The Suzuki Swift GTi turbo was manufactured by the Suzuki Motor Corporation. It originated as the Cultus model in 1983 for the Japanese domestic market before it was imported to North America as the Swift. Described as a supermini, it was offered as a sedan and hatchback. It was built on a General Motors platform and was rebadged as a Chevrolet Swift, Pontiac Firefly, Geo Metro, Subaru Justy, Holden Barina and Maruti Suzuki 1000 in various international markets.
The Swift GTi was a fuel-injected high-compression version of the standard Swift model. It had a 93.1-inch wheelbase. The standard model, along with the GTi, was offered as a 3-door hatchback or 4-door sedan. Standard models featured modest engines: a 1-liter inline 3-cylinder generating 41 horsepower; the 70-hp 1.3-liter inline-4; and the 79-hp inline-4. The GTi was equipped with a tuned turbo version of the 1.3-liter engine.
First Generation Swift GTi
The Swift GTi debuted in the European and Asia-Pacific markets, along with the GLX, as a hatchback and sedan in 1989. It was simply a nameplate change from the domestic Cultus models. The first generation GTi was not available for sale in North America.
The GTi featured a dual overhead cam, 16-valve 1.3-liter inline-4. The engine possessed an aluminum block and aluminum heads with forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods. The compression ratio was high for 1.3-liter at 10:1. The high compression allowed it to generate 101 hp. The hatchback was 149.4 inches long and the sedan 164 inches long. The Swift was equipped with either the 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission.
The second-generation Swift GTi turbo began arriving in North America roughly the same time as the first generation was hitting European shores. It shared the same horsepower as its European and Asian-Pacific counterpart, but it also featured a stronger engine block, hollow camshafts and all-wheel disc brakes. The GTi's name was changed to GT in 1990.
The Swift GT/GTi received a slight facelift in 1992 with new bumpers, taillamps and an upgraded interior. Mechanically, the camshafts were once again solid and the sway bars were made larger. Production, however, ended in 1994 for the North American market.
The Swift GTi's lifespan in the North American market lasted only five years, but it had an 11-year run in other markets. It featured basically the same engine during its entire production run and body styling was limited to facelifts. It was durable but never flashy and its 101-hp engine performance was enhanced by the Swift's lightweight body and frame construction.
A tuned turbocharged inline-4 Swift GTi is capable of a top speed of 150 mph, although production models achieve 105 mph at best. It can hit 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds largely due to its lightweight construction leading to a 1,896-pound curb weight. The light weight gives it excellent handling. Its World Rally Championship record is only fair. It posted 13th place in 1996 at the WRC Rally in Indonesia.
- Photo Credit Chrisu, Chopper, Jonno, Leonardo Ferdian
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