Suzuki’s mild-mannerd SX4 has an alter ego; a race-engineered evil brother which the company hopes will do more than just win races. While not a production model, yet, Suzuki is out to prove that they can build a race winner with something that has more than two wheels.
The SX4 WRC is the culmination of several years of development at Suzuki leading up to a full season of World Rally Championship Racing this year. Suzuki’s success in WRC is hoped will indicate to the world that they are a legitimate competitor to Subaru and Mitsubishi on the track and with a typically younger generation of buyers at the dealership.
Developed alongside the production SX4, the rally version has been perfected and readied for competition over the course of several years. Although both cars pack power, it’s the rally version with its 2.0-liter turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder that unleashes an incredible 320 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. As would be expected for Rally Racing, the SX4 utilies an all-wheel-drive system that includes mechanical differentials in the front and rear as well as an electronic center differential. This power is transferred to the pavement via a close-ratio five-speed manual gearbox. Acceleration to 60 mph, even on unpaved surfaces to takes less than 5 seconds.
While the production SX4 is a non-offensive compact car, most would agree that it is about as intimidating as a beagle. The rally version has additional body and suspension components that not only give it an aggressive presence on the track but back it up with solid performance. Although a Suzuki SX4 WRC is not at available at your local dealership, one has to wonder how long it may be before Suzuki decides to take a run at the competition. It isn’t so far-fetched to think that if the SX4 can give the WRX and Evo something to worry about on the race course, Suzuki can produce something competitive on the street. Hopefully if they do decide to put a rally-inspired SX4 on dealer lots, they will make sure it has enough of the racing attitude that put it on the track in the first place.