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Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS – First Drive Report
Stepping onto the sportier side of things, Maruti has finally given its adrenaline junkies more than one reason to cheer. Ladies and gentlemen we are talking of none other than the Maruti Baleno RS. Is this hot hatch more than just a badge let us find out?
Maruti Baleno RS – Exterior
Maruti Baleno RS – Interior
Look inside and the cabin is remains unchanged in comparison to the standard Baleno. In fact the Maruti Baleno RS stands to provide an all back interior with silver inserts that blend in well to give it sporty feel. The feel is further complemented by the presence of a SmartPlay infotainment system that caters features like Apple Car Play, Navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, AUX-In, USB port among others. As for safety it offers dual airbags, TECT (Total Effective Control Technology) that ensures effective absorption and dispersion of crash energy.
Maruti Baleno RS – Engine and Performance
This is for the first time that Maruti Suzuki is not sticking to their tried and tested petrol engine. In fact the automaker has introduced an all-new 1.0 litre BoosterJet Direct Injection engine which could be seen on other variants such as the Maruti Ignis and Vitara Brezza as well in the coming future. But for now it is the Baleno RS that gets this power plant to deliver power that thrills the user.
This engine in specific is a 3 cylinder 998cc petrol unit which is capable of churning out a power output of 100 bhp with 150 Nm of torque. These figures might seem less on paper in comparison to rest of the competition but when we actually put the RS to test that too at the BIC Buddh International Racing Circuit we were in for a surprise. The engine feels very refined and is always eager to go from the word go. There is linear acceleration which adds to the overall driving experience of this hot hatchback.
Triple digit speeds can be achieved in the matter of no time as Maruti Baleno RS settles for a top speed of 170 Kmph. Though while stretching the engine really hard, which we did at the track, the thought of the availability of an additional cylinder did cross the mind that could make things better in relation to performance. But then again how many customers would actually be taking their cars to the track. That aside, working in tandem is 5-speed manual transmission which according to Maruti has been tweaked a bit to provide precise shifts enabling optimum performance out the power plant.
Considering that Maruti Baleno RS weighs around 60 kgs more than the stock hatchback, it’s handling characteristics are really up to the mark. Throw it on corners and the Baleno RS will respond immediately. A slightly stiffer suspension setup along with disc brakes all around ensures that this piece of machinery is enjoyable each and every second no matter whether be it the road or on a race track. There is negligible amount of body roll.
Maruti Baleno RS – Verdict
Maruti Baleno RS is a true breed of performance that would put a smile on your face each time that one gets behind the wheel. It’s agile, has the sporty look and feel that further complements the thrill of driving via its 1.0 Litre Booster Jet Direct Injection petrol engine. With only one variant on offer at a price tag of INR 8.69 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi), the Maruti Suzuki Baleno is a very good package to consider while looking at hatchback that delivers on looks, comfort and performance. It is by no means just a badge, this hatchback has a certain character to offer which in no-doubt will have many enthusiast banging at the doorstep of their nearest Nexa dealer.