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Future models - Proton - Suprima S

Proton gears up for sporty Suprima hatch

Supreme being: Proton's newest model, the Suprima S will arrive with more equipment than previous models and wearing a 'handling by lotus' badge.

Heavy Lotus connection, sports focus for new Proton Suprima turbo hatch coming soon

Proton logo28 Aug 2013

By DANIEL GARDNER

MALAYSIAN car-maker Proton has revealed a new contender set to take on Australia’s single biggest market segment – the Preve-based small hatchback called the Suprima S.

The new model will form part of the struggling Proton brand’s current campaign to boost its sales in Australia, following the launch of the Preve sedan earlier this year, and is being billed as the first model since the Satria GTi of the 1990s with high-level handling development by Lotus Engineering.

While Proton Cars Australia previously announced that a Preve hatch would arrive by mid-2013, the company is still to confirm a launch date for Suprima.

More details will follow at a media event scheduled for later next week, but two variants are confirmed for Australia – GX and GXR – with both to be powered by a 103kW/205Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, driving the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed CVT automatic gearbox.

Significantly, Proton says the Suprima will be better equipped than any previous model it has sold in Australia, with standard features across the range expected to include an Android-based information and entertainment system (incorporating a seven-inch touchscreen), a hill-holder, daytime running lights and park-assist technology with front and rear sensors.

Key safety equipment includes six airbags, electronic stability/traction control and ABS brakes, while the Previa’s five-star crash-test rating from the independent ANCAP authority also bodes well for the related Suprima.

The top-spec GXR version will be fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, push-button start, cruise control and, on the CVT model, paddle-shift gear selectors.

The Suprima will benefit from Proton’s recently introduced ‘5 Star Program’, which includes five years of warranty, roadside assistance and capped-price servicing.

Pricing for is yet to be announced but is likely to be slightly upstream of the recently discounted Previa, which starts from $15,990 driveaway and relies on a normally aspirated 80kW/160Nm version of the 1.6-litre engine.

The turbocharged engine was previously slated for the Preve sedan as well, but this is still to be confirmed.

All Proton models are described as ‘Engineered by Lotus’ but the Suprima is said to carry unique badges and is set to be the sportiest small car to come from the Malaysian brand since the Satria GTi.

Proton Cars Australia general sales and marketing manager Billy Falconer told GoAuto that the company is excited about the “onslaught of launches” planned for Australia.

“We will give more details on what our plans are soon but there are some very exciting times ahead for Proton,” he said.

As GoAuto has reported, the Preve has had negligible cut-through since its introduction at the Sydney motor show last October (when orders were first taken) and its subsequent arrival in showrooms in February.

Just 152 vehicles had been sold to the end of July, with total Proton sales down 48 per cent over the first seven months with just 353 units for the entire brand across the four-model range still in service (Persona, Gen.2 and S16, along with Preve).

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