• Jun 25, 2011
2011 Monster Sport Suzuki SX4 Hill Climb Special – Click above for high-res image gallery

The man known as Monster Tajima once ran all 12.42 miles of Pikes Peak in 10:01.408. That was 2007. Four years later, Tajima-san is back to make the trip in even less time. Is a sub-ten-minute time in the cards for the 2011 International Pikes Peak Hill Climb? Nobuhiro Tajima and his team think so. They've returned to the mountain with an updated Monster Sport Suzuki SX4 Hill Climb Special, and the 910-horsepower beast is ready run.

We got to spend a few moments with Tajima's updated Suzuki before it hit Tejon Street for Fan Fest. The car is littered with cameras courtesy of sponsor GoPro, but the video equipment isn't part of the go-fast upgrades. Monster Sport came prepared to run on the increased amount of tarmac, which means changes were made to the suspension, spring rates, tires and wheels. Falken custom-built a set of tires that features a tarmac-specific tread pattern and delivers serious grip. They're wrapped around a set of HRE forged monoblock wheels dubbed the P43S Tajima Specials.

Still, the heart of the SX4 sits directly behind Tajima. A 3.1-liter twin-turbocharged V6 pushes the car to speeds well over 100 miles per hour in the blink of an eye. Couple that with the close-ratio transmission, and Monster has a machine built with one goal. Will he accomplish it and become the first man to record a sub-10 minute run? We'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out, but we've spoken to the man and seen his car. Stay tuned. Pikes Peak history could be in the making.


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  • 26 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      the.ting
      • 3 Years Ago
      "and the 910-horsepower beast is ready run." Would you like to buy a vowel and a consonant?
      Bob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does anyone else see a problem here? Suzuki builds great one-off performers of the Sx4...then they make us settle for the production sx4. Have you been in an Sx4? Don't bother buying one in manual because the driver armrest can't be used if you are actually driving the car (nearly impossible to shift). But they thought it was more important to have armrests that were curvy like a cartoon or something. Good luck finding an Sx4 Sport, because they only made like 5 of them. You're out of luck if you want a base model without navigation or a dozen other bells and whistles. Seriously suzuki is a broken brand in the US. If I were them I would look at what anybody, any other manufacturer is doing and just do that even if they're blindly copying them. It would be 100% better than what they're doing now.
      munkymonkjr
      • 3 Years Ago
      Suzuki USA has a few problems, many of which could be attributed to GM. Remember that little time frame between 2003-2008 when 99% of Suzukis sold were, wait for it...DAEWOO, GM-Daewoo in particular. GM bought Daewoo's automotive arm in 2002, and that is where it all started. Some Daewoos got incorporated into Chevy (Aveo/Pontiac G3), but they primarily got dumped on Suzuki (Verona, Forenza, Reno). Every one of them was terrible to drive, terrible to be in, and less reliable than a bag of rocks. As such, the only people buying Suzukis were those who consider getting a Kia a splurge. Luckily, that is all over. After bankruptcy, GM dumped their interests in Suzuki. This had a few important outcomes. No more Daewoos! (although the Grand Vitara is based on the Equinox which the Koreans contributed talent to). And more importantly, Suzuki was working on the Kizashi at the time, and it was originally meant to be derived from the Malibu, luckily, GM-influence on the Kizashi was minimal. The current line-up is not great, but improvement over past offerings. Think of the Equator as a cheaper Frontier with a better warranty. The SX4 is a handy little run-about, although yes, it is clearly showing its age now and badly needs a refresh. On the bright side, it is reasonably cheap and has proven to be very reliable. The Vitara/XL67 are Equinox alternatives and not-too-distant cousins. The crown jewel then is the Kizashi (disclaimer: I have one, been a year and 19k miles so far). For the money, it is the best bang for the buck. It is a very nice place to be and it drives very well. It is an odd size, being bigger than your compacts, but much smaller than your Camcords, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Go home Suzuki. You came America, tried to sell a few cars and failed. Take a hint from Isuzu.
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Seriously Suzuki, give it up. You can't cut it in American. Go home and sell some kei cars.
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        Um since that 2007 record run, they've won the unlimited class every year at Pikes Peak. By the way, if you're talking about sales, the Grand Vitara and SX4 are selling like hotcakes. I'd say that's making it in the US. Go away troll.
        Alan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        With their sales increasing and an up and coming line up just sit down and enjoy the ride cause there not leaving anytime soon.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        [blocked]
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
      ken
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder what if SX4 is a mid-engined AWD hill climb super car instead of a rubbish hatch back. Will Suzuki sell more?
        Turbo 4
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ken
        Suzuki is one of the largest makes out there volume wise. Just because they don't sell well in the US doesn't mean they don't sell well abroad. Pretty sure Suzuki is top 5.
        tantareanujellob
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ken
        Definitely more than the 3/year it sells now to blind people.
      Soul Shinobi
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is that Tajima himself in pic 3 looking like a punk?!? Pretty sure it is, who let Ken Block dress him? Those tires look surprisingly ordinary.
        Jeff Glucker
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Soul Shinobi
        No that is not Tajima in the photo. That is the US rep for Monster Sport
        SnapUndersteer
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Soul Shinobi
        Those tires really do look fairly ordinary. Like street tires. I wonder what makes them special?
      Bob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Correction, Suzuki came out with the one-off kizashi. It still stands though that their brand is broken. Would it really be that hard for them to take their knowhow of motorcycle engines and come out with a really good 2500lb car econo/sport compact?
      JB
      • 3 Years Ago
      According to Edmunds, Suzuki's US sales in 2010 were 23,000 units total. Hardly hotcakes. Saab would kill for those numbers, but that is a week of Ford sales. http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f106c3d/117
      zzRedwing
      • 3 Years Ago
      Needs moar downforce.
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