After being absent from the Proton range for a number of months, the Satria Neo is set to be re-launched to an expectant market.
Officially, Proton never dropped its 3-door sporty hatch from the model range but the excuse given was they were collecting orders and more or less producing the cars on a limited scale.
Well, mark your calendars because the Satria Neo gets re-launched on Thursday, 29th November 2012 as the Satria Neo R3. Further details are not known but invite says it's an extension of the Satria Neo CPS.
Personally, I hope the car will carry the mechanical parts of the original Satria Neo R3. That car had most of the go-faster bits from the Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing Edition except for the exotic parts like AP Racing brakes, Ohlins suspension and carbonfibre bits. If on the other hand it uses the 120bhp Satria Neo CPS motor and mechanical package, let's just say it won't set your world on fire.
Whatever the final spec, the fact remains that the Satria Neo is an important halo model for Proton. Though it's no longer a match for newer rivals, especially those with new generation turbo engines, there is no Proton model that is sportier or appeals more to the enthusiast crowd.
The Satria Neo is also Proton's competition model and has been doing very well in international competition. Accolades include various wins in the APRC series as well as on the SWRC platform and in 2012, Proton driver PG Andersson came within a whisker of winning the overall SWRC title.
Perhaps with this re-launch of the car, Proton can finally concentrate on rebuilding its performance credentials and though the actual car it's doing it with is now very long in the tooth, one has to start somewhere and the Satria Neo is as good a base as any other Proton.