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Sports Version Of Suzuki Swift To Debut In NZ 2006

Sports Version Of New Suzuki Swift To Debut In New Zealand Next Year

A high performance version of the chic new Suzuki Swift hatchback is to go on sale in New Zealand in mid-2006.

The Swift Sport, which has just been announced in Japan, features a larger, more powerful engine, up rated brakes and suspension, and distinctive changes to both the exterior and interior.

Feed back from Suzuki's highly successful international rallying programme, including the Junior World Rally Championship has helped in the development of the new version.

The five-door Sport hatchback is expected to be a worthy successor to the previous generation Swift GTi that established a good reputation for class-leading performance in races and rallies as well as being a spirited performer for normal motoring.

A longer stroke version of the M15A double overhead camshaft engine used in the standard Swift boosts capacity from 1,490cm3 to 1,586cm3. Engine power increases by more than 20 percent while there is also an improvement in torque.

Changes to the variable inlet camshaft timing, including an increase in camshaft lift, stronger valve springs, and a higher compression ratio and a new free-flow exhaust system all contribute to the boost in power.

A special piston cooling jet has been added, an oil cooler becomes standard and the 5-speed gearbox is fitted with lower ratios to make best use of the changes to the multi-valve engine.

The transmission is also equipped with a new fluorocarbon coated shift cable and a larger diameter clutch copes with the extra power.

Acceleration is faster and the car's top speed rises to 200 km/h, making the Swift Sport a solid challenger in the warm and hot hatch category.

Engineers were concerned that an increase in engine power should run hand-in-glove with a boost to the braking system and sporting modifications to the suspension.

Larger front disc brakes are fitted, and the rear drums are replaced by disc brakes.

While the car's ride height remains unaltered, the Sport benefits from a 20 percent increase in roll stiffness, with firmer front springs and dampers. The rear suspension is also firmer to cope with the higher performance.

Externally, the Swift Sport looks more aggressive, with a redesigned and deeper front bumper incorporating a larger air intake and blade-like aerodynamic tabs adjacent to the driving lights. A colouring treatment to the headlights also gives the Suzuki a more purposeful look.

Discreet lower side sills reduce rear lift and a pair of tailpipes sprouts from a deep rear valance. A modest tailgate-mounted spoiler is also part of the Sport package.

In place of the 185/60R tyres fitted to 15-inch diameter wheels, the Sport version comes with larger 16-inch diameter spoked aluminium alloy wheels and 195/50R series tyres.

Separate round bulb units beneath clear covers are used for the taillights but the same overall clean styling is retained.

Inside subtle changes include red stitching for the sports high-back front seats, a leather-rimmed steering wheel, red and silver accenting in the black interior, aluminium alloy pedals and footrest and chrome ring finishers for the instrumentation.

"We are excited about the prospects for the Sport version after an overwhelming market response to the new Swift range," said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand

Export of the additional model is not expected until next year and the final specification is still being formalised.

ENDS

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