And boom goes the dynamite. With the dust settled, here’s the Proton X50 in all its glory!
Probably the worst kept new car secret in the Malaysian automotive scene and one that was heavily rumoured to enter our market pretty much as soon as the X70 was introduced.
With a launch earmarked soon, Proton has thankfully taken to social media to silence the swell of chatter around their new compact crossover following some teasers and semi-hidden cameo appearances. There was also a key fob that leaked, in case you missed it.
This is actually the first time that Proton has even confirmed its existence in any official capacity. Prior to this, it was merely assumed that the model would be called the X50. There was also an online contingent that appeared to be convinced that it would be called the SX11, matching the internal designation given by Geely to the Binyue (also called Coolray in some markets) upon which the X50 is based. Hah. Wrong.
Before we start dissecting these images, it’s important to first set some expectations. Proton has not revealed the majority of details on the X50 apart from how it looks. For now, we get these 2 photos (the only official ones, we checked) of the exterior and one wide shot of the cabin facing the dashboard and windscreen, but that’s as far as it goes.
Starting with the body, we see very little changed between its Geely-badged B-segment counterpart. The X50 sits on Geely’s BMA platform, aptly standing for B-segment Modular Architecture. In fact, the only obvious alterations are concentrated at the front, which has seen a swapping out for Proton’s Infinite Weave grille and newest logo design.
Everything else, literally, from the two tone scheme to the wheels, look to be taken wholesale from the Binyue/Coolray. Specifically, the Binyue Sport variant. This theme of Geely-Proton uniformity carries over into the X50’s interior where we have a rather tastefully presented red on black combination with satin-finished silver accents. Hopefully, it's one of several colour combos.
We’ve no doubt that this mix of materials is reserved for higher-end variants, though we are curious whether that snazzy freestanding infotainment display will be standard across the range. We also spy rear air conditioning vents, rear USB charging points, and an electronic parking brake (as is the norm).
The steering wheel is also identical to that of the Binyue and many will already recognise that petite gear selector, denoting the X50’s 7-speed dual-clutch shared with the 2020 X70, driving the front wheels. You can read some of our impressions of the new transmission and how it compares to the 6-speed torque converter automatic it replaced, here.
However unconfirmed, it’s almost certain that a 1.5-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol engine will be making its Malaysian debut with the X50. If its tune is also unchanged from other markets, we can expect around 177hp and 255Nm, which is pretty strong for a B-segment SUV and easily deflates the 2020 Honda City’s biggest bragging point. Can’t wait to test the claimed 7.9 second 0-100km/h sprint time too.
We also expect the X50 to inherit the majority (if not all) of the passive and safety features offered in the X70. Highlights to look forward to in the range-topping variant include Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist, and Blind Spot Monitoring. However, it’s a toss up as to whether the 360-degree camera and Adaptive Cruise Control makes the cut or is reserved for the larger SUV.
Proton, if you’re listening, we’d love it if you also throw in the ventilated seats from the X70 as well. Thanks, you’re the best!
Of course, we’ll have more on the X50 as the news comes in. My guess would be that you won’t have to wait for long until something else drops - our OG national automaker has gotten pretty savvy with keeping us on the hook for more.