Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Overview
Maruti is stepping up their game in the Indian market and of late they have been pushing the envelope in various new dimensions. The carmaker introduced their premium NEXA brand having niche products to taste the higher end of the mass market segment. Maruti recently experimented a different design direction with the launch of the Ignis targeting millennials and now they are finally entering the performance oriented segment. Yes, we are talking about the new Baleno RS that comes with a brand new BoosterJet engine. We just drove the hot hatch at the Buddh International Circuit, testing the limits of the 1.0-litre turbo petrol motor. The RS moniker here stands for ‘Road Sport’ and we see if the first performance-centric hatch from Maruti justifies the RS badge. Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS On road price starts from 8,50,097/-. Check for price details of Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS in CarzPrice.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Exteriors & Interiors
The Baleno Rs. (Road Sport, not rally sport, according to Maruti) is the car market leader’s first attempt at creating what is closest to a hot hatch. In the Indian context, this belongs to the performance category, while elsewhere in the world, this is just one more engine variant of the Baleno; and in most cases meant to help meet more stringent emission norms. But, what is in a name… or should we say an appendage. The numbers should still excite petrol-heads. How does 102 hp of power and 150 Nm of torque sound to you? Not bad for a sub-one-litre engine in a sub-tonne hatch, right?
But, before we get carried away by the new Boosterjet engine and its prowess, let us get past the Baleno RS’s design identity. From a distance, the new sportier version of the Baleno could pass off as the existing model, except maybe from the rear and if you had a keen eye. Maruti Suzuki has chosen to keep the unique features on the RS’s exterior to a fair minimum. It has got a new bonnet grille with a grey metallic chrome surround and a new bumper at the front with what looks like a large airdam and aggressive profile. Faux skirts in the same grey metallic chrome finish run along the sides and under the front fender. The rear features a considerably altered fender compared to the regular Baleno’s. There is also the rear spoiler at the roof and the mid-tail gate chrome half spoiler with the reversing camera in the middle. The only place where the Rs. appendage is visible is at the rear with the badge in blue. The most unique and good looking feature of the new Rs. variant are the black alloy wheels.
The changes to the Baleno RS’s cabin are similarly minimal. The interior is offered in an all-black avatar, in keeping with a very sophisticated, European flavour. The touchscreen infotainment screen and the coloured multi-information display in the instrument cluster with the helpful power and torque delivery identified in a real-time circular chart format have both been carried forward from the current Baleno’s cabin. The RS’s cabin is otherwise identical and doesn’t sport any Rs. identifiers. But the Baleno’s cabin was already a good jump in fit and finish quality
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Engine
The Boosterjet 1.0 is one of the two engines Suzuki produces in the Boosterjet series, the other being the more powerful 1.4 l unit. The 998 cc, three-cylinder engine on the Baleno RS is a direct injection turbo engine that produces around 100 hp of peak power and 150 Nm of torque. The Boosterjet 1 l engine is claimed to deliver 20 % more power and 30 % more torque compared to a regular 1.2 l naturally aspirated petrol engine.
There are technical advances that enhance the performance quotient on the Boosterjet engine – at the core of the engine lie the direct injection system that delivers fuel at pressures of about 200 bar into the cylinders, giving the engine very efficient combustible air-fuel mixture that help reduce fuel consumption as well as emissions. In a DI engine, to quickly create an air fuel mixture inside the cylinder, the fuel to be injected must be atomised. Additionally, the shape of the intake ports and the pistons are optimised to generate a stronger tumble flow.
The turbocharger, on the other hand, utilises the energy of the exhaust gases to drive the turbines and force feed the compressed air into the cylinders. The result is not only output equivalent to an engine of much greater displacement, but also high torque at low revs. The turbine runs at around 200,000 rpm and this result in an output that is equivalent to the output of a much larger engine, , explained CV Raman, Executive Director (Engineering), MSIL
Some of the other highlights of the compact and lightweight engine include reduced friction timing chain, short port intake manifold, roller rocker follower with hydraulic lash adjustor, a dual relief oil pump, and integrated exhaust manifold. From a performance perspective, the first thing we noticed was the ease at which the engine builds power. There is no visible lag, as the engine revs quickly through to the peak rpm limit. We could push the car to a maximum speed of around 162 km/h on the back straight at BIC, and at all times NVH levels on the engine was refined, albeit with a constant humming, yet not-so-unpleasant noise. Transmission on the Baleno RS is the same 5-speed manual unit found on the regular Baleno hatchback.
Now, the Boosterjet engine that is available globally delivers around 170 Nm of torque and 85 kW, or approximately 14 hp of additional power compared to the one launched in India. The engine has actually been detuned to cope with the poor quality of fuel available in our country at the moment. Most vehicles in India today run on petrol with octane rating of 91, while the European-spec Boosterjet needs to run on 95 octane rating petrol. One of the key parameters for petrol is the octane number, which essentially is a measure of its resistance to knock.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Driving
Maruti Suzuki says that the Baleno RS is ideally made for the highways, where you’d love to cruise all day in three digits. And, the Baleno RS will easily maintain 90kmph at just over 2,000 rpm in fifth gear, and will willingly go into the 100s with a gentle tap on the throttle. It also crosses the 150kmph mark with ease, and highway runs in this car will be engaging for sure.
As the Baleno RS gets a fatter band of torque and the gearing to make the most of it, it felt more comfortable at higher speeds as it was running at relatively lower revs. So, while the highway runs will be more exciting in the RS, it won’t be surprising if the Baleno RS turns out to be more frugal than the Baleno despite the added performance.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Safety
The Baleno RS has been launched as a single variant (Alpha). It is equipped with dual airbags, seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters, disc brakes in all wheels, ABS with EBD, and has ISOFIX child-seat restrain anchorages. Driver seatbelt reminder buzzer with lamp and rear parking sensors with camera are among the other safety features. View offers on Maruti Cars from Maruti dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Price
Maruti Suzuki Baleno Rs Ex-Showroom Price in India ranges from 8,50,097/- (Baleno RS 1.0L) to 8,50,097/- (Baleno RS 1.0L). Get best offers for Maruti Suzuki Baleno Rs from Maruti Suzuki Dealers in India
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Verdict
The Baleno RS’s ride quality is very similar to the regular Baleno. The front suspension has been tweaked a bit with stiffer coils to handle the slight increase in weight. But the track isn’t the best place to test ride quality.
What the Baleno Rs. lacks in is drama. I would have liked to have seen more visual differentiators at least. More so, because there is nothing aurally different about the new engine. But, the bottomline is that the Baleno Rs. is still firmly in the premium small car segment; it is just a level sportier than its regular variant. And that is a perfectly good position to be in. At least, it is a start for Maruti Suzuki to plan real RSs in the future. Next, can we get a true blue Rs. on the Swift please?