Die-hard enthusiasts aside, the hot hatch has never taken off in the U.S. the way it did in Europe—but sporty sedans have proven successful, as Subaru and Mitsubishi--and now Suzuki too--will attest. Since its unveiling last year, Suzuki's Kizashi has been recognized as a mid-size sedan with a difference--or two. Boasting a rigid structure, composed platform, suspension tuned on the famed Nurburgring and available all-wheel drive, the Kizashi is certainly one of the sportiest vehicles in its class.
Now, Suzuki is moving the Kizashi into a category typically reserved for Bonneville streamliners. With extensive modifications supplied by Richard Holdener and Tom Habrzyk of Advanced Product Engineering and with Road & Track's Sam Mitani behind the wheel, Suzuki's first-ever automotive assault on the salt begins on August 14 in Wendover, Utah. There, the Bonneville Kizashi--competing in the Blown Gas Coupe category--will hopefully rocket its way toward the 200 mph benchmark.
The special one-off Kizashi keeps the stock model’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine but thanks to 20 psi of boost from a Turbonetics turbocharger, peak output now rates at 500 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Other modifications include a new clutch and pressure plate, a new 3.5-inch exhaust and a full roll-cage.
The Bonneville Suzuki Kizashi is currently undergoing testing and will hit the salt flats on August 14.