Suzuki Motor Corporation has released the Alto Turbo RS, a new kei car, on March 11. The turbo model of Alto will come back after 15 years since it disappeared from the Alto Works lineup at the end of 2000.
The first generation was released in February 1987. Upon its release, it was made to generate 64 horsepower despite being a kei car and it was equipped with DOHC three-cylinder four-valve intercooler turbo engine. The output regulation on kei cars established through the introduction of the Alto Works came off as a great shock to the public.
The following year, in September 1988, Alto was given a facelift, creating the third generation of this model. The Works is equipped with aero parts on its two round-shaped head lamps, whereas the standard model uses oblong head lamps. This is because the aim was to differentiate them.
During the facelift in March 1990, they upgraded the engine with the new standardization to 660cc. It had been based on a van model until that time; however, it was changed into a group 5 bodysize passenger vehicle.
The Works R was added in the lineup in June 1992. The drive system on the rally specification model that will participate for the All Japan Rally Championship is only 4WD. It is equipped with a close-ratio transmission and exclusive turbine. They reduced its weight by using a van’s rear seat. Its vehicle weight is 680kg, which is 20kg lesser than the base model.
Alto was given a facelift, creating the fourth generation model, in November 1994. In line with this, they incorporated the newly developed K6A engine, an all-aluminum three-cylinder DOHC 12-valve intercooled turbo engine, into the RS/Z luxury grade of Works. The Works R that was created as the first generation in 1995 was also added in the lineup.
The kei car standard was revised in 1998 and Alto evolved into its fifth generation. At the same time, the Works became a new model. The engine has been equipped with a variable valve mechanism, and an improved output has been achieved. However, the Works was removed from the lineup since it was given a facelift in 2000. Its name was inherited by the Kei Works introduced two years later.
After the abolition of the Alto Works, Kei Sports essentially became its successor. However, the Works was added in the lineup when the Kei base vehicle was given a facelift in November 2002. It was equipped with four-wheel disc brakes, 15-inch aluminum wheels, and Recaro seats. Significant changes on the exterior were also given.
After the introduction of Kei Sport, the Swift Sports model based on Suzuki’s Swift compact hatchback was introduced. It was equipped with exclusive aero parts, aluminum wheels, and a 1.5-liter NA engine that was tuned to 115 horsepower.
Suzuki has been participating in the Junior WRC under the name Ignis Super 1600 since 2002. The car is called the Yellow Bullet in Europe. Per-Gunnar Andersson drove the Yellow Bullet and acquired the driver’s championship in 2004.
The Swift Sport evolved into its second generation in 2005. It is with a 1.6-liter engine, similar with the JWRC, and the body is changed from a three-door-type to a five-door-type. In the same year, the JWRC racing vehicles became its second generation base and it was introduced in the actual race since the second half of the season.
Suzuki started competing in the WRC with the SX4 base vehicle since 2008. They have won the third round, but they announced that they will temporarily stop their participation after the end of the season due to the effects of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.
Although Suzuki temporarily stopped participating in the race, the Swift Sport evolved into its third generation in 2011. A number of changes were made such as the use of the first 6-speed MT and the variable intake system for Suzuki. Improvements were also done in the chassis. Its running performance that has received high evaluation in the market was further improved.
(Translated by Natassia Jeronne D. Martinez)