Proton Satria GTI: best Proton ever? – Yahoo News Malaysia

11 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Proton Satria GTI: best Proton ever? – Yahoo News Malaysia
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The Satria GTI is one of the better offerings to come from Proton as it was a fast and nimble hot hatch, but is it the best car ever made by our national car maker?

The question of ‘the best ever’ is always a subjective one. What one person considers as the best may not be so for another person. But when it comes down to Proton, you will have quite a few ‘aye’s’ if you bring up the topic of the Satria GTI as the best Proton ever.

Now lets not get too riled up about it. The best ever in this context means the best handling, the sportiest, the most desirable, and the most fun to drive. In fact, there’s no Proton old or new that comes close to the original GTI.

And the fact that Proton never bothered to produce a successor just adds to its mystical status.

The GTI is basically a Satria on mild but highly effective steroids. The interior was similar to the standard model but was distinguished by the bucket seats, colour code, aluminium gear knob and pedals, and the most important thing, it was the first ever Proton to come with an airbag, albeit on the drivers side only.

At the heart of it all is a 1.8-litre naturally-aspirated engine that produced 138bhp and 164Nm of torque. That is not much by todays standards, but back then, it was special.

The fact that the car weighed just 1,115kg made it a highly capable pocket rocket. It required you to rev the engine to the sky and the fact that it was poorly insulated made it all seem very race-car like.

But get the engine going and carry the momentum into corners and you will be rewarded with an engaging drive. The Lotus-tuned handling provided superior stability in corners with minimal body roll. And despite being a front-wheel-drive car, it would only understeer when all hope is lost and traction is literally non-existent.

The rear however always felt planted and never threatened to snap lose.

Proton Satria

The Satria GTI offered a good balance of power and handling It was quite a perfect package, fun when you want it to be, and perfectly docile at any other time. It was never trashy and you could cruise on the highway all day long, it was that capable.

The fact that Proton never created a successor to it is a sad fact. The Satria Neo R3 version was a decent attempt, but it never came close to being as perfect as the GTI was, partly due to a lazy Campro engine, and questionable build quality.

Proton did however create a more hardcore version of the GTI, and it was put together by the go-faster division within the company itself, R3. Headed by all-conquering Tengku Djan Ley, the Satria GTI R3 was the stripped down, go-faster, brake later, lighter, more agile version of the GTI. Only 150 were built and all were snapped up within days.

Today both the GTI and GTI R3 are hailed as the best that ever came out of Proton. So rare are these cars that they are now also a favourite among car thieves, making it one of the most stolen, and desirable, cars in the country.

Whether or not Proton will ever create a car like the GTI is not known, but judging from the current state of things at the national car maker, it will be a while before we see a worthy successor.

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