For a country with the levels of traffic we do, and the constant ‘race mode’ everyone on the road seems to be in, we have next to no (affordable) hot hatches on sale here. Yes, we have the Polo GT TSI and recently the Fiat Punto Abarth, but two cars doesn’t really give a customer too much choice does it? The former is really good, but looks too plain, while the latter looks and drives great but is overpriced. Fret not, for come this festive season, Hyundai and Maruti Suzuki are getting into the fray.
For the global markets, Hyundai has a performance division named ‘N’, which is basically the M- and AMG for Hyundai. Imagine our delight then when Hyundai confirmed they were bringing their N- cars to India, the first of which will be the i20 N. It will be powered by a 1.4L VTVT Petrol motor which is tuned to provide 114hp and 16.3kgm via a 6 speed manual transmission. To transfer that power to the road will be a stiffer spring setup, while ventilated discs up front make an entry. ABS and EBD will provide safety. Of course a car must look as fast as it goes, so the i20 N will come with an aggressive body kit, 17 in alloys, spoiler and N badging. But the best part will be the new stainless steel free flow exhaust system to announce your arrival. Oh yes and recent tests confirmed it will crack the 100kmph mark in under 9sec.
For Maruti Suzuki however, this will be new territory. The Baleno RS was displayed at the Auto Expo earlier this year, and while it may not look too different than the standard Baleno, it is what’s underneath that matters. It will come with a 1.0 litre BoosterJet Petol motor which has been turbocharged to produce a very healthy 110hp and 17.3kgm, which would give the sub 900kg car a very good power to weight ratio! An automatic 6-speed transmission would be employed, and minor exterior design changes to set it apart. It remains to be seen if suspension would be stiffened to improve handling.
Both manufacturers have promised these would go on sale by the the Festive Season, and if they manage to price it around Rs 9 lakh ex showroom, it would be an extremely tempting proposal. Thank you Hyundai and Maruti Suzuki for getting into this. Personally, we look forward to the Hyundai, free flow exhaust and all.