Maruti Suzuki entered the premium hatchback segment in India with the Baleno. It competed with the the Hyundai Elite i20 and the Honda Jazz. While some had their reservation about Maruti Suzuki striking big in the premium segment, the company received over 1 lakh bookings of the Baleno within six months of it's launch. And now Maruti Suzuki will debut in the hot hatch space with the Baleno RS that is scheduled to be launched on March 3, 2017.
The Indian automobile manufacturer had already showcased the Baleno RS concept at the 2016 Auto Expo. The Baleno RS will be powered by the new 1.0-litre 3-cylinder Bosterjet turbopetrol engine. This motor makes 112PS and 175Nm, 28PS and 60Nm more than the regular version. Considering the fact that the kerb weight of the Baleno is substantially lesser than the present-gen Swift, the RS will be one of the best hot hatches in the segment. The motor is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.
The company will manufacture this performance spec version of the Baleno at the Manesar plant along with the regular variant. It is believed that Maruti Suzuki might also start manufacturing the Baleno at the newly developed Gujarat plant. We believe this will help the company bring down the long waiting period which at present stands at approximately six months.
Presently, the India made Baleno exported to countries like Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and even Japan. The RS branding will be done on the Baleno hatch only for the Indian markets. The Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS will rival the likes of the 105PS/175Nm Volkswagen Polo GT TSI priced at Rs 9.39 lakh and the 145PS/212Nm Fiat Punto Abarth priced at Rs 9.99 lakh. We expect Maruti Suzuki to price the Baleno RS between Rs 8.5-9 lakh.
The Baleno RS too will be sold through the Nexa dealerships in the country. Bookings for the hot hatch have not commenced yet. However, we have learnt that it will start in the next few weeks with a booking amount of Rs 11,000.