The hot hatchback segment in India is brewing with a lot of performance oriented cars. While Maruti Suzuki has been know for its fuel efficient cars in India, this is about to change with the launch of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS. The Baleno RS will be powered by a 1.0-litre turbocharged BoosterJet petrol engine and is expected to be launched in the country by February 2017. Volkswagen India recently launched the Polo GTI 1.8 TSI in the Indian market, taking the competition even further. The performance hatchback segment in India consists of cars like the Fiat Punto Abarth, Volkswagen Polo GT TSI and the Ford Figo. The Maruti Baleno RS was first showcased in India as a concept at the 2016 Delhi Auto Expo. The Maruti Baleno RS will be sold through the premium NEXA outlets and will be joined by the Maruti Ignis, the regular Baleno hatchback, S-Cross and the upcoming Maruti Ciaz facelift.
The Maruti Baleno RS was earlier expected to be launched in the country by November 2016, but the recent fire outbreak at Maruti Suzuki’s vendor’s plant in Gurgaon and the huge demand for the regular Maruti Baleno hatchback along with the Maruti Vitara Brezza, the launch has been postponed to Q1 2017. Both the Baleno and Vitara Brezza commands waiting period anywhere in the range of 3 to 8 months depending upon variant. Maruti Suzuki is trying to keep its production line free to manufacture more Baleno & Vitara Brezza cars in order to meet the huge demand.
The immediate launch of the Maruti Baleno RS will result in lower production of other Maruti cars which will thereby increase the waiting period of the existing cars. Also, Maruti Suzuki anticipates similar demand for the Baleno RS once launched and so as to maintain the equilibrium, the company has planned to push the launch of the Baleno RS to next year. The Maruti Baleno RS has been spied testing on various occasions across the country, while the car is expected to come with a new color option apart from the slightly redesigned exteriors and new 16-inch gun metal alloy wheels.
Additional features on the Baleno RS could include a new touch-screen SmartPlay infotainment system with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay while the car will also get aluminium pedals. The car might also get cruise control system along with ESP while other features will include leather upholstery for seats with RS branding. The Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS will rival the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI, Fiat Punto Abarth, and the Ford Figo.
The new Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS will be powered by a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder BoosterJet turbocharged petrol engine that is capable of churning out 110 BHP of maximum power while developing 170 Nm of peak torque. Transmission duties will be handled by a 5-speed manual gearbox while the car will also come equipped with a CVT automatic transmission. The Baleno RS will be sold exclusively through NEXA premium dealerships and we expect the car to be priced in the range of INR 8 lakh to INR 10 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).