Proton will release a new sedan model after all, and it could be as soon as next year to follow the Proton X90. For years Malaysians have defaulted to calling this new model Proton S50, but based on recent trademark filings this is proving to be true and will be based on the newest Geely Emgrand.
None of this is especially striking us as surprising, but the recent sighting of a heavily camouflaged test unit shared by The Ajerul has stirred up the hope that the national automaker has not forgotten about the four-door category.
It is unclear whether it will replace the current Proton Persona or the discontinued Proton Preve. The new model will likely have a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine, but details about turbocharging and power output are still unknown.
Recent photos reveal the front-end design, showing a visible monocular camera and a large emblem on the grille as spotted by our friends at Wapcar. The emblem size suggests the possibility of housing millimetre wave radar hardware, different from the current bumper-mounted setup in other Proton models.
It is unique for the Proton S50 to have Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), as the original Geely Emgrand does not have this feature. Similar to the Proton X90, the Proton S50 may offer features not found in the Geely donor car. The photos also suggest the possibility of sequential turn signals.
Considering that Proton recently started production of the Proton X90, it is unlikely for the Tanjung Malim plant to introduce another new model so soon, which is why we’re hedging our bets that the S50 is only due for a launch some time in 2024.
In other markets, the Geely Emgrand is decidedly less impressive on paper, not boasting the active safety and driver assist features we’re predicting nor a turbocharged engine – rather, it makes due with a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit.
While it is far from confirmed that the S50 will feature the 1.5-litre TGDI unit from the X50 under its bonnet, it remains the most likely choice given the automaker’s investment in an engine plant. The turbo engine will also certainly give the other B-segment contenders plenty of reason to be anxious as they will quickly be shown to be embarrassingly underpowered in contrast.
Now that the trio of Proton X-series of SUVs are assembled and the S50 is positioned to kick off their sedan offensive, what’s next? A next-gen Perdana? A reimagined Putra or Satria GTI?