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Proton Persona replacement shown in disguise over in Kuala Lumpur

By Rigval on 24 Mar 2012

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I attended Proton's Power of 1 event at Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur recently. The event is a showcase of Proton's current and future automotive efforts. Proton has decided to show off its latest prototype car one month before its offcial launch but in a disguised form. This is even though it is already production ready.

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This latest model, code named P3-21A is set to be the replacement of the Proton Persona and to an extent, the hatchback version which is the Proton Gen 2 (although no news of a hatchback variant as yet). In terms of size, it is similar to the Persona but it is slightly taller with a more rounded roof. And even though it has all those swirly stickers pasted on it one can tell that it is a little bit larger than the outgoing model.

Proton pitted this new prototype around its demonstration track against the Proton Persona. The Proton P3-21A (P321A) out-braked the Persona due to it having Electronic Brake Distribution and out-accelerated the Persona due to it having Proton's latest turbocharged 1.6liter engine (which will be used for the higher specced variants) that we've seen inside the Proton Exora Bold MPV. It also outperformed the Persona during the slalom course. Some could say that this was all a show put up by the Malaysian manufacturer, but in this case it was simple to see otherwise as the driver in the P321A was easily the more relaxed driver. The Persona driver looked like he had to work harder to keep up with the newer car.

The P321A is Proton's latest totally “home” grown effort since the Proton Saga BLM and the Proton Exora. The latest Proton prior to this was the rebadged Mitsibishi Lancer – the Inspira. I'd say “home” grown because the person who headed the development team is Dr. Wolfgang Karl Epple, a German chap who was with BMW. The design is a collaboration with Italian styling house Giugiaro and other components come from Korea, Japan and even Australia. As such, it would seem that Proton has decided to go the way of the Koreans in some ways. It is like a Korean manufacturer these days as they are now sourcing styling from the Italians and key engineering personnel from the best in the business.

Proton The P321A is scheduled to be launched in April and Proton expects sales of the new car to be around 4,000 units a month.

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

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Seanboi Mar 25 2012 01:42 AM
The new model is longer, heavier, wider and taller than the outgoing model.
Performance and fuel consumption figures will definitely suffer unless one opt for the top of the range model that comes with the CFE engine @ RM70+k.
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