Features

Concept cars - the Suzuki GSX-R/4

Suzuki has rarely tackled the sports car genre; with dedicated track cars becoming more popular, perhaps now is the time?

Suzuki’s cars and motorcycles are one of the automotive industry’s most striking juxtapositions. On one side, sensible, frugal small cars rarely given a second glance by enthusiasts; on the other, some of the barmiest superbikes on the market and long history of racing success.

Suzuki has rarely felt compelled to combine the two, though we’ve seen flashes of sporting potential in cars like the Swift Sport, and the Cappuccino of the early 90s. But back in 2001 we got our best taste yet of what a hardcore Suzuki sports car might be like, in the shape of the GSX-R/4.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

GSX-R implies motorcycling, 4 suggests a higher-than average wheel count. Making its debut at the Frankfurt motor show in 2001, inspiration clearly came more from Suzuki’s motorcycle range than it did from any car the company was selling back then, not least in the engine bay.

Power came from a mid-mounted 1.3-litre four-cylinder. Importantly, the 1.3 chosen wasn’t from the dreary Ignis supermini but the double-ton-nudging Hyabusa sports bike, and therefore developed 173bhp at 9800rpm. The sequential gearbox too was a motorcycle component, activated by a beautifully-crafted lever on a central spar between the two seats.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Further two-wheel influence could be found in the chassis, a motorcycle-style spaceframe formed from aluminium to keep weight to a minimum. At 640kg it undercut the contemporary Lotus Elise by around 140kg, aided by minimal bodywork and a complete disregard for potential weather protection.

Some of the GSX-R/4’s most striking visual details were its horizontally-mounted coilover spring and dampers, acting on pushrods like those of a race car. With such vestigial bodywork, each unit sits in its own cutaway in plain view.

The interior was basic, though the prescient use of a central display screen lifted it above Elise-style unsophistication and a tiny motorcycle-style instrument pod lent further clues as to the car’s heritage.

It is, sadly, a concept Suzuki has not returned to in the past 15 years. Given the rise of dedicated track cars from the likes of Vuhl, KTM, Radical and more, perhaps now would be the perfect time to invoke greater collaboration between Suzuki’s car and motorcycle divisions.

Given the 1340cc engine in Suzuki’s current range-topper – the Hyabusa Z – develops 194bhp, the resulting product could be even more extreme than the GSX-R/4.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/alpine/202166/alpine-a110-sports-x-takes-on-winter-and-wins
Alpine

Alpine A110 Sports X takes on winter, and wins

29 Jan 2020
Visit/features/20331/the-vision-gt-cars-every-vision-gran-turismo-virtual-concept-detailed
Features

The Vision GT cars

25 Oct 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/bmw/m4/22869/new-2020-bmw-m4-throws-off-more-disguise-ahead-of-reveal
BMW M4

New 2020 BMW M4 throws off more disguise ahead of reveal

BMW’s next M4 coupe promises much, but will it deliver? Here’s everything we know so far
7 Aug 2020
Visit/bugatti/21646/new-bugatti-divo-deliveries-begin-ps44m-hypercar-hits-the-road
Bugatti

New Bugatti Divo deliveries begin - £4.4m hypercar hits the road

The very first examples of Bugatti’s Divo hypercar have rolled out of its Molsheim HQ gates
7 Aug 2020
Visit/best-cars/15315/best-cars-to-buy-for-ps20000-evo-garage
Best cars

Best cars to buy for £20,000 – evo garage

The evo team pick their favourite used performance cars
4 Aug 2020
Visit/news/20376/scuderia-cameron-glickenhaus-004s-order-books-open-for-674bhp-three-seater
News

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 004S: order books open for 674bhp three-seater

Announced in 2017, the road-legal Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 004S is now set to enter production later this year
6 Aug 2020