The largest exposure most U.S. car enthusiasts have had to the Proton Satria Neo is likely from Top Gear
series 13, episode 3. That’s the one where the fellas try out budget cars, and Richard Hammond had a Satria Neo. “It’s not so bad when you’re moving,” Hammond said about the car’s quality. “That’s not because it’s fun to drive; it isn’t…but at least you’re obliged to look ahead and out of the cabin.”
But there are some real saving graces to the R3 Lotus Racing Edition. First, Lotus took the Satria Neo’s standard 1.6-liter engine and added goodies like a new engine management system, camshaft, and exhaust to raise the horsepower from 111 to 145. That’s especially good when considering that Mini makes 118 hp with its 1.6-liter engine before adding the turbocharger.
In true Lotus fashion, the car “adds lightness” with a carbon fiber hood and lightweight 16” alloy wheels. The car also benefits from suspension modifications, improved 5-speed manual transmission, and 4-pot AP Racing brake calipers with vented discs. The whole package now gives the car a 0-62 mph time of 9.2 seconds, which shaves about 2.3 seconds off standard Neo.
Proton also goes for a racier look with the Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing Edition. The car borrows Lotus’ signature green and gold colors throughout the package. Outside it features racing stripes and a full body kit including carbon fiber trim. Inside (always a particular weak point in Proton cars) there’s improvement with more carbon fiber inserts and Lotus Racing embroidered leather seats.
Of course all of these upgrades come at a price: 115,000 Malaysian Ringgits (currently about $35,000). But that kind of money does bring exclusivity…Proton is limiting production to 25 cars.
For the select few (i.e. mentally insane) who think this special edition Satria Neo is something they want in their garage, limited quantities is not the only hurdle. Proton has not announced any plans of exporting the cars from its Malaysian home market.