Proton has just launched the new Saga and Iriz R3 Limited Edition models, which feature a whole lot of black and yellow. The scheme is fully intentional, as these limited production models are very much an homage to Proton’s successful motorsports division, R3.

But first up, don’t mind my MCO hair, and I’d also like to apologise for not being able to show you the new cars physically. The Proton showroom is in a different district, so I couldn’t go there. Plus, travel should only be for absolute essentials as we are still technically in a full MCO state at present. But hey, new normal right?

On to the cars. The Saga and Iriz R3 Limited Edition models are here to celebrate Proton’s success in motorsports, specifically them winning the Sepang 1,000 km endurance race six times in the last eight races. The numbers 82 and 83 on the stickers seen here are the same race numbers Proton ran in the S1k, just in case you were wondering what those numbers meant.

Anyway, I know what most of you think, that this is just a stock clearing exercise before new versions come out, especially for the Iriz. That, it may well be, but hey, the strategy works. Remember the Proton Saga Anniversary Edition? All 1,100 units were sold in just five days, and last I checked, Proton is in the business to make money, so if it works, why not?

As for prices, the Saga R3 Limited Edition is priced at RM42,300, while the Iriz R3 Limited Edition goes for RM52,900. Both are RM3,000 more expensive than their usual Premium counterparts. This time, the Saga is limited to 2,000 units, while the run for the Iriz is capped at 500 units.

On to the specifics. The Saga R3 Limited Edition is quite similar to the last year’s Saga Anniversary Edition. It’s based on the top-spec Saga 1.3 Premium CVT, now painted in Quartz black, a shade usually reserved for Proton’s government fleet cars. There’s a whole bunch of yellow highlights, which of course is the R3 racing colour. The 15-inch wheels have a matte grey finish too.

New on this latest Limited Edition are the side body stickers, front and rear screen visors, Champion Team stickers, and of course, the customary R3 and Limited Edition badges. It’s still the same Saga that we all know, but if you see one, you’ll know it’s a little bit more special. That’s the point of a limited edition model, right?

Inside, it gets a few unique touches too. There’s a lot of yellow highlights again, plus it now gets leather seat covers and a steering wheel with matching yellow stitching. There are plenty of R3 Limited Edition branding cues to be found, on the dash, front seats and carpets.

Moving on to the Iriz R3 Limited Edition, it follows pretty much the same formula. Based on the Iriz 1.6 Premium CVT, the hatch gets dressed in black for the very first time, with yellow highlights all around. There’s also a new R3 bodykit as well as unique stickers and badges. More interesting are the 16-inch R3 wheels, one inch up from the standard car.

Of course, most of you would have noticed by now that they are indeed the exact same wheels used on the Satria Neo CPS from all of 12 years ago. Me, I’ve never been a fan of these wheels. Not back then, and not now. But, what do you think of them? Let me know in the comments.

Inside, it’s the same again. Lots of yellow bits all around, even on the air-conditioning control knobs and side vents. The centre frame is now in gloss black for extra contrast. Also new are the full leather seat covers, complete with R3 branding of course, plus exclusive carpets with yellow piping.

Unfortunately, that’s where all the additions stop for these R3 Limited Edition models. There are no upgrades to the engines or suspension, so as expected, this is just another bodykit and sticker job. But to be fair to Proton, this is a quick and easy way to drum up sales and publicity, and it’s a proven formula. Ride- and handling-wise, the base cars are already ahead of the competition, so the advantage is already there.

You might argue that this dilutes the R3 brand a little bit, but Proton really hasn’t done anything with it for a long time now, so perhaps this is the first step to something more significant later on.

Interestingly, the company also emphasised at the launch that these cars serve as a reminder that Proton will always be a “full-service” car manufacturer, with the ability to design, develop and build its own cars from a clean sheet of paper. That’s clearly a jab at Perodua there.

Is it fair? I suppose so, but when you’re Perodua and you have open access to Daihatsu and Toyota engines and technologies, I don’t see why they should bother making their own. Plus, Proton is also pretty much rebadging Geely SUVs now, so, yeah. Whatever it is though, we Malaysians are getting better cars at more and more competitive prices, so we shouldn’t complain, really.

Over to you guys then. What do you think of the new Proton Saga and Iriz R3 Limited Edition models? Let us know in the comments section below. Thank you for watching, stay safe, and follow all MCO SOPs, please. We’ll all get through this together. Malaysia Boleh.

GALLERY: 2021 Proton Saga R3 Limited Edition

GALLERY: 2021 Proton Saga R3 Limited Edition official photos

GALLERY: 2021 Proton Iriz R3 Limited Edition

GALLERY: 2021 Proton Iriz R3 Edition official photos