Maruti Suzuki has, in a really long time, launched its first driver orientated hatchback. It’s called the Baleno RS, and we are to drive it tomorrow. But before that, here are the basic details about the newest, most powerful Baleno on sale in the country.
First things first, the car now gets an RS badging, which according to Maruti Suzuki, stands for Road Sport. Fair enough, since the car is going to spend most of its time on public roads. Which is where its new more powerful 1-litre direction injection, turbocharged, three cylinder petrol engine makes all the more sense. The all-aluminium engine makes 100.5 bhp and 15.29 kgm, but the latter is available from a very diesel-like 1,700 rpm onwards, and that means it’s more driveable around town. The figures indicate 20 per cent more power and 30 per cent more torque than what the 1.2-litre naturally aspirated engine makes in the regular Baleno.
The low kerb-weight of 950 kilos, achieved with extensive use of high strength steel, promises that the Baleno RS makes the most of the 100 horses. Having said that, it must also be noted that Maruti Suzuki has tested the car for future safety parameters including front offset impact, side impact, and even pedestrian protection. It gets disc brakes on all four wheels (shod with 16-inch, 195-section tyres), ABS and EBD, dual airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, and ISOFIX seat mounts as part of the standard equipment.
Talking of equipment, the Baleno RS will only be available in one, fully-loaded version. So it gets Maruti’s SmartPlay infotainment system (complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity suites), rear parking sensors with reverse camera, 16-inch alloys finished in black, etc. To differentiate it from the lesser variants, apart from the RS badging at the back (and black alloys as mentioned above), the Baleno RS gets a ‘sporty grille, underbody spoilers, and bold front bumper’, an all-black interior scheme, and a more distinct rear. The suspension is also said to be updated, while the disc brake setup comprises a 14-inch unit up front and a slightly smaller, 13-inch one at the rear.
There will be a total of seven colour choices, including the Fire Red that you see here. In terms of dimensions, the car is 3,995 mm long, 1,745 mm wide, and 1,510 mm tall. It has a wheelbase of 2,520 mm, a 170 mm of ground clearance, and offers 339 litres of boot space. Slightly irrelevant if we are talking about performance alone, but turbocharging benefits in economy, too, which is reflected in the official claimed figure of 21.1 kpl.
Maruti says more than 1.5 lakh Balenos are sold already. And with a price tag of Rs 8.69 lakh, ex-showroom, for the Baleno RS, we expect the numbers to rise even quicker. Has the enthusiast’s prayer finally been answered? We’ll find out more tomorrow…