The new Suzuki Swift Sport has finally touched down in South Africa, interestingly now offered in both manual and automatic guise.

Power for the latest version of the Japanese firm’s warm hatch comes from a 1,4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit, which sends 103 kW and 230 N.m to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual gearbox or an automatic transmission with the same number of cogs.

Suzuki claims a zero to 100 km/h sprint time of 8,0 seconds and a top speed of 205 km/h.

The manual model is priced from R315 900, while the automatic (complete with paddle-shifters) comes in from R335 900. Those prices includes a promotional five-year/200 000 km warranty as well as a four-year/60 000 km service plan.

Unveiled as long ago as September 2017, the Swift Sport features a lower, wider stance, along with a torque-to-weight ratio that Suzuki says propels it “into genuine hot hatch territory”.

Compared with the old model (which used a naturally aspirated 1,6-litre unit), kerb weight falls some 80 kg to 970 kg, while the Boosterjet engine’s maximum torque is up 70 N.m and available from 2 500 r/min to 3 500 r/min.

The newcomer employs Monroe shock absorbers, while the thickness of the stabiliser joint bars up front have been increased, with a Teflon seat added to the stabiliser mount.

Suzuki says various under-the-skin changes provide an added degree of stiffness “without excessively increasing the spring rate of the springs or the front stabiliser”. At the rear, Suzuki says it developed the suspension’s trailing arm exclusively for the new Swift Sport to minimise deformation during cornering.

Inside, you’ll find red accents and a driver-oriented instrument panel, complete with new boost and oil temperature gauges. The hatchback also boasts what Suzuki describes as “semi-bucket shape front seats” and a D-shaped steering wheel with dimpled leather.