SHAH ALAM: Proton's new seven-seater SUV (sport utility vehicle) will be named X90, as widely anticipated, said Proton CEO Dr Li Chunrong.
The X90 will also be the national automaker's first mild-hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) and new energy vehicle (NEV), with a 48V (volt) electric motor synergy (EMS) system that integrates six key components, including the 48V belt-starter generator (BSG) motor, the DCDC converter, the 48V lithium-ion battery, and the battery management system, the recuperation braking system, and the hybrid module control system.
According to Proton, a five-year warranty is offered on the 48V lithium-ion battery.
"The 48V EMS system delivers improved fuel efficiency, performance, and reduced emissions, and represents our first step into the NEV segment,” said Li at a media briefing on Tuesday at the Proton styling studio in Shah Alam.
Those who want to book a unit and get a first-hand look at the new X90 SUV can do so during a series of preview sessions across six cities starting April 8, 2023.
The 48V EMS technology delivers additional power and torque for improved performance, and with the 1.5-litre TGDi (turbo petrol direct injection) engine, the X90 delivers 190ps and 300Nm of torque, and is said to provide better acceleration, overtaking, and seamless coasting.
There is an extra boost of 13ps and 45Nm of torque as well as 15% better fuel efficiency, compared with the 1.5-litre TGDi powertrain without the 48V EMS technology, thus making this a powerful yet economical option for a three-row SUV package.
Proton says this powertrain has received accolades in China and the Philippines, and it is paired with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) optimised for the new system.
Assembled at Proton's Tanjung Malim plant alongside the X50 and X70, the X90 will be offered in four variants namely Standard, Executive, Premium, to Flagship.
The Flagship variant is a six-seater with captain seats and pilot headrests for the second row, while the other variants are seven seaters.
New safety features on the X90 are Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) which detects approaching vehicles while reversing using the rear radar sensor, Rear Collision Warning (RCW) which alerts driver on potential rear-end collisions and Traffic Sign Information (TSI) which detects and displays road signs.
The X90 is Proton's first vehicle with these intelligent safety features.
The SUV also boasts a 10-inch LCD meter combination, providing an easy-to-read and intuitive digital user interface.
The infotainment unit in the flagship variant of the X90 features a 12.3-inch display unit, with the powerful EO2 processor.
This is the largest and most advanced unit available in Proton vehicles to-date.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Proton said the X90's muscular silhouette highlights the latest evolution towards a premium design identity.
"The redesigned Ethereal Bow flowing between the headlamps frames a newfound premium aura, creating a strong and harmonious look that is sure to impress. The grille is equally stunning, featuring diamond shapes inspired by songket patterns, exemplifying infinite movement, and upon closer inspection reveals distinctive repeating patterns of the Infinite Weave. This evolutionary Design DNA was inspired by Malaysian craftsmanship and rich cultural heritage," said Proton chief designer Azlan Othman.
Meanwhile, during the quick media briefing, Proton revealed that the X90's development took 96,000 man-hours and 1.2 million kilometres of testing.
As a result, the X90 has a multi-link suspension tuned on Malaysian roads.
Occupants enjoy dual-zone air-conditioning and independent rear air-conditioning, and every row has air-conditioning vents.
There are seven charging points (USB-C and USB-A) for mobile devices as well as wireless charging.
Other features include Nappa leather seats, N95 cabin filter, LED headlights with sequential turn signals, powered front seats, auto unlock and walk-away auto lock, and a powered tailgate, as well as up to 2,050 litres of rear cargo space with the rear seats folded.
The Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, and forward collision warning (FCW), automatic park assist (level 2 ADAS), a 360-degree camera system with 3D display, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
The Premium and Flagship variants shown to the press were shod with 19-inch wheels.
"We have about 45% localised from the day we start production, and with around 500 local parts," said Proton director of group engineering Hazrin Fazail Haroon.
On plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), Proton deputy CEO Roslan Abdullah pointed out that as a national automaker, Proton has an agenda to develop the country's automotive industry.
"If we introduce PHEVs, what would be the price range and the market acceptance? We can bring in (fully imported) BEVs but we have to be mindful of the reason for Proton's establishment. At the end of the day, what is the benefit for Malaysia?," he said.
Meanwhile, Li said going forward, Proton is continuously looking to improve after-sales services.
"We have a plan - Proton Operation Excellence (POE). Now, we have 152 3S and 4S (sales, service, spare parts, and body and paint services) centres. If you want to sell the X90, your after-sales services should be better (reach a certain standard). If not, you are disqualified from selling the X90. Also, you must have space to accomodate eight models - by the end of 2023, we will launch (the eighth model)," he said.
Li did not reveal what would be the eighth Proton model, although there is media speculation that it would be a new C-segment sedan.
Presently, Proton has six models namely the Saga, Persona, X50, X70, Iriz and Exora in its line-up.