FIRST DRIVE VIDEO: PROTON Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing
There was a torrential downpour the evening that Ignition.my had the opportunity to test drive the recently launched Proton Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing. Most other unlucky journalists in my group would have to return another day for the drive, but rain or shine, it don’t make a difference to me. In fact I relish driving it in the wet as it would be easier to gain an understanding of what is on offer: if it’s a hoon in the wet, then you can bet that in the dry it’d be so much more so!
Launched in conjunction with Lotus’ return to Formula 1 this year, it really is a very special and very limited edition of only 25 cars. And at RM 115,000 on the road, it’s priced way out of what the Proton brand name can usually handle. Why and how is this so?
It’s full of special items for sure, but RM 115,000 for a Proton? Ohlins suspension, carbon fiber hood and airbox, fiberglass front wings, Bridgestone Adrenalin RE001 tyres, AP Racing brakes, NAPA-leather seats, tuned 145hp engine, shorter final drive ratio.. that’s a pretty conprehensive and expensive list! Apparently the suspension alone is a bit of magic and worth RM 30,000 off-the-shelf!
It’s a brilliant car, what a performance Proton Satria Neo should be: good spread of power and strong acceleration, fun handling and strong brakes, and aggressive race-refugee styling. RIP the ho-humm Satria Neo CPS. I’d really have loved to see this car in mass-production, as RM 115,000 is still a whole lot of money.
But built in such small numbers, it really isn’t about the worth anymore, it’s supposedly more a collectors car, and also helps to homologate the parts for Proton-R3 racing cars. Watch the video (and laugh at how dorky I look in the helmet), and understand that for Proton and R3 at least, it’s a fantastic achievement.
And now that the mould has been broken for a more proper performance Proton, can we expect more mass-produced performance-versions of it’s models with that engine? Come on Proton, it’s time to relive the glory days of the GTi!