For all these years, Maruti Suzuki has been known for its frugal, budget-friendly cars, but none of is cars have stood out as performance machines except for the Swift, to some extent. But the Indian automaker has been revamping its budget car image with launch of bigger and more powerful cars, a case in point being the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS. A performance-oriented version of the upscale Maruti Suzuki Baleno hatchback, the Baleno RS is all set to make its entry into Nexa premium dealerships nationwide in February 2017. This will mark the entry of a new player into the performance hatchback segment, which includes the Ford Figo, Fiat Punto Abarth and the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI. The Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS, with its 1.0-litre torbocharged BoosterJet petrol engine, will come into the Nexa dealership chain after the Maruti Suzuki Ignis launches in January. With its launch, Nexa showrooms will offer the Ignis, Baleno, S-Cross and Baleno RS. The 2017 Maruti Ciaz facelift will launch a little after the Baleno RS.

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. Also Read: Maruti Suzuki Ignis: 5 Things to Know

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Hatchback
Maruti Suzuki Baleno Hatchback

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. Also Read: 2017 Maruti Suzuki Ciaz facelift to get 1.6L diesel engine; will be sold through NEXA

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Interiors
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Interiors

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).