Remembering the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Hot Hatch

Remembering the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS

Naturally aspirated Petrol engines, a conventional motor in a vehicle that makes the car roll on-road (Fact!). Add a turbo and the car goes WEEEE! on the same road. This is the same thing that Maruti Suzuki tried with their Baleno RS. With the RS, they were on the bottom of the list to bring a hot hatch in the Indian market. Well, it was quite promising and most importantly fun to drive.

With the new BS6 emission norms and many diesels out of the way, companies are inclined towards the more energetic and peppy turbo petrol engines. Surprisingly, Maruti Suzuki had one turbo petrol engine, the Booster Jet. But what the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS is like? Did this hot hatch had enough punch on offer when compared to its rivals? Let’s find out.

Powertrain and Drivetrain

1.0-litre Booster Jet engine

How can we not talk about a hot hatch without talking about its heart? Getting a hot hatch at the price at which the Baleno was offered was in itself a great thing. Turbo engines are what makes these cars go vroom. The Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS boasted of a 1-litre turbo petrol 3 cylinder engine. Does it feel exciting? Well, this engine made 102hp at 5,500rpm. This very engine was capable of 150 Nm of peak twist from as low as 1,700 rpm and all the way up to 4,500rpm.

Engine 1-litre inline-3 turbo petrol engine
Transmission 5-speed manual transmission
Power (hp@rpm) 102hp@5,500 rpm
Torque (Nm@rpm) 150 Nm@1,700-4,500rpm

Because of this gem engine, the Baleno RS was capable of clocking 100kmph in just 10.23 seconds. This hot hatch was faster to 100kmph by a quite margin from its 1.2litre counterpart and even some C-segment sedans.

Ride and Handling

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS

The second important aspect that makes a hatch ‘the hot hatch’ is the driving dynamics. You may ask was it any different from the regular Baleno? Well, yes! there were many upgrades done to accomplish the true soul of RS. First things first, due to those upgrades the car was 60 kgs heavier in order to make it a good handler. Major upgrades include:

  • The Chassis was a lot stiff than the conventional Baleno to make the car more confident when chucking into corners.
  • The Steering was given additional weight, this made the car feel connected to the road.
  • Baleno RS got a stiffer suspension to contain body roll, and again, that inspired confidence in taking fast corners.
  • In the braking department, the RS got disc on all corners to reduce the stopping distance.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS| Interior

Design Changes

A hot hatch that looks identical to its conventional counterpart is no justice. Maruti Suzuki thought to take a subtle approach with the changes in Baleno RS.

  • For one the car got a redesigned bumper with a subtle lip that gave the RS the right attitude. The new grill was finished in gunmetal grey, which added the right appeal to the hot hatch.
  • At the rear, it was the bumper that got the loud treatment, and oh boy! it was beautiful.
  • Sadly, The Baleno RS got the same alloy wheel design as the conventional Baleno. They just got a grey tone.

Baleno RS, was it in the competition?

Only Volkswagen Polo GT TSI and Abarth Punto came near to the Baleno RS yet they were very far away. Both of these cars were in a totally different league, in terms of performance and price. The Baleno RS was launched at a much lower price than the other two counterparts and yes they were more powerful.

Maruti Suzuki brought the Euro-Spec Baleno to India but it was in a different state of tune. For reference, the Euro-spec Baleno with Booster Jet engine produces, 112 hp and 170 Nm of peak torque. This is something that was more at par with the Polo GT TSI.

Now, with the new BS6 emission norms and the turbo petrol coming back, it will be great if Maruti Suzuki launches Baleno RS again. It was indeed a good hatch for the price of ₹8.44lakhs (Ex-Showroom).

What do you think, should Maruti Suzuki bring back Baleno RS? tell us in the comment section below.