Forbidden Fruit: Turbocharged Suzuki Jimny Drag Races Peugeot 205 GTI

The Suzuki Jimny is a bite-sized boxy off-roader we don’t get to enjoy in America. It’s too small for our sensibilities and remains a piece of forbidden fruit, just like the Peugeot 205 GTI was. A new Carwow video pits the classic hot hatch against a tuned version of the Jimny to see which is the quickest in a drag race. 

The tuned Jimny has a turbocharger on its 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It cranks the Suzuki’s output to 165 horsepower and 143 pound-feet (195 Newton meters) of torque. It’s the heaviest competitor, too, at 2,336 pounds (1,060 kilograms) while sporting an uprated suspension.

Gallery: 2023 Suzuki Jimny Heritage

The standard Jimny has the same 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine as the tuned variants it’s racing, but it is much less powerful. It produces just 101 hp and 95 lb-ft (130 Nm), which propels the 2,281-lbs (1,035-kg) bite-sized SUV.

The true star of this drag race is the Peugeot 205 GTI. Under the hood lives the turbocharged 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine. It delivers 122 hp and 118 lb-ft (161 Nm) of torque through a five-speed manual transmission to the front wheels. It’s also the lightest at 1,896 lbs (860 kg).

The Peugeot got a lot of wheel spin at the launch and lost to the tuned Jimny in the first race. Both beat the standard Suzuki. The Peugeot got a much better start for the second race and won. The hot hatch, as did the Twisted Jimny, got a great start in the third race, but it wasn’t enough for the SUV to beat the Peugeot.

The Peugeot completed the quarter-mile drag race in 16.6 seconds. It took the 165-hp Jimny 167.9 sconces. The standard Jimny was painfully slow, completing the race in 19.5 seconds.

The rolling race started poorly for the Peugeot, but it quickly took the lead and easily beat both Suzukis. The lighter hatchback also won the brake test, stopping at the shortest distance. The tuned Suzuki needed the most tarmac to stop, likely due to its knobby tires. 

The Peugeot 205 GTI launched in 1984 with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine making 104 hp. The 1.9-liter version would arrive two years later, in 1986, making 128 hp. It also received disc brakes all around.

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