Maruti Suzuki is all set to dive into the performance-oriented hatchback segment with the upcoming launch of the Baleno RS.
Maruti Suzuki will launch the Baleno RS, the automaker’s answer to the Polo GT TSI and the Abarth Punto, on March 03, 2017. It's undoubtedly one of the most anticipated launches this year from the country’s largest passenger automaker. The Baleno RS concept was displayed for the first time at the 2016 Indian Auto Expo and its specs were leaked recently. We bet you’ll be surprised to see some of these facts about the Maruti Baleno RS. Let’s roll!
Yes, you read it right. At the time of launch it will be the most powerful petrol Maruti on sale, more powerful than even the Ciaz! As majority of manufacturers have their relatively new engine family of downsized petrol motors with forced induction system (turbocharging), Suzuki didn't want to be left behind and introduced the Boosterjet series in 2015. The first engine in this new family – 1.0-litre Boosterjet – made its international debut with the Baleno. However, unlike the Baleno that made its global sales premier in India, the Boosterjet never made it to the country until now.
The Baleno RS will see the debut of this engine in India, and eventually the Boosterjet family of turbocharged petrol engines. In India, the Baleno RS puts out 100PS of max power at 5,500rpm and a peak torque of 150Nm between 1,700-4,500rpm. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission and comes with all-around disc brakes.
As the Baleno RS will debut the Boosterjet engine clan in the country, we cannot rule out the possible introduction of the more powerful 1.4-litre Boosterjet. This engine powers the Suzuki Vitara S, which is not offered in India as of now, and the facelifted India-bound S-Cross. Maruti might introduce the 1.4-litre turbo motor with the facelifted S-Cross in India.
Like its arch rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI and the Abarth Punto, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS is expected to come only in the range-topping variant of the stock hatch – Alpha. The Alpha variant comes with all the bells and whistles, such as the segment-first bi-xenon headlamps, 7.0-inch Suzuki’s SmartPlay infotainment system with Apple CarPlay (Android Auto as well similar to the Ignis), LED tail lamps and others. All this will help the RS pack several segment-firsts compared to its rivals similar to the Baleno.
Its international version – in which the 1.0-litre Boosterjet is offered without any RS shenanigans – is more powerful than the one that is coming to India. It puts out 111PS of max power, roughly 10PS more than the Indian version, and 170Nm of peak torque, which is 20Nm more compared to the RS. Both the versions are mated to the same 5-speed manual transmission.
As seen in the production-ready concept of the Balneo RS from the Auto Expo, the automaker is likely to add body skirts in the RS version, and that probably will be all. Apart from this, the Baleno RS test mule has been spied a lot of times flaunting the ‘midnight black pearl’ shade, which is not available in the stock Baleno as of now. Maruti might be saving this colour for the RS version of the hatchback.