The Proton X50 packs one of the most advanced engines in its class with a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder turbo engine that’s paired to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT). The powertrain system which is jointly developed by Geely and Volvo has just received China’s most prestigious Automotive Industry Awards for Science and Technology. The award from China’s Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE-China) is said to be regarded as the industry’s Nobel Prize.
The 1.5TD + 7DCT combo was selected from 170 other industry innovations developed by top Chinese universities, science academies and global automotive R&D centres. Geely’s latest powertrain was selected for its breakthrough in 3 major challenges namely developing a highly versatile compact engine, balancing performance with fuel efficiency and increasing utilisation and reliability of hybrid power.
The 3-cylinder engine was jointly developed at Volvo’s R&D centre and China Euro Vehicle Technology (CEVT) in Gothenburg, Sweden as well as Geely Automotive Research Institute in Hangzhou, China. As of 2019, Geely has invested CNY 20.73 billion (about RM13 billion) for R&D projects within the last 10 years.
The engine is being used in more than 600,000 vehicles worldwide. Apart from the Proton X50, the 1.5TD engines are also found on the Geely Coolray, Azkarra, Okavanga, Volvo XC40, all Lynk & Co models and London’s LEVC TXe cabs.
Meanwhile, the 7DCT transmission was developed by Geely based on Volvo’s standards which provides a maximum efficiency of 97.2% and it also boasts 0.2 second shift response time. According to Geely, the transmission will be fitted in over 1 million vehicles by the end of this year.
Geely added that the 1.5TD series was designed to support electrification and it features a modular engine architecture. It is offered in 3 variants including 1.5T Miller option that supports mild-hybrid, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. The 1.5TD and 7DCT powertrain has been exported to 11 countries including the UK, Sweden and Malaysia, and there are plans to export it to 27 countries by 2021.
With the new X50, Proton currently offers 2 engine options. The top of the line flagship gets a 1.5 TGDi direct fuel injection engine that produces 177PS (175hp) and 255Nm of torque. It has a rated 0-100km/h time of 7.9 seconds and fuel consumption of 6.4 litre per 100km.
Meanwhile, the lower 3 spec models get a 1.5T multi port fuel injection engine that pushes a respectable 150PS (148hp) and 226Nm of torque. According to the spec-sheet, it has a rated fuel economy of 6.5 litre per 100km.
To achieve the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) performance of a 4-cylinder engine, Geely has carried out 120 NVH optimisation exercises. This includes the dedicated design of 12 key components such as vibration damping balancer shaft and dual mass flywheel with centrifugal pendulum absorber damper.
The Proton’s new compact SUV is officially priced from RM79,200 for the base model, while the top-of-the-line flagship with the advanced driver assistance system is priced at RM103,300. You can learn more about the X50 variants here.