Country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) today launched Baleno RS at an introductory price of Rs 8.69 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), thus making its way into 'high-performance' hatchback segment in the country.
The Baleno RS brings Suzuki's latest powerful 1.0 litre boosterjet petrol engine, which delivers 20 per cent more power than a naturally aspirated 1.2 litre petrol engine.
"Baleno RS is for the performance enthusiasts who seek more power, throttle response and excitement in their day-to-day driving," MSI MD & CEO Kenichi Ayukawa told reporters here.
With the 1.0 litre boosterjet engine, Maruti Suzuki marks its entry in the high performance segment, he added.
Baleno RS is the sporty version of the company's premium hatchback Baleno that is sold through Nexa retail chain priced between Rs 5.98 lakh and Rs 8.43 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). MSI has already sold over 1.5 lakh Balenos in the domestic market.
Maruti Suzuki expects an additional 10 per cent of the Baleno sales to come from the new model.
"A boosterjet engine complements and strengthens brand of Baleno. With Baleno RS we expand brand Baleno and reach out to a new segment of customers - the performance enthusiasts in India," Ayukawa said.
With Baleno RS, the company will compete with the likes of Polo GT and Fiat's Punto Abarth, which are priced between Rs 9.11 lakh to Rs 10.31 lakh.
The Baleno RS will be available in a single variant. It comes with advanced safety norms including pedestrian safety, side and frontal offset impact, ahead of regulation timelines.
It also has ISOFIX child-seat restrain anchorages in addition to dual airbags, seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters. Besides, it also features disc brakes in all wheels, coupled with ABS and EBD.
Commenting on company's road map for complying with safety regulations, Ayukawa said, "I am happy to share that five Maruti Suzuki models - S-Cross, Ciaz, Baleno, Ignis and Ertiga are already certified for advanced safety regulations on frontal offset, side impact and pedestrian safety.”