuring satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay, while a six-speed manual gear knob can be seen.

Suzuki Swift Sport 5

The new Suzuki Swift Sport is expected to be officially revealed mid-2017 - well after the regular Swift range which is expected to debut at the Paris motor show in October - so stay tuned for an update.