It is finally official. After months of hype surrounding it, PROTON has officially unveiled the X50. This B-segment SUV is an all-new class of vehicle for the brand and is expected to sweep the market. The Proton X50 is the second all-new product to result from the partnership between PROTON and Geely. The X50 is built on the group’s BMA (B-segment Modular Architecture) platform that is shared with Geely and Volvo.
There will be four variants of the Proton X50 available, with two engine variants and six colours, that also features Level 2 driving automation for one of them.
The variants are listed in the following image:Although you can claim that this is a rebadge of the Geely Binyue / Coolray, a fair amount of re-engineering work is still required to convert it into a right-hand-drive. Don’t forget that new moulds and wiring harnesses have to be designed and produced to cater to this switch.
The most unexpected news from PROTON has to be the use of two different 1.5L engines as expectations had been placed on the turbocharged unit with 177 PS and 255 Nm. That particular engine is only used in the range-topping 1.5 TGDi Flagship variant. This 3-cylinder turbo engine is shared with Geely and Volvo models. The other three variants will be using a similar 1.5L 3-cylinder turbo engine that uses ported fuel injection as opposed to direct injection. This results in a slightly lower output of 150 PS and 226 Nm of torque. However, all variants have their engines paired with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT), and are two-wheel-drive.
Other kit standard across the range includes LED headlamps and daytime running lights, carbon-fibre-print body kit, rear air vents, and infotainment system with the latest GKUI 19 connected vehicle system. There will be slight differences in features and trim as you move up the range, most of which can be seen in the comparison image above. This includes a tyre pressure monitoring system and larger 10″ screen from the 1.5T Premium variant onward. The range-topper is the only variant offering a panoramic sunroof and the latest version of Advance Driver Assistance System (ADAS). Level 2 driving automation means the vehicle can control both steering and accelerating / decelerating functions.
According to PROTON, the company had spent RM1.2 billion to extend its production line at Tanjung Malim. Being locally assembled, the production of the X50 will benefit Malaysia’s automotive vendor community, with purchase intent expected to amount to at least RM1.8 billion annually. With another RM1 billion in parts purchases for the X70, the combined annual contribution to automotive vendors by PROTON’s two SUVs will be about RM2.8 billion.
With the addition of this new model, PROTON expects to continue its growth trajectory. As of August 2020, the company is the only automotive brand ahead of its sales volume from the previous year, despite the current challenging market conditions.
“As a company that manufactures locally, PROTON’s growth means more money is injected into Malaysia’s automotive vendor ecosystem leading to more jobs and wealth creation. This is vital at a time when COVID-19 has significantly hit Malaysia’s economy,” said Dato’ Sri Syed Faisal Albar, Chairman of PROTON.
Open For Booking
With the official reveal, PROTON is now accepting bookings for the X50. You can book yourself a unit with a booking fee of RM500 at authorised PROTON showroom. Customer preview sessions will be held at four separate locations beginning 19 September, though these will be closed-door events.
As for the price, we will have to wait for the official announcement at launch. If we were to speculate, the cheapest X70 starts from RM94,800, so it will not be surprising to find some price overlap with some of the higher X50 variants. With four variants, there is possibly a RM20,000 spread in the price range, probably maxing out below RM105,000. There will be differences in terms of size, features and buyer demographics between the X50 and X70 so there is nothing wrong with that.
Aside from opening the order books and kicking off customer previews, PROTON also announced a contest for all Malaysians to vote for a slogan for its new SUV. More details can be obtained from its official website.