28 June 2011

PROTON MSX - What could have been.......

Recently, there was a spy photos of Chinese Youngman SUV, strongly resembling Lotus APX/Proton MSX. Adding more to that, apparently, Proton boss, Dato Syed Zainal admitted that Proton, through Lotus is indeed providing consultancy to Youngman for their SUV based on Proton platform. It was also mentioned that there is a possibility of buying back that model and rebadged it to become Proton SUV.

More juicy details after the jump.

These are the spy photos of the allegedly Youngman SUV. The resemblance to MSX is clear to see. The window profile and the rear end are pure MSX. The change in fascia design is expected, as this will be different brand altogether. The delta shaped rear glass has been toned down to more feasible shape though.

Thats all about it for the Youngman SUV spies. The rest of this entry is about Proton MSX.

Sometimes back, Proton displayed MSX at KL motorshow and during its open day. Googling across internet, many people actually labelled as perfect "copy and paste" effort by Proton, in this case, copying Lotus APX.
Lotus APX at motorshow

Not many people know that this particular car actually start its live as a PROTON. It was conceived early of this new millenium as a Proton crossover, and ultimate one at that. Bear in mind that at that time, there 's no coupe+SUV cross over such as BMW X6 and Acura ZDX just yet. 

MSX was developed by Lotus Engineering ( as usual for Proton from this period). The car is build on what Lotus called VVA, versatile vehicle architecture. This is an all-aluminum modular platform for low volume model and can be reconfigured relatively easy (in concept) to form a front or mid engine, RWD or 4WD model. This platform was meant to be shared with a few other models too from these two brand portfolio.

MSX was meant to showcase Proton flagship technology. The aluminum underpinning and innovative aluminum construction gives it kerb weight of little more than 1500kg, enough for around 6 sec century sprint and 250+ km/h top speed. The car was powered by Proton 3.0 V6 supercharged. As per the car, this engine is Proton flagship too, spawn 2.2l V6 to 3.0 V6 supercharged in size.

The car is laden with technology that can't be mentioned here for confidentially reason. As a hint, this include seriously advanced braking system and electronic systems.

However, running a specialized aluminium car and separate high-cost engine development program prove to be too much for Proton. In light of cost conscious, degrading market share and ever persistent quality problem on dated model line-up, this ultimate project, in the end has to take a back seat. After winding down the activity towards end of 2004, it was eventually axed it in 2005. What a shame!!

In 2006, Lotus resurrect the car as Lotus APX and showcased it throughout the world motorshow. Many people know this car during this time, fondly as Lotus APX, remembered to be first ever Lotus SUV. 

Neither version made it to the road though.After all, this car was showcased to exhibit Lotus VVA platform and powertrain technology. 

Several years down the road, now we are in crossover boom time. Just mentioned any brand, most likely most of them have some in the line up. Among the examples of crossovers are BMW X6, Infiniti FX45, Acura ZDX, Infiniti EX37, BMW 5GT, Toyota Venza, Honda Accord Crosstour and more. Proton/Lotus actually have the chance to be with this group as early as 2004! 

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