• Apr 1st 2010 at 5:21PM
  • 11
We love Lotus for many reasons. Yes, the thought of lightweight track heathens with more grip than horsepower sends our hearts all aflutter, but there are other reasons to be smitten with the British brand. Like how occasionally the engineers get bored and decide to turn an otherwise pedestrian vehicle into an all-out rocket. Cars like the Dodge Spirit R/T and Isuzu I-Mark have all gotten a healthy dollop of help from Lotus, and now it looks like the Proton Satria Neo can count itself among those lucky souls.

Under normal circumstances, the Malaysian Neo shares driving DNA with wet cardboard, but the new Neo R3 Lotus Racing Edition looks to cure that ail. Adjustable Ohlins(!) coilovers replace the stock bits, giving the car a little extra grip in the corners, along with some substantial chassis bracing. Lotus also threw in AP Racing(!!) four-pot stoppers up front and a set of lightweight alloys on all four corners. Power from the 1.6-liter four-cylinder gets bumped up to 145 horses, helping to get the reworked Neo to 62 in a little over 9 seconds. Did we mention it has racing stripes over its carbon fiber hood? Yes, really.

If you're wondering how all this madness came about, remember that Proton has owned a majority interest in the British sportscar maker and engineering firm since 1996. We're guessing that the classic Lotus racing colors would've otherwise been off-limits to, say, Perodua.

Priced from 115,000 Malaysian ringgits (about $35,500 USD), the Satria Neo R3 will be limited to just 25 examples in honor of the company's 25th anniversary.

[Source: Proton-Edar]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think it looks cool -
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ugh... the campro engine still. I guess they don't want to make it more than 1.6 because the Malaysian government still charges registration based on engine displacement.

      But c'mon... get to 100hp per liter already...

      The turbo campro at 150bhp and 180 ft·lbf won't be too shabby. But still needs more go.

      I miss the days of Proton Wira's with Frankensteined EVO III and EVO IV parts .

      • 5 Years Ago
      Meh about the car and its orange-lipped rims on a green & yellow paint scheme, I just want those parts!
      • 5 Years Ago
      The 1.6-liter engine was already supposed to have plenty in common with Lotus before this car...Proton clams Lotus developed the engine from the start. Then again most of the U.S. only knows the Sartia Neo from Top Gear:
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Cars like the Dodge Spirit R/T and Isuzu I-Mark"

      don't forget the Lada they did
      • 5 Years Ago
      Malaysia Boleh!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its still slower then a minivan to 60 but who cares that thing would be a sweet little hot-hatch to drive thats for sure! But I guess I'll never no as chances to drive one are somewhere near nill.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lotus cars have never been about 0-60
        • 5 Years Ago
        Americans understandably mistake 0-60 for "performance." The reality is that balance, handling, feel and grip surpass that one measure in making a car fun. Any Lotus driver (or any one who's owned a lightweight sports car) will tell you, less is often more.

        It's my hope that Lotus "tunes" some other cars here in the American market. First, foremost and above all: Fords. With the Lotus Ford Cortina heritage of old, they are perfectly positioned (along with a resurgent Cosworth) to make Fiesta and Focus a serious nameplate in the automotive headspace.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Proton Satrias have been tuned by Lotus for ages..
      • 5 Years Ago
      Was the Isuzu I-mark a good handler?