Old adage, new edge

by Andy Bryenton

Those who know a bit about motoring history, will know that Lotus boss Colin Chapman famously said that the recipe for a better car, was to simplify and add lightness. 

Now from the exotic to the more prosaic — what happens when this philosophy is applied to one of the most popular small runabouts in the world? The Suzuki Swift is now in its fourth modern generation, and that means a sporty alternative is also on the tarmac. So how have the research and development team from the company, most famous for their face-meltingly fast superbikes, made this lively little machine out-supermini the actual Mini? By taking a leaf from Mr Chapman’s book in the chassis department. 

The Swift Sport is based on the same HEARTECT platform as the tiny Ignis crossover, and while much of its bodywork seems larger — that aggressive grille, chin spoiler, flared arches and more — this is more to do with stance than added mass. The all-important torque to weight ratio, which dictates how much power there is under the hood to offset the weight of the vehicle, has been pared down to a healthy 4.2 kilos to one Newton Metre. 

When it comes to producing that power, Suzuki have taken a design cue from way back in the 1970s.

When car makers then wanted to make a sporty model of their usual family car, they weren’t shy about simply shoehorning in the biggest V8 they could find in the parts bin.

While Suzuki may not be in the business of crafting V8 engines — though many think that if they would just weld two Hayabusa blocks together they could rule the world — they have been bold enough to equip the new Swift Sport with the turbocharged engine from a full-sized SUV. In these modern times, taking the 1.4 turbo BoosterJet mill from the Vitara and landing it under the hood of the much lighter and more nimble Swift Sport, is the equivalent of bolting a Porsche boxer engine under the tail of the popular VW Beetle in the 1960s.