Bolt from the Blue

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BY
VIVEK VENUGOPAL

February 20

Twenty year old Niteesh Benson was just fifteen when this Swift ZXI got home . He fondly remembers the day he shod it with wide tyres on classy Lenso 15 inch Project D wheels- his first mod and took it for a spin. Five years down the line, he drives around in this very same car and he is just as excited as the day he got it.

There are plenty of body kits available for the Swift. The Swift Sport body kit was the hottest selling of the lot until this Hikari kit came along. At first it looks like an even more aggressive version of the GTI body kit, but this one has better detailing in the mesh grille and funkier elements like integrated day time running LEDs. The headlamps have been replaced with aftermarket projection units with black insets. There are interesting white stripes on the car, on the bonnet and the side skirts. The roof, the mirrors and the rear spoiler have been painted white and the car rides on white 17 inch Lenso Samurai wheels wrapped in 215/40 R17 Apollo Aspire tyres. The Suzuki logos have been painted black and the rear has been debadged. The lowered stance is achieved with Bilstein B14 adjustable suspension.

The interiors have been spruced up as well. A white flat bottomed three spoke steering has replaced the stock one. A big tacho on the dashboard is joined by three other Autometer gauges on the A pillar. The seats are tastefully done in black leather with red stitching. The audio system comprises of an Alpine CDA 9886 head unit, Hertz 2-way components for the front and coaxials for the rear, Hertz 4- channel amplifier and an MB Quart subwoofer.

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This being the first batch ZXI has an early G13B 1.3 litre petrol engine. It has a Green Cotton wind cold air intake and a full free flow exhaust from Raj Hingorani that exits on the side under the skirting, leaving the twin exhausts on the rear bumper merely cosmetic. It sounds terrific though, with a good bass to the low end, providing an enticing accompaniment to everyday driving. The low end is a bit weedy but beyond that it pulls in one relentless surge right up to the redline. It’s some times good to have a naturally aspirated motor. The car also handles well on the Bilstein B14s, though the ride is a bit fidgety. Braking is taken care of with Tarox G88 slotted rotors that stop like a ship with its anchors dropped.

Speaking of future mods, Nitish wants to go the turbo route with his car. But for the time being he is clearly enjoying the way it is.

Get the turbo on boost and it is a different story altogether. The car accelerates forward in proper tuned car fashion. There is no let up in power till 5500rpm and though most enthusiasts complain about the rev limit being lower on turbocharged cars, but there is no denying they are fast in every gear. This particular Laura sounds rorty thanks to its uprated Miltek exhaust system I got to throw around Ketan’s car on the same twisty bits where I did the Honda BRV that morning. Not only could I carry almost double the speed through a follow through, it still felt like child’s play in the Laura. The combination of good grippy tyres and the Bilstein B14 coilovers is hard to beat in the corners. Yes, these track focussed coilovers are a bit stiff for daily use, but it offers supercar levels of grip in the corners. The chassis feels even tighter thanks to Eibach antiroll bars and polyurethane bushes all around. And the Tarox G88 brakes with Strada pads are so confidence inspiring, you soon forget you are doing silly speeds all the time.

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BY VIVEK VENUGOPAL

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