It has been a month since the official launch of the Proton X50. Many soon-to-be owners are still anxiously anticipating that one phone call from their sales advisors, but for others, the modding spree has already begun. There is one that went viral on social media, and you’re looking right at it. Meet, the “Bumblebee.”

At first glance, this satin pearl yellow X50 might seem like the kind of understated mod your usual neighbourhood car enthusiast would do, although it’s anything but. To know more about the car, Lee, as he prefers to go by, walks us through the list of modifications he has done since taking ownership of the X50. Disclaimer – Lee spent roughly RM52,000 on his 1.5 TGDi Flagship to date, but he’s not quite done yet.

One of the first things he did was do a full body wrap with chrome-delete. The original chrome trims on the grille, headlights and window surrounds have all been wrapped with gloss black vinyl, as have the roof rails and door handles.

The LED headlights and LED fog lamps remain standard, but each side of the latter housing gets a trio of LEDs that double as regular DRLs and amber-coloured turn indicators in sequential fashion. All variants of the X50 already come with dual front lip, but Lee saw fit to add a third one, complete with glossy carbon-fibre print.

Moving to the side, the stock 18-inch alloys have been replaced with 20-inch wheels from Veemann. These matte black twin six-spoke rims have a bead seat profile of 8.5 inches (8.5JJ), which is wider than the 7JJ factory profile. Lee’s tyre of choice is Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S (235/40 ZR20), because why settle for less?

We’ll talk more about the colossal rotors below and focus on just the aesthetics for now. Other exterior upgrades include carbon-fibre wing mirror caps, a larger rear spoiler taken from the Geely Binyue Sport, LED bar on the tailgate (which relocates the Proton script above it), as well as black Proton and X50 letterings.

The exhaust system is half new. The section from the stock header to the primary catalytic converter (the X50 has two cat-cons, the first has the oxygen sensor) is retained, but everything aft of it is new. The second cat is removed, and the new mufflers generate an audibly raspier note (Bluetooth remote-activated valves in the pipes further amplify this). The quad tips also get nice carbon sleeves. Lastly, there’s also a hands-free powered tailgate, so just wave your foot to swing it wide open.

Interior modifications aren’t quite as extensive, but Lee is the kind to leave no stones unturned. The entire dashboard has been wrapped with black Alcantara, replacing the red soft-touch plastic that once graced the entire top section of the dash. The brushed silver dash trim, centre armrest and door trims (originally red leather) also get wrapped in the same material.

Additional details include yellow contrast stitching on the dashboard, centre armrest, and door panels. Besides the bright red floor mats, everything else remains untouched. There was an attempt to upgrade the 360-degree system to higher definition cameras, but that endeavour met with a minor technical glitch.

Lee spent approximately RM4,500 to upgrade the sound system, which includes new FRP speakers, a digital sound processor, and an underseat digital active subwoofer. All four doors have been lined with two layers of sound dampening mats which, aside from improving audio quality, also help create a more solid thud when closing the doors.

So much has already been done thus far, but if you think this is all for aesthetics, well, it goes beyond that. Opening the bonnet reveals an intriguing device called Race Chip GTS (one of their most premium models), which is an aftermarket tuning chip that can be used to improve engine output, alter ignition timing, optimise air-to-fuel ratio, and more.

But for this specific purpose, the chip (piggybacking on the ECU) is used specifically to increase the performance of the 1.5 TGDi mill. Lee’s dyno tests show a gain of 22 PS and 35 Nm of torque at the wheels, which he says help shave almost a second off the century sprint time. A quick spin around the block tells us that the SUV does indeed feel quicker off the line, and especially responsive in Sport mode.

Impressive as it may seem, Lee says further refinements could see output figures go up a tad bit more (likely 6 PS and 10 Nm more). Taking that into account, it’s possible for the 1.5 litre mill to make slightly over 200 PS and close to 300 Nm (at crank) with just the tuning chip alone.

Stopping power is provided by massive 405 mm drilled and ventilated rotors up front. These are taken from the Cadillac CTS-V, a V8-powered super sedan. The discs are clamped by six-piston golden Brembo calipers. Overkill is certainly an understatement at this point.

The rear discs, which currently look decidedly puny when compared to the front rotors, will be replaced with appropriately large 380-mm ventilated discs (with four-pot clampers) taken from the Porsche Cayenne. The factory brake booster pump and brake linings will also be upgraded in the future.

For suspension, all four corners are lowered and fitted with Hi-Lo adjustable coilovers. These are specifically made for the Geely Binyue and are fortunately compatible with the right-hand drive X50. Other fine-tunes include a -2 camber angle for the front wheels – Lee says the factory camber angle is -1 for the front left wheel, and +1 for the front right. As a regular at Sepang track days, Lee tells us the mods are not for show, because he plans to field the Bumblebee once the CMCO period ends.

So there you have it, that’s approximately RM52,000 worth of modifications done to the X50 1.5 TGDi Flagship – exactly half of what the SUV actually costs. But it’s not the end of the line yet!

Future upgrades, if the “budget” allows, Lee says he plans to install forged pistons, suggesting the eventual move to equip a larger turbocharger for higher boost pressures. Otherwise, a full Mitsubishi 4G63 engine swap is on the cards as well.

Other “smaller ticket” upgrades would be a four-piece carbon-ceramic disc brake system plucked from the Audi RS5, as well as Recaro race bucket seats.

Now, what do you think of the Bumblebee? Pretty audacious, no? If you’re planning to do your own X50 mods, keep in mind that these may affect warranty. But hey, as Lee has shown, do what makes you (and your wallet) happy! Start your journey with All In Cross Fifty Accessories Malaysia, here.

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