Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Engine & First Drive

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Overview

The race track is both the best and the worst place to test cars. Before you can begin to test a car on the tarmac, the track is already testing your ego. So, even if you get on to the track with a honed instinct to understand the car at hand, you have subliminally let that take a back seat by the time you are tackling the first corner. Often, it is a fight to keep the challenge going even as you weigh both your and the machine’s limitations.

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That is exactly how it seemed when I was peering through the windscreen of the new Baleno Rs. I was at the Buddh International Circuit, the F1 circuit in Greater Noida just a few hours after the official launch of the Baleno Rs. Maruti Suzuki’s first honest attempt at a hot hatch is barely track ready, but the race track doesn’t discriminate. It is up to the driver to avoid getting distracted and focus on the task at hand. I was shaken out of that distraction when I was into my third lap. By that time it was already clear that the Baleno Rs. is not really meant for the track, but it was such good fun nonetheless. For information on contact details of Maruti car dealers in Mumbai

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Design

The Baleno RS doesn’t look vastly different from the Baleno, yet it has a distinct personality. Changes include a new front mesh grille in chrome, bold front bumper, underbody spoilers married with black sports alloy wheels, and the signature RS emblem on the rear door.While these changes give the car a rebel-like personality, the front mesh grille in chrome appears a bit too flashy for a car this sporty.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Comfort

Inside the Baleno RS cabin, there is no change compared to the standard car. We were fairly impressed with the interior of the Baleno, and that is not simply restricted to the way the dashboard or the instrument cluster looks. The all-black look continues to charm, while the materials used and the fit & finish are good for the segment it will play in. The only doubt we have here is whether the consumers would expect some sporty elements in the interiors to go with the RS badge

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Performance

Under the hood, the Baleno RS gets a 1 litre, 3-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine. Now since Maruti Suzuki has never done forced induction petrol engines in the past, the Baleno Boosterjet engine is completely new technology for it. The engine makes a substantial 101 bhp and 150 Nm. Despite being turbocharged, the max power and peak torque output is well spread out across the rev range and the engine almost feels like it is naturally aspirated, with very little turbo lag. Of course what everyone really wants to know is how the car’s outright performance is! And on that front too, the Baleno RS does not disappoint

Power delivery is very linear and the RS accelerates well on its way to three digit speeds. On the back straight at the BIC, we hit speeds of just over 160 kmph in fourth gear with the car still eager to accelerate more. Another point to note is that Maruti has not gone for an automatic gearbox like some of its competition and stuck to a 5-speed manual gearbox only. The gearbox isn’t as short and slick as that on the Swift but still feels very rewarding when shifting extremely quickly. Now if you are wondering why the Indian spec Baleno RS is almost 10 bhp down on power as compared to its global counterpart – blame it on the quality of fuel that our country has to offer. When BS VI fuel comes in, the Baleno RS will have the potential to match its international counterpart’s output at 110 bhp.

Baleno RS does get a slightly retuned suspension as compared to the standard car as it is slightly heavier. But a lower ride height and stiffer suspension setup should have been standard given the car’s sporty claim. That would have definitely differentiated the RS from its competition – and also more substantially from the regular Baleno too. So unfortunately the RS has a lot of body roll, especially when we took it to its limit on the track. The RS does get disc brakes all around – which is a good thing – 14 inch up front and 13 inch at the rear. As a result, the braking on the car has improved by leaps and bounds. On the safety side, ABS and two airbags come as standard – in keeping with Nexa portfolio products.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Rideing

On the track, the Baleno Rs. feels much quicker than the regular Baleno. There is no turbolag and power is delivered quick… well, for a hatch in the mass market segment. The comparison can’t be with real performance cars and that is also the reason why Maruti isn’t offering a 0 to 100 kmph time for the Baleno Rs. But, getting to three-digit speeds is quick and on the long back straight in the circuit, I could reach 160 kmph or thereabouts before having to brake hard to take the fourth turn. Speaking of braking, the Rs. gets discs on all four wheels, and the brakes offer decent bite and consistent stopping force. The steering is typical hatchback style with not much feedback, though, putting the Rs. on the desired spot on tarmac isn’t so much a problem. However, the stock tyres we drove on weren’t that helpful at high speed cornering; they squealed and slipped quite a bit after a few lap

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Safety

Maruti is offering the Baleno RS in a single variant and hence the car is loaded with top spec safety features as standard such as dual front airbags, ABS, EBD and ISOFIX child seat provision. Additionally, the Baleno RS comes with all-four discs for better stopping power. In terms of after sales, we all know that Maruti has a very renowned and wide network across the country. The NEXA channel is growing with each passing day and the ownership cost of the Baleno RS will definitely be the lowest compared to the other performance hatchbacks in this segment.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Cost in Hyderabad

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Rs Ex-Showroom Price in Hyderabad ranges from 8,42,563/- (Baleno RS 1.0L) to 8,42,563/- (Baleno RS 1.0L). Get best offers for Maruti Suzuki Baleno Rs from Maruti Suzuki Dealers in Hyderabad. Check for Baleno RS price in Hyderabad at Carzprice

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Conclusion

If you are looking for a quicker family hatchback, the Baleno RS won’t disappoint. With better acceleration, steering and brakes, the performance is an improvement over the standard petrol version. But this comes at a price. The Baleno RS commands a Rs 1.4 lakh premium over the standard petrol car and does not have any additional kit. Yes, along with the more powerful engine and rear disc brakes, you also get a stiffer chassis, improved steering and suspension. However, our sources tell us that all Balenos will get the stiffer chassis soon, anyway. That being the case, the Rs 1.4 lakh premium does seem like a lot. But performance has never come cheap. So, does the car do justice to its RS badge? Yes it’s quick, but out here on the F1 track it didn’t seem a quick hot hatch. Then again, this circuit has made many a sportscar look slow. Guess it’s time to put the Baleno back to back with the Abarth Punto and the Polo GT to find out.

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