Proton S70 – is everyone wrong about the name of the upcoming sedan based on the Geely Emgrand?

Proton S70

Proton’s second launch of the year will be a sedan that we’ve all been calling the Proton S50, and not without reason. The donor car is the Geely Emgrand, which is built on the same Geely BMA platform as the Proton X50, and it is sold in the Philippines at a price point that competes with the City and the Vios, but offering a larger body as a competitive edge.

So one would automatically assume that when the Emgrand is launched as a Proton, it would automatically be positioned a B-segment sedan and share a ’50’ model suffix with the B-segment X50 SUV. However, the more we think about it, perhaps this is not necessarily true.

Having a look at the Geely-derived products that Proton has launched over the years including the Proton X90 launched not too long ago, we can see that Proton does not always follow the same product positioning that Geely uses for its products. After all, every market is unique, and to blindly use the same recipe in every market could mean a sales disaster.

VIDEO: Geely BMA platform

Take the X50 for example. Proton fitted a 1.5 litre turbo engine without a GDI system in lower end variants of the Proton X50. This engine has never been used in Geely’s version of the X50.

Another example would be the Proton X90. The Geely Haoyue for China and Okavango for Philippines was only given a torsion beam rear suspension, but for the Malaysian market, Proton fitted a more advanced multilink suspension system.

Moreover, the X90 comes with captain’s seats in the second row on the Flagship variant, something that has never been offered on the Hauyue and Okavango in any other market.

Now we look at the Geely Emgrand. It is rather basic sedan in the Philippines market, built to offer more space at a cheaper price. The engine used in both China and Philippines is also a rather underwhelming 1.5 litre normally aspirated engine making 102 PS and 142 Nm, mated to a CVT gearbox.

It’s not that there’s anything bad with this type of engine, it’s just less impressive compared to turbo GDI engines mated to dual clutch transmissions.

The Emgrand is also devoid of any form of ADAS driving aids or even AEB autonomous emergency braking in the Philippines market. It’s a barebones car.

The latest sighting of the new Proton sedan posted on The Ajerul Facebook page shows that it will have ADAS features. You can see the ADAS camera featured prominently at the top of the windscreen. The ADAS camera has been there for some time now, even on previous sightings of the Proton sedan prototype. This means Proton may not be following the Philippines market barebones approach.

If you take a look at the comparison table below, you can see that the Proton sort of sits in the middle of the B-segment and C-segment in size especially the wheelbase, with overall exterior size dimensions being much closer to C-segment than B-segment.

Proton already has the Proton Persona as a B-segment sedan product. In addition, Proton CEO Dr Li Chunrong mentioned the new Proton sedan will be an all-new model and will not replace any models currently being sold in Proton showrooms at the moment. So it is not a B-segment sedan that will replace the Proton Persona which is still being sold, but a C-segment sedan that will replace the Proton Preve.

This means that while everyone has been calling this the Proton S50 all this while, what we could be looking at is actually the Proton S70, denoting a sedan counterpart to the Proton X70 C-segment SUV.

To enable the Proton S70 to compete as a true C-segment sedan, it is expected not to use the 1.5 litre normally aspirated engine and CVT gearbox found in in the Geely Emgrand, but instead will be powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo engine with a seven-speed automatic dual-clutch gearbox just like the Proton X50 and Proton X70 MC.

Proton has already mentioned the main engine to be used on all of its new models in the future is the 1.5 litre turbocharged engine, known by the internal code GEP3. The engine is now assembled by Proton in its factory in Tanjong Malim with an investment level reaching RM1.8 billion. Around 70% of the components of the engine are now made by Proton vendors in Malaysia, and Proton states that it is capable of assembling 180,000 units of that engine per year.

However, it is still unknown whether the Proton S70 will receive the 1.5L Turbo engine with a conventional fuel injection system (PFI) with 150 PS/226 Nm of power like the Premium variant of the X50 and below, or in a version with direct fuel injection system with 177 PS/255 Nm of power.

Moreover, the Proton Preve also previously used a multilink rear suspension, so it’s not impossible that its replacement could use the same. After all, Proton has proven that it would not hesitate to pick a multilink rear suspension over a torsion beam for the Proton X90, so maybe the same choice will be made on this new Proton S70 sedan.

After three continuous SUV launches, this new Proton sedan will be the first all-new sedan to be introduced by Proton, which has been a traditional sedan-based company, offering models like the Saga, Waja, Persona and Preve.

The new Proton S70 could be Proton’s best sedan yet. Are you a sedan fan and looking forward to the new Proton sedan’s launch?

Tags: Proton S50

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