An assortment of Proton R3 models have been rumoured to be released for quite some time now. Proton’s highly successful in-house motorsports division has throughout the years, introduced a number of limited-run models that have been rather successful and appealing to the boy racer in all of us.
Most recently, whispers from the grapevine suggested a Proton Saga R3 version was due out in 2020 – alas, with the pandemic slowdown and Proton’s hands full with the introduction of the X50 SUV, it is understood that these plans have been put off till next year.
With yearly model updates planned for both the Saga, Persona, and Iriz in 2021 – we might just be treated to a snazzy return of the R3 nameplate.
Of course, this is all conjecture at this point, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t swoon over the prospects of what might be if the R3 division gets to put their Midas touch on the regular Proton models. Now, with the help of our in-house designer Farhanah, we have rendered what we hope to see with the “plausible” R3 models.
We have selected X70 (because why not?), the Saga (because we think one is already in the works), and perhaps the one we want most the Iriz R3 (come on Proton, we deserve a successor to the Satria).
One unifying trait you’d find on all three cars is the achingly beautiful British Racing Green – an iconic hue popularised by many British sports cars, including Lotus, which until 2017 was owned by Proton. It is also a homage to the rarest and most expensive R3 creation – the Satria Neo Lotus Racing.
Supplied from the factory with carbon parts, bonafide racing components (like titanium headers) and a chassis that would excite even the most die-hard track enthusiasts – it is about the best place to start for the ‘new’ berangan-angan R3 models.
Let's get stuck in…
For the X70 we have our styling updates clean and simple, this is the flagship model of the Proton range and as such, must appeal to a more affluent crowd with a taste for exclusivity. We’ve finished of the colouring with some subtle yellow highlights on the side skirts – much like the Proton Saga 35th Anniversary edition.
Along the flanks, we contrasted the bodywork with dark AG Luxury ‘59’ Spec 3 wheels for a highly stylised and technical look – befitting the X70’s up to date technology and equipment.
This is perhaps the first R3 named model that we might receive. Proton is believed to be already working on a sportier version of the Saga to appeal to a younger audience of the brand. As far as we know, the updates are only said to be aesthetic, but the Saga’s ride and handling are already up to par and outperforms its main rival, the Perodua Bezza, so perhaps bolder looks are just what it needs.
To this end, we have to say, British Racing Green suits the sedan body style of the Saga especially well. We have added the same wheel package as the Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing and given the car a subtle drop for a more aggressive stance. The sporty stance is finished with a matte-black lip spoiler at the front; the wing mirrors are matte black too.
Now we move onto the model that could benefit the most from an R3 edition and is theoretically the most fitting successor to the Satria Neo’s blend of budget style and performance. The facelifted Proton Iriz, is a good looking hatchback, offers lovely driving dynamics, a refined driving experience and a proven powertrain. The Iriz also has a proven motorsports track record having garnered victories across various circuit racing championships; and who can forget the Iriz R5 WRC-spec homologation model.
It’s a shame the manual variant isn’t offered with the more powerful 1.6-liter engine anymore. That said, what we’d love to see with the R3 version is the aggressive six dual-spoke R3 light-alloy wheels with subtle highlights in yellow for the Iriz’s Ethereal Bow trim, which runs across the front of the car.
So Proton, bila nak launch?
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