Suzuki Jimny by Twisted review: a turbo’d Yorkshire take on Japan’s little 4x4 Reviews 2023 | Top Gear
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Suzuki Jimny by Twisted review: a turbo’d Yorkshire take on Japan’s little 4x4

Published: 06 Sep 2023

Well, I don’t even need to ask what this is, do I?

Yeah, the writing on the side kind of gives the game away, doesn’t it? Still, let’s make some introductions anyway. This is the Suzuki Jimny by Twisted, and it’s the first time that the North Yorkshire-based firm has ever applied its modification philosophy to anything other than a classic Land Rover Defender

Why did it pick the Jimny and not the new Defender? 

“I never want to modify for the sake of modifying, I want to make something better,” Twisted boss Charles Fawcett tells TG. “That’s why we haven’t done new Defender – everybody else has done it and they just make something slightly different to standard.”

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On the other hand, Twisted reckons that the Jimny is “almost a miniature Defender with similar architecture, driveline and analogue feel,” hence why it has brought about a departure from the Defender-only vision.

What’s new on the Jimny then?

Well, the first thing to note is that all new Twisted Jimnys are based on the Jimny Light Commercial Vehicle. That means you get two seats and 863 litres of boot space, unless you provide your own car for conversion.

The best bit about said conversion is the ‘Twisted Performance Upgrade’ that essentially involves strapping a turbocharger onto the standard 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. That ups power from a rather weedy 100bhp to a much healthier 165bhp. And remember, this thing only weighs 1,090kg.

To go with the turbo there’s also a sports downpipe, a Syvecs ECU with a corresponding remap, new pipework, new oil feeds, a performance air filter and a catch tank. But that’s only what’s under the teeny engine bay. Elsewhere there’s a new, slightly raised suspension setup with Eibach springs and Bilstein dampers, and those are paired with a new rear anti-roll bar that does some brilliant work at keeping the Jimny tied down.

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The front bumper and mirror caps are now colour-matched with the rest of the bodywork too, and the whole chunky little terrier look is finished off with some 16-inch, five-spoke Twisted alloy wheels and BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres. What a fantastically loveable thing.

Do I have to have all of those bits?

Not at all. Like with Twisted Defenders you can pick and choose what you’d like to slap onto the little 4x4, and further options include privacy glass, a full satin paint finish, a light bar, roof rack, underbody protection and a Warn winch. You’ll be pleased to hear that those 90s mountain scene decals are optional too. 

Oh, and there are loads of interior options as well, including ‘occasional rear seats’ to turn the little van back into a four-seater. 

Oh yeah, what’s the interior like?

Well, Fawcett tells us that 230 hours of work have gone into this specific Jimny’s interior. It really does show and the improved soundproofing makes a huge difference to the Jimny’s otherwise questionable road manners. It’s no new Defender of course, but you’d be happy to spend a little longer at motorway speeds compared to the tinny standard car.

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You get loads of leather in a Twisted Defender, and the Jimny is no different. It’s on the seats, the dash, the grab handles, the gear levers, handbrake, steering wheel, centre console and the doors. Heck, even the floor mats are leather-bound. That’s posh.

The roof is lined in Alcantara, and there’s a new Alpine head unit with navigation, DAB and Apple CarPlay to replace Suzuki’s laggy infotainment system. You get new speakers too that you might actually make you want to listen to music rather than just the shipping forecast, and each car comes with an individual build plaque to show the process it has been through. 

Come on, tell me more about the engine…

Ah yes, back to the best bit. The Jimny by Twisted is all about the turbo. There may be extra soundproofing, but you’re still able to hear the chorus of wooshes and flutters as forced induction does its thing. Imagine an asthmatic elephant struggling to suck up a milkshake through a particularly holey straw. That’s gives you some idea of the aural sensation this thing provides.

The power bump makes a huge difference to acceleration too, and you’ll find yourself rowing through the five-speed manual gearbox to keep the revs up above 3,000rpm and the turbo on song. Remarkably Suzuki never actually let slip the standard Jimny’s 0-62mph time, but there’s a proper sense of urgency now that should mean the number is slightly less embarrassing.

And you said it handled well now too?

Speaking objectively, ‘well’ might be pushing it. But Twisted’s take on the Jimny is excellent fun. This is still a tall-ish car with an extremely short wheelbase, but the fancy suspension and new anti-roll bar mean it corners fairly flat and is just the best thing to blat around in on tight country roads. On tarmac there isn’t too much grip from those chunky tyres either, so little four-wheel drifts and brake lockups add to the mini rally car feel.

And yet at the same time it’s comfortable, carries momentum, still averages 30mpg and doesn’t even need uprated brakes to stop the thing. We’re rather taken with it.

Sounds excellent. How much does it all cost?

The turbo’d Jimny really is a riot to drive. There is a slight bump in the road, though: the price. The Jimny by Twisted starts at £49,500 + VAT (it’s a commercial vehicle so you can claim the tax back) with the performance upgrades. That’s a fair chunk above the base price of £21,099, but then again this is a completely transformed little car and a Defender 90 with some Twisted mods can easily command a six-figure sum.

Perhaps we’ll keep telling ourselves it’s a bargain at £50k…

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