Proton’s new generation of engines may be ready to hit the market as early as next year in a facelifted version of the Proton Preve, according to a report by Funtasticko. The Malay-language automotive website is a typically accurate source for Proton-related news.
The same website had also posted reader-submitted spyshots and video of a Proton Exora test mule running along the NKVE escorted by a Honda Mobilio MPV. Both vehicles were using trade plates known to belong to Proton.
It was further elaborated that the Exora was carrying large barrels of water inside, suggesting that it the engineers may be testing the vehicle or powertrain’s load-carrying capacity.
It is Funtasticko’s postulation that this Exora mule is serving as a testbed for Proton’s new petrol direct injection (GDI) engine – a reasonable assumption, however, since the Exora is an aged model with no real need for testing in its current design. The website also speculates that Proton may be introducing the new GDI engine into the Exora as well.
The new modular engine family from Proton is currently being co-developed with UK-based engine specialists Ricardo. Much of the engine’s technology, particularly its valvetrain and fuel system, is derived from the Petronas-developed NE01 engine, which Proton bought over in 2012.
Speaking to Carlist.my earlier this year, Proton’s Chief Technical Officer En Rashid Musa revealed that the NE01 engine came with 17 engine technologies and 117 patents. The NE01 engine cost Petronas RM 1 billion to develop, but was acquired by Proton at a meagre cost of RM 63 million.
Upon full roll-out, Proton’s new engine family will have a total of six variants, with the most potent 1.5-litre turbocharged direct injection variant targeted to deliver 180hp and 250Nm.
The Proton Preve, launched in 2012, is in dire need of a makeover to keep itself up-to-date in the market. Initially available with a choice of naturally-aspirated and turbocharged 1.6-litre engines, the Preve and its hatchback sister, the Suprima S, is now powered exclusively by Proton’s 1.6-litre CFE turbocharged engine with rated outputs of 138hp and 205Nm. A new engine will go a long way to enhance its appeal to the market.