Now that the Proton Suprima S has been officially launched, the question is of course whether there are plans to introduce a manual version of the hatch, or indeed, a R3-type performance variant, given that the hatchback bodystyle invariably invites such an approach.
In an interview with Datuk Lukman Ibrahim during the launch, the Proton deputy CEO intimated that such plans were afoot, that a manual version of the car as well as a R3 performance version were indeed in the pipeline. Lukman also revealed that a R3 version of the Preve sedan would arrive before the Suprima S R3 – will it have elements seen on the Preve Sapphire, we wonder.
Lukman also revealed export plans for the Suprima S, which conforms to ECE and ADR regulations – as mentioned in our launch report, the car will next make its way to ASEAN markets (Indonesia and Thailand) before the year is out. Lukman added that this will be followed by the car’s introduction in developed markets such as Australia and the UK, as well as a new export market, South Africa.
Some other points from Saturday’s launch. Highlighted was the fact that the car was benchmarked against a number of competitors in this segment, with four being bandied about during the presentation.
Two cars in particular, a ‘RM148k German car’ and a ‘RM128k American car’, were evaluated against the Suprima S over nine aspects of technical competence, ranging from steering linearity and straight-line handling to body control.
Though no direct mention was made as to their identity, the nationality and pricing effectively cements them as the Mk 6 Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI (baseline form, sans foglamps, Bi-Xenon DCC headlamps) and the current third-generation Ford Focus Sport +. The other cars mentioned as benchmark competition were the Peugeot 308 Turbo and Mazda3, though no performance aspects were displayed.
Save for four parameters where the two equal the Suprima S in one way or another, the Suprima S is supposedly to have aced the duo in terms of cornering ability, lane change, body control, wheel control and steering linearity. Those are certainly big claims, so we’re definitely curious as to finding just how good the Suprima S is during the upcoming media test drive soon.