This might just be the world’s teeniest hot hatch – the new Suzuki Alto Works.
‘Hot hatch’ is a relative term here, as the Alto meets Japan’s Kei-car rules. As such, Suzuki has had to work within strict limits on engine size and power output. Under the bonnet is a literally pint-sized 660cc, three-cylinder turbo engine, producing the maximum 64bhp allowed by Kei-car rules. There are no limits on torque though, and the Alto Works produces a mighty 74lb/ft.
If you’re thinking those numbers sound a bit tragic, remember that they’re in the same ball park as the original Mini Cooper. And at 670kg to 740kg (spec dependent) the Alto Works weighs about the same, too. It’s also worth noting that the engine has probably been quite heavily restricted to meet the regs – unlimited we estimate there’s around 100bhp to play with.
Any combination of five-speed manual or automated-manual gearbox, and front- or four-wheel-drive is available. We’d go for manual and AWD, turn the boost up a bit and go rallying.
Deep bumpers and skirts, and gloss black 15in alloys add some feistiness to the boxy styling. Inside, Recaro bucket seats liven up an otherwise barren interior that’s a sea of grey and black. There’s even a massive blanking panel over the space usually occupied by an infotainment screen. But then, if you want your Alto with bells and whistles, Suzuki will direct you towards the Alto Lapin.
Prices for the Suzuki Alto Works start at JPY 1,509,840, equivalent to a very reasonable £8,600 – about the same as a base-spec SEAT Mii. We know which we’d rather have…
For more information click here (helps if you can read Japanese)
By Graham King