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Steane Klose | Feb 18, 2008

If you thought buying a hot hatch meant you were limited to German and French manufacturers then think again. Malaysia’s Proton will be giving Australia a sneak preview of its next generation hot hatch when it unveils the Proton R3 Satria at the Melbourne International Motor Show on February 29.

The R3 Satria has been developed by Proton's special vehicles and motorsport arm - R3, which stands for Race, Rally, and Research - at its headquarters in Shah Alam in Malaysia.

The team behind the building of the Satria R3 is headed up by former Lotus engineer and prominent Malaysia race driver Tengku Djan Ley. The R3 Satria is more than just a Satria with a body kit, there is serious hot-hatch substance in the form of suspension development and a high performance engine.

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At this stage the R3 Satria is still in development and no on sale date has been decided however the R3 division is working to bring the performance model to market as soon as possible.

Proton are currently shying away from revealing the R3’s engine type and specifications, but has hinted that we can expect a significant power increase over the standard Satria’s Campro 1.6 litre twin cam multi-valve engine.

According to Djan Ley the R3 Satria has been developed as a spiritual successor to the Satria GTi, the first Proton to utilise the expertise and performance credentials of subsidiary company Lotus.

"We have very much focussed on the Lotus philosophy of performance through lightweight, utilising intelligent powerplant solutions while minimising weight and enhancing Satria's already impressive handling," said Djan.

Alongside the R3 Satria at the Melbourne Motor Show media day will be Proton's new four-door Persona sedan, which will also be launched at the show.

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