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GTi to follow new Satria

Incoming: New Satria three-door will sell below the five-door Gen.2.

Proton Oz is keen on a GTi version of February's new Satria, but there's no firm date

1 Sep 2006

PROSPECTIVE buyers of the new Proton Satria GTi will need to be patient.

Despite the fact that the new three-door Satria will go on sale in February, the GTi is still a long way off as Proton moves to lift performance to hot-hatch level.

In the meantime, Proton Australia managing director John Startari said a performance-oriented R3 model would arrive "very quickly" after the new Satria’s launch.

"We’ll get an R3 vehicle to tie us over until a performance Satria comes on stream," he said.

The R3 is based on the Malaysian car-maker’s "race, rally, research" motorsport program, with a variety of body and mild engine modifications.

Proton Australia is keen to leverage the R3 brand here and is looking at adopting it across the range, from the entry Savvy to the Gen.2 hatch.

Proton in Malaysia is believed to be working on a turbocharged GTi model but performance details are not known.

A heavily camouflaged car has been undergoing testing in the UK with an output believed to be more than 140kW.

The original Satria GTi was considered one of Proton’s success stories, achieving cult status in markets where it was sold because of its Lotus-inspired handling and peppy 103kW/164Nm 1.8-litre four-cylinder.

When the new Satria three-door arrives in February, prices are expected to start around $17,000 for the two-variant line-up, designed to sit between the entry Savvy and Gen.2.

43 center imageIn Malaysia the Satria is available with either a 70kW/120Nm 1.3-litre or 1.6-litre four cylinder but Australia is likely to get the 1.6 only.

The front-drive three-door boasts a 16-valve 1.6-litre Campro engine that develops 83kW at 6000rpm and 148Nm at 4000rpm. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual but a four-speed automatic will also be available.

The 1.6-litre has a top speed of 190km/h and a 0-100km/h sprint time of 11.5 seconds.

Suspension is fully independent with MacPherson-style front struts and sophisticated multi-link rear set-up.

Mr Startari said pricing was still being finalised but the car would definitely be a sub-$20,000 proposition with a high level of standard equipment.

This is expected to run to dual airbags, electric windows/mirrors, air-conditioning and central locking, but Mr Startari also wants to make reversing sensors and anti-lock brakes with four-wheel disc brakes standard across the range.

He claims the new car, called Neo in Malaysia, is better built with vastly improved quality levels.

Proton now has European quality systems in place at its factory in Malaysia and Mr Startari says the Satria was subject to higher than usual testing protocols.

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