21 November 2011

The shape of things to come from Proton in the near term

There's a continuous stream of leaked uncovered new Proton lately. This sets the precedence in building up public anticipation and eagerness of the much awaited product. Although the leaked is "unofficial", and perhaps is against the law especially those photoed inside the Proton premise, they do create an excitement for the buying market. The keyword such as Proton P3-21A, Proton Exora Turbo and Proton Saga FLX 1.6 are hot stuff nowadays. Thanks to blogsite like funtasticko, the photos are now can be seen online.

The immediately coming up launch is the Proton Saga FLX SE. Aping the Perodua Myvi SE strategy, the SE version of the Saga comes with bigger engine, as experimented a while back in limited edition Saga FL 1.6l. However, this time around, the bigger capacity car comes with a host of aesthetic enhancement such as more pronounced skirting all around, bigger 15" alloy wheel. A ducktail rear spoiler and smoked rear light complete the exterior makeover. In the cabin, the seats are now upholstered in leather trim.

The 1.6l Campro IAFM engine is paired with the CVT transmission, just like the Saga FLX 1.3l. The launch is said to be either end of this month or in December. The price will definitely be cheaper than the smaller-bodied and smaller-engined Perodua Myvi SE/Extreme but the final figure remained to be seen.

Another coming up model is the updated Proton Exora MPV. In less than 3 years in its life-cyle, the not-so popular Proton MPV is sets for its mid-life facelift and will gained a new drivetrain too. There's have been so much talked about the Campro Turbo engine, so this is the first model to receive such powertrain. Drive is expected to be channeled via the CVT gearbox too as the Saga FLX. The drivetrain will preview what we will see in the Proton P3-21A, a global car. Apart from the revised engine, the MPV will received a facelift too. New front bumper is already seen with different air intake arrangement. Rear disc brake will be featured too. Rear bumper will be garnished with blackened lower panel like the Proton Inspira. The revised MPV is rumoured to be called Exora BOLD. If  this is true, perhaps it is the disease infected from Perodua, a trend in calling the car with certain petname behind the main naming system. More after the jump.

Finally, the year 2012 will witness the launch of the Proton Global car, coded P3-21A. The car is currently in its P1-2 stage, and the PP will begin in February 2012. Carrying the massive hope of the public that is so forever keen to see a world-class Proton, the P3-21A has a lot to live up for. For one, the archaic styling need to go. The fee to international design studio Italdesign by right will put this plague down and far in diminishing history. Secondly, for me, the overall design (both aesthetic and engineering design-wise) should be far more state-of-the-art. Days of visible-joint in glass weather strip, sagging door, inconsistent panel gap, uncomfortable seat and squeak and rattling issues should be delegated to the past. I expect an exemplary panel fit, superb handles and switchgear operation effort, great NVH, supreme ride and handling compromise, thoroughly modern interior design, intelligent portioning of texturing and material grade to increase high perceived quality cabin and finally a consistently, nation-wide revamped dealer network.

I perceived the Proton Exora as the first experimentation in devising the strategies in addressing all the above-mentioned. The 3 years gap should have been used in honing and fine-tuning these items towards perfection. Dear Proton, I expect nothing less. Anyway, thanks to the leaked photo again, early indication is sound. LED DRL is a sign of modernism. Lets hope the good initial impression is carried over all the way to the rear end, encompassing a well-executed chassis, cabin, drivetrain and refinement all in one swoop.

Beyond P3-21A, the P3-22A project is also underway. Check out in Linkedin, a professional network where people detailed out their career and project! From that source and some other limited source, it seems this project is a hatchback version worked by Proton subsidiaries through their Malaysian-branch. The GSC project too is being undertaken. Don't forget about the Exora and Persona REEV and Saga EV, those award-winning car should filter out their technology in the future road-going car. With car like Satria NEO dominating the APRC, perhaps a dream of turbocharged hatchback with screaming performance does not seems to be a tall order anymore.