Geely recently launched the Boyue Asian Games Edition, an SUV Proton would have loved to make.
Just as you think that the Geely-Proton partnership is a one-way street, a new vehicle emerges from the Geely ranks, looking like a car from Proton's playbook instead of Geely's.
The car we are referring to is, of course, the Geely Boyue Asian Games Edition, a recently launched special edition model based on the regular Boyue (we call it X70 in Malaysia) for the 19th Asian Games, which will be held at the Chinese carmaker's home city of Hangzhou next year.
Some of the Geely Boyue Asian Games Edition's key highlights include the Infinite Weave grille, as seen on the Proton X70, red accents on the brake calipers and rocker panels, 19-inch wheels shod with Continental's UltraContact tyres as well as a brown leather interior.
It appears the inspiration for this special edition Boyue came from Proton. Before the introduction of the Infinite Weave grille on the Proton X70 and X50, Geely already had the 'Expanding Cosmos' grilles adorning their front fascia. It does make sense however to bring out a special edition model with a different look by using what they already have in their automotive group parts bin. Since the weave grille from the X50 does look a bit more sporty, it's no surprise that they have chosen to kit out the Boyue sport-oriented special edition model with it.
The splash of red colour on the rocker panel instead of the regular chrome trim seen on the regular Boyue also seems to be influenced by the Special Edition Proton models which sport yellow coloured accents across the front and side.
But the one attribute that the special edition SUV has, like the Protons of yore, is its Lotus-tuned chassis, which brings more than just a new aesthetic look to the car.
The Lotus-tuned chassis on the Boyue Asian Games Edition is more than just some suspension tweaks, as a new rear subframe has been swapped in, which is said to be 25 percent lighter and 20 percent stronger. The company says that the new hardware has improved the Boyue's handling on and off the road.
Similar to what Proton has recently done with their Special Edition models, the Boyue has received no powertrain upgrades and utilizes what is already in Geely's parts bin, in the form of a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine making 181 hp and 300 Nm of torque. Interestingly, there is a choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission for the car.
The Boyue Asian Games Edition with the manual gearbox goes for RM58,064 in our local currency, while the DCT option is priced at RM68,836.
All these Lotus-tuned chassis upgrades jogged our memories back to 1998 where the Satria GTI was first introduced, two years after Proton acquired an 80 percent stake in the famed British automotive company. The Satria GTI could do the century sprint in 8.5 seconds, making it one of the fastest Proton production models ever produced. It was also the first Proton car to carry the famous "Handling by Lotus" badge.
Sadly In 2017, Geely bought a 51 percent stake in the firm, while Etika Automotive Sdn Bhd from Malaysia controls the remaining 49 percent.
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