Experiencing the Satria Neo CPS R3 Lotus Racing Edition

Published on April 16th, 2010

We were supposed to get the test drive at Proton’s own circuit somewhere in HICOM, Shah Alam last week. And believe me when I say it was an utter disaster for me right from the morning. My beloved ride went cranky and had to be brought to its doctor. The check up went on until almost 4pm… and I was supposed to already be there at HICOM. Close to 4pm… my ride was ready and I rushed off to HICOM, Shah Alam via only to be pulled over by the cops right after the USJ exit. Regardless of the cops complementing my old ride… he went further and asked for my autograph on the summon sheet.


After a stern warning I was let off and I managed to arrive for the test drive… only to have it postponed as it was raining cats, dogs and a whole lotta other animal that day. Going back to the office I had my left rear window shattered thanks to ’em rascals who went on firing away on road users with marbles for fun at the DUKE highway. It was the most expensive and unsuccessful test drive I’ve ever had it burnt a gaping hole in my wallet for the next two months. The ones who were smiling are ’em so-called ‘doctors’ who nursed my ride back to health.


Not to be disappointed for the second time, we went for the morning session at 10am till noon. After a short briefing by Tengku Djan and other helpful lots at PROTON… we got our hands on the Neo Lotus Racing edition under the watchful eyes of Faidzil Alang as he sits beside us wannabe race-drivers testing the Neo Lotus Racing pretending as if we know our stuffs. Priced at a hefty amount of RM115K, it would be best for those in doubt to take a ride and feel the difference.


Getting into the car, I still have the problem bumping my head despite my height. Once inside, as it already become a habit for me not to use the seat belt… I had to be reminded to put the seat belt on. Entering the ‘ring’ I engaged into first gear and let it rip up to 7500rpm before I shifted up to second… and went through with the shifting at ease. The response was abrupt. It was as if the car can’t wait to be whacked to release its full potential. Going through the gears were way much better compared to the first generation of Neo… and it’s still running on a 1.6ltr Campro engine.


If only the car has more ponies underneath the bonnet rather than just a mere 145hp. Right in the engine bay, a tweaked CPS engine were given an additional flavor with a combination of R3-tuned camshafts, exhaust system and reprogrammable ECU by Siemens mated to a close ratio gearbox. A weight reduction of more than 40kg off the the total weight ensure a slight feel of a lighter car without compromising the rigidity of the chassis.


As for the handling, it was surreal… but then no surprise there as Lotus has always been known for its precision handling. Going through the ‘ring at 140 – 160km/h was quite a strain to the neck thanks to the gravity pull. I have to admit I was a bit hesitant when I first approached the corners but after awhile… the exhilaration surpassed my doubt as there were minimal screeching from the tyres. That and Faidzil Alang giving me the go to accelerate harder.


After three laps of ‘neck exercise’… I went straight to the other course where I tested the AP Racing 4-pot calipers to its grandeur. Braking was superb. There were close to no effort to find grip at all as I slammed on the brakes. The Ohlins suspension can really hold the car and body roll can’t really be felt when going through the slalom test. It was as if I was driving a straight line rather than zig-zagging in third gear. Overall, I would say I was all satisfied with the Neo CPS Lotus Racing despite the lack of ponies. The fast response and power transfer combined with the precision handling and stopping power made it a car worthy of touge battle.


As for the exterior, the Neo CPS Lotus can be found in two choices; in British Green and White with Yellow Strips of Lotus. Bodykits were all tastefully designed FRPs (Fibre Reinforced Plastic) all round and the front fenders were vented with a touch of Lotus Racing logo incorporated to its side signals. Carbon fibre bonnets complete the looks of the Neo CPS Lotus Racing.


As for aesthetics, the interior were all draped in Nappa leather… yup, it’s the very same material used in luxury cars. But then you would not expect anything lesser than that as there were only 25 units were made in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of PROTON. No bucket seats as at the selling price, Neo CPS Lotus Racing is targeted to those of mid 30s to early 40s age group. Up to now, 16 of the Neo CPS Lotus Racing have found its owner. Despite all the bad comments made by Malaysians mostly, I would say that being in the motoring industry for a mere 25 years old… PROTON has done us proud with its achievement regardless of all the flaws throughout their 25 years of age. By the way, I’ve not been forced or paid to say this… as what most of ’em said when others say good things about a PROTON. It’s just my own two cents worth of thought.

text: Hage’  pix: Syafril Ismail


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