Proton has reaffirmed that its just-launched Perdana is set to receive a powertrain update in 2017. Though not mentioned specifically, the chosen mill will be the automaker’s new NE01 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

A sample of the unit was shown alongside the car during the preview drive of the D-segment sedan last month. Output rating for the 1,998 cc is stated as 181 hp (listed as 135 kW in the descriptive literature) at 5,500 rpm and 245 Nm from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. The unit, which tips the scales at 140 kg, is expected to be paired with a new torque converter CVT automatic and will enter service towards the end of 2017.

The published torque figures look on the low side, but this may be tailored specifically for the CVT application. It has been stated that the NE01 can be tuned for higher power and torque output, depending on market requirements.

The NE01 is based on engine technologies that were acquired from Petronas back in 2012. The RM63 million acquisition secured seven engine technologies and 117 technology patents as well as ownership of a family of normally-aspirated engines and turbocharged 2.0 litre engines.

Up to then, the only Petronas-developed engine that was revealed was the normally-aspirated E01e inline-four, 16-valve DOHC engine with variable valve timing, configurable in three displacements (1.8, 2.0 and 2.2 litres).

The original design target for the E01e was 200 PS and 200 Nm of output as well as a 120 kg weight, though final figures when the unit was delivered surpassed the target. Commercially, the engine never made its way into series production Protons, despite an intention to do so.

Proton says it will begin exporting the Perdana in 2018 once the NE01 goes on to the car. “The powertrain change is expected at the end of 2017. So, by that time, we’ll put in a new engine for the Perdana and with that engine, Honda will allow us to export the the Perdana overseas,” Proton CEO Ahmad Fuaad Kenali told reporters at the car’s launch earlier today.

In its present form, two engine choices are available for the Perdana, which is based on the eighth-gen Honda Accord. Both are Honda-supplied units, a R20A3 2.0 litre SOHC with 154 hp at 6,300 rpm and 189 Nm at 4,300 rpm and a K24Z2 2.4 twin-cam i-VTEC, which puts out 178 hp at 6,500 rpm and 222 Nm at 4,300 rpm. Both are paired with a five-speed torque converter auto.