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Tyres /  Tyre News4x4 & SUV / Twisted Jimny

Twisted Suzuki Jimny: Turbo power for a back- to-basics 4x4

As a former Jimny owner, Jonny Smith is the perfect candidate to sample Twisted's take on the analogue off-roader. So, is it really worth twice the price of the standard Suzuki?

Operating out of North Yorkshire, Twisted has spent the last 20 years perfecting the recipe for the loveable, but hugely flawed, Land Rover Defender. Now synonymous with comprehensive and high-quality (if rather pricey) restomods, the company has turned its hand to improving the Japanese Landy equivalent: the Suzuki Jimny.

Clearly Twisted knows a thing or two about transforming a car with appalling road manners into something which is a pleasure to drive and own, and it appears they’ve worked their magic again here.

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First on the agenda was enhancing the standard car’s asthmatic 1.5-litre engine. In order to extract nearly half as much power again from the motor, Twisted has bolted on a Garrett turbocharger – good for an extra 65 bhp. As well as halving the 0-60 mph dash, the newfound midrange torque and characterful chirps and whistles leave Jonny grinning from ear to ear as he opens the Jimny up.

But, with handling that would be more familiar to a sailor than a racing driver, surely the last thing the Jimny needed was a great dollop of extra power? Fortunately, Twisted has uprated the chassis to cope. Bilstein shock absorbers are paired with Eibach springs to radically improve body control and composure whilst retaining ride comfort.

Refinement has also been taken up a notch, or ten, thanks to extensive underfloor sound deadening reducing unwanted noise by 50%. While leather and Alcantara cladding on the headliner and door cards are certainly an upgrade over the scratchy plastics of the original. However, Jonny is puzzled by the omission of seat heating as the standard passenger car receives it.

Despite improving the 4x4 in almost every measurable way, Twisted has been careful not to paper over the cracks which gave the original its charm. Founder, Charles Fawcett, asserts: “We’re not trying to iron out every wrinkle or polish out the character from the standard Jimny” instead, the modifications just make it an easier and more enjoyable to vehicle to live with.

To this end, the little Japanese Jeep retains its famous off-road prowess. The basic steel wheels of the regular commercial Jimny have been swapped for larger 16-inch alloys which wear BFGoodrich All-Terrain tyres. With an exceptionally light kerb weight and supreme traction, the Twisted Jimny should be able to skip over any surface with ease.

Jonny certainly enjoys his drive in the Twisted ‘Jim but, given the choice, would he pick it over one of the company’s revered Defenders? Watch the video above to find out.

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