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First look: Proton Satria gets the triple R treatment

Rrrr: Hottest version of Satria Neo will get chassis and engine upgrades.

R3 Satria emerges as the spiritual successor to Proton's original GTi hot-hatch

18 Feb 2008

PROTON has revealed first images of the successor to its most widely acclaimed model, the previous-generation Satria GTi – the R3 Satria.

Due to make its first Australian public appearance at next week’s Melbourne motor show opening (on February 29), the R3 Satria is based on Proton’s redesigned Satria Neo three-door, released here a year ago in February 2007.

The production version of the R3 Satria is another 12 months away from hitting Australian roads, and was first previewed by an R3-badged concept with full sports bodykit at last year’s Sydney motor show.

43 center imageProton Cars Australia had said that a bodykitted, R3-badged version of its new Satria, which is positioned between the Savvy micro and the five-door Gen.2 hatch, would come to market “soon after” the redesigned three-door’s release last year, but now it appears the R3 Satria will indeed be a belated replacement for the popular Satria GTi.

Proton remains coy on powertrain details for the next-generation hot-hatch to be launched in early 2009, but says it will offer “a significant power increase” over the standard Satria Neo, which is powered by the Malaysian maker’s 1.6-litre DOHC 16-valve Campro four-cylinder engine.

To feature suspension developed by Proton-owned British sports car maker Lotus, the R3 Satria is still under development at Proton’s Shah Alam-based special vehicles and motorsport arm, R3, which stands for “race, rally, research”.

According to R3 boss, former Lotus engineer and prominent Malaysia race driver, Tengku Djan Ley, the R3 Satria’s “high-performance” engine, Lotus-tuned chassis and aerodynamic body enhancements will give it the edge in the hot-hatch arena.

“We have very much focussed on the Lotus philosophy of performance through light weight, utilising intelligent powerplant solutions while minimising weight and enhancing Satria’s already impressive handling,” said Mr Djan Ley.

“The Satria is a striking design and a great canvas for us to work with. I believe the R3 Satria will be a real hit at the show and draw a lot of attention.

“However, it is on the road where it will be really impressive but people will have to wait a little while before the R3 Satria hits the tarmac,” he said.

Alongside the R3 Satria reveal in Melbourne, PCA will launch its all-new four-door Persona sedan, first deliveries of which have been postpone from March to April.

PCA managing director John Startari said the R3 Satria’s appearance in Melbourne will be one of its greatest drawcards ever.

“The question we get asked all the time is when will the next Satria GTi be here. The first-generation GTi carved a real niche for itself and it is a bit of a cult car, (so) the R3 Satria (will) certainly give some pointers to what its successor might look like.

“While we can’t reveal too many details at this time, Satria GTi enthusiasts can rest easy in the knowledge that a performance version of the new Satria is not too far away and the R3 Satria is evidence of that,” said Mr Startari.

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