It's confirmed! The performance-oriented version of Maruti's popular hatchback, the Baleno RS is finally going to be launched on March 3, 2017. It was showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo and will compete with the cars in the hot hatchback segment, such as the Volkswagen Polo GT and the Abarth Punto.
Since they were leaked online last month, we already have some specifications of the hatchback. For starters, it will only be offered in the top Alpha trim and will be powered by a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol engine producing 102PS of power and a peak torque of 150Nm at 1700-4500rpm. Though it will feature a five-speed manual transmission at the time of launch, an automatic variant might be introduced sometime later. It will also come equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels and disc brakes on all four wheels. The Baleno RS is likely to be priced around the Rs 8-8.50 lakh mark. It will stand apart from the standard Baleno in terms of looks as well, thanks to a different set of rear and front bumpers, and a unique front grille design. With a kerb weight of 950kg, the Baleno RS weighs around 20kg more than the standard petrol Baleno.
The standard Baleno was launched in October 2015 and, since then, has been selling like hot cakes. Maruti sold more than one lakh units of the Baleno in 2016. It is offered with two engine options – a 1.2-litre petrol motor that produces 84PS and 115Nm, and a 1.3-litre diesel that pumps out 75PS and 190Nm. Maruti recently launched its first crossover, the Ignis in the Indian market, and the Baleno RS will be its second launch of the year.