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Just in case you missed out on the “Advanced tour” of Proton’s Research and Development facility at the Alami Proton event last weekend, here are some juicy details of a new prototype powertrain that is said to be well on its way to being produced for local use.

Amidst the R&D tour, in the powertrain development and testing area, we came across this Iriz and Exora prototypes being displayed.

Yes, they’re both familiar models, but as you may have figured out from the headline already, these are both equipped with a 1.3 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed Getrag manual transmission, marking the first Proton turbo-manual pairing since the idea was first suggested by the company, way before the debut of the Iriz, even.

Fortunately, Proton representatives there were able to share some insights about the “demo” models on display here. For one, they’re both fully functional, and have already been through a significant amount of testing. But while they are road-ready, they aren’t finished products ready for sale just yet.

Secondly, we were told that the finished products, those that would be ready for sale, might be launched in our local market sometime within the next two years. Clearly, what we’re looking at here is more a matter of “when,” rather than “if,” it will come to market.

Now, let’s talk power and performance. The prototype Proton powertrain is rated to have an output of 140 hp at 5,750 rpm, and 190 Nm of torque from a low 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. By comparison, that’s 33 hp and 40 Nm more than the current top-shelf Iriz’s naturally-aspirated 1.6 VVT engine, which is capable of 107 hp/150 Nm. A new intercooler is located alongside the radiator, clearly visible through the lower intake.

Naturally, there’s also the promise of the new turbo mill being a lot quicker off the line. With the current 1.6 litre Iriz only managing to perform the century sprint in 11.1 seconds, the prototype Iriz 1.3 turbo here would take just 8.7 seconds to do the deed.

Simple math shows that the 1.3 turbo mill not only gives this Iriz more torque than any of the model’s existing variants in the market today, it also reaches its max torque output (190 Nm) far earlier (1,800 rpm) than the current 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated VVT engine’s 4,000 rpm, and is able to sustain max torque all the way up to 5,000 rpm.

No stranger to turbocharged power itself, there was also an example of the Proton Exora equipped with the same prototype powertrain, displayed alongside the Iriz. Although, it does look like Proton has rushed to get this out the door quickly – check out the gear lever which sticks out of the floor here, instead of out the dash like it normally does.

Currently, the locally-available Exora can be had with or without turbocharged engines – a pick between a naturally-aspirated 125 hp/150 Nm 1,597 cc CPS, and a turbocharged 138 hp/205 Nm 1,561 cc CFE. With the same engine seen in the Iriz prototype, the 1.3 turbo in this Exora is rated for 140 hp at 5,750 rpm, and 190 Nm from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. Its intercooler remains in the same position as it was in the CFE – just behind the air intake on the left of the front bumper.

It’s interesting to see how Proton has developed the lower-displacement 1.3 turbo engine to produce even more horsepower than the current 1.6 CFE, while also getting very close torque figures. And still, don’t forget that the new 1.3 litre turbo arrives at max torque earlier (by 200 rpm) than the 1.6 CFE, and sustains it through to much higher revs (1,800 to 5,000 rpm). The Exora sustains its max torque between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm, while the CFE also wins one back by arriving at its max power (138 hp at 5,000 rpm) 750 rpm sooner than the prototype 1.3 turbo does.

How do you feel about the prospect of a Proton Iriz and Exora with 1.3 turbo power and a six-speed manual transmission?

Proton Iriz 1.3 turbo, six-speed manual prototype


Proton Exora 1.3 turbo, six-speed manual prototype