The Proton X50 became the first car globally to see the application of the port-fuel-injection (PFI) 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, codeveloped by Geely and Volvo. The move may seem odd to some of us as we seldom get access to the latest-and-greatest engine technologies, but Proton actually has a very good reason behind the choice.
Speaking at the Q-and-A session at the Proton X50 media test drive event at Sepang on Wednesday, Proton Director of Group Engineering Hazrin Fazail Haroon revealed that the introduction of the PFI engine – and offering two engine choices on one single model – was due to the fact that it will also be integrated into other Proton models in the future.
“The move is part and parcel of the big picture in terms of the company’s powertrain strategy. The 1.5T is basically a derivative of the 1.5 TGDi, and has been developed to accommodate our future programmes,” said Hazrin.
“This is the first introduction, and it will feature in future models that the company will produce in Malaysia”, he added.
While no further details have been divulged, our best guess for the first recipient of the new 1.5T engine would be the next-generation Proton Persona and Iriz. First unveiled in 2016 and 2014 respectively, the two B-segment models is most likely due for replacement some time in the next two to five years.
With an output of 150 hp and 226 Nm of torque paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the Persona and Iriz could easily become the most powerful models in its segment – perhaps even fit for a performance-oriented variant – Iriz R3, anyone?
Previously, Proton CEO Dr. Li Chunrong also revealed that the company is planning to introduce two new models, developed completely by our home-grown talents. Could we possibly see Proton enter the C-segment market again? Only time will tell, but at least we know that the powertrain available within the Proton arsenal is more than fit for that purpose.