Sportier Baleno RS variant coming soon

Words by Yash Sunil

Maruti Suzuki’s premium hatchback, the Baleno, will soon come with a sportier engine and minor cosmetic changes. The ‘sporty’ variant is expected to be called as Baleno RS. First showcased at the Auto Expo 2016, the Baleno RS will be sold via the Nexa dealerships across the country.

The USP of the RS will be its engine. The hatch will come with Maruti Suzuki’ newly developed 1-litre, 3-cylinder, VGT petrol engine, which makes 110bhp and 175Nm of torque. It is expected to be mated with a 5-speed manual, which is already available in the Baleno.

Apart from the engine, some cosmetic changes are expected to be made as well. The RS will get a sportier exterior with a slightly rehashed bumper with a faux diffuser at the front. The test mules were seen sporting gunmetal alloys, which are expected to make it to the production version. On the interior front, expect subtle changes to the dashboard and the seats. Of course, the existing features of the Baleno will be carried over into the RS such as the touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, auto rain sensing wipers and headlights, and oodles of space.

The Baleno RS’ launch is expected to be followed by the Ignis. When launched, the RS will be pitted against the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI and Fiat Punto Abarth. Although, the international variant is specced similarly, it does the 0-100kmph claimed run in 11 seconds, which is slower than the Punto by over 2 seconds and 1 second by the GT TSI. However, being a Maruti Suzuki, the Baleno RS will have the edge over its competitors thanks to the practicality and after sales service the carmaker offers.  Even the prices are expected to be lower than the other two, because of heavy localization.

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