Maruti has launched a feisty version of its popular Baleno premium hatchback in the Baleno RS. The car is priced at ₹8.69 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), and debuts the carmaker’s first turbo-petrol engine for India. This is also the most powerful petrol motor in Maruti’s current line-up.
Badged ‘Boosterjet’, the engine powering the Baleno RS is a 102hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol unit that features direct-injection technology (improves fuel-burning and hence boosts fuel efficiency and performance). At 950kg, the RS is quite a light car too, which, coupled with the powerful new motor, should make it quite quick-footed.
The Baleno RS sets itself apart from the regular hatchback with its black alloy wheels, smoked-out headlamps, and sportier bumpers. It is available only in the fully-loaded Alpha variant, and hence packs quite a lot of equipment like a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Carplay, projector headlamps with LED day-time-running lamps and automatic climate control.
The closest rival to the Baleno RS is the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI, which is priced at ₹9.1 lakh (ex-Delhi), means ₹40,000 costlier than the Maruti. Speaking of price differences, the Baleno RS is over ₹1 lakh costlier than the fully loaded Baleno Alpha (₹7.29 lakh, ex-Delhi) but just ₹20,000 more than the top-end Baleno Alpha diesel (₹8.43 lakh, ex-Delhi).
Like the regular Baleno, the RS too will be available only via Maruti’s Nexa chain of premium showrooms.