Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Overview

The Baleno RS has arrived as a landmark offering for Maruti Suzuki since it is also a debut of the brand’s first turbocharged petrol motor – a 1-litre, three cylinder unit which shows a lot of promise. For a brand so deeply rooted in diesel power and efficiency, this is a big deal. However, some would say Maruti is simply playing catch-up to the Germans and the Italians (Read: VW Polo GT TSI and Fiat Punto Abarth) in the still-nascent field of affordable hot hatchbacks.  For information on contact details of Maruti car dealers in New Delhi

It isn’t common for a mainstream hatch to deliver on speed, practicality and efficiency in equal measure, but the Baleno RS has that specific brief nailed. More on that later though. Coming back to the heart of the matter, in a few years this new turbocharged engine will certainly replace the existing 1.2-litre K Series NA motor. We got acquainted with it earlier this year when we drove the Baleno RS at the BIC, coming away impressed overall. However, now it’s time to gauge the car’s real-world credentials and limitations through a full road test treatment.

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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 Cabin

Maruti hasn’t changed anything on the interior of the Baleno RS as compared to thestandard car. You still get the all-black dashboard with silver accents on the centre console and a large touchscreen that gets Apple CarPlay and Navigation as standard. The Baleno RS also comes with a torque/power output readout in the instrument cluster that is always a cool thing to look at (and try to max out) while driving.

A sportier seat package or even leather interiors would have been welcomed by buyers – even if it meant spending a bit extra. And if not that, maybe a RS logo, or contrast stitching on the seats, or even red accents would have helped create a signature.

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 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 in a single variant – Alpha – and it complies with top-notch safety norms. Dual airbags, ABS, seatbelt with pre-tensioners and force limiters add to the safety quotient of the car, which has been tested at the company’s R&D centre in Rohtak and meets future pedestrian safety, side impact and frontal offset impact regulations.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Price

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Rs Ex-Showroom Price in Bangalore ranges from 8,57,517/- (Baleno RS 1.0L) to 8,57,517/- (Baleno RS 1.0L). Get best offers for Maruti Suzuki Baleno Rs from Maruti Suzuki Dealers in Bangalore . Check price of Baleno RS in Bangalore

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?

 

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