The Limited Edition M24 Satria R3 : First Impressions

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My Satria R3. It’s here. Finally. After more than a month’s wait. Was it worth the wait?

Here it is guys. Collected my car with much butterflies in the stomach and excitement a 3-year old would demonstrate when given an ice-cream. Really cannot explain how a car can have such an effect on the full grown men. But then again, many at ZTH would probably react the same way 🙂 Faisal, of R3 Marketing, was there to ensure everything went to plan (that’s customer service for ya, folks!) and of course my SA – Affandy was present to assist me with checking before official handing-over. No major issues except that the carbon fibre spoiler has been temporarily replaced with a PU GTi version. Faisal explained that there was a quality issue and a new, better vendor has been assigned to develop the replacements. An official letter from R3 was issued to inform buyers of the situation. A replacement would be available sometime in January. And oh, nice R3 cap Faisal, thanks!

First impressions? It’s quite preliminary, since I’ve only deflowered it for 100km. Actually I don’t think I’ve officially deflowered it yet. Here goes nothing:

Exterior
I am pretty neutral about the styling. I like its subtlety. And it actually looks better in the flesh. This car has presence. No doubt about that. The Advanti rims, wrapped in Yoko rubber look the business, and I really do not mind the red + white decal too. The R3 badges are nice, and I’ll be sure to guard them with my life, since they are rare and according to Faisal expensive to make because of its short run. I have minor qualms about the fitting of the spoiler, and one of the R3 strips on the side. Other than that, top job.

Interior
I love the Recaro SR4 seats. Snuggly and tight. However, one complain would be that I think it sits too high. Especially for a 6ft 2-incher like me. It would have been super if it was just a tad lower. The MOMO Tuner steering is nice although I do miss my MOMO Race somewhat. I also like the carbon fibre knob. Not quite MOMO Air Leather, but nice feel. The R3 carpets are nice, and the red door and seat trimmings are ok. Pretty neutral on that. I just wished the dashboard panels were carbon fibre, even faux carbon fibre would do. But that isn’t really a complaint, just a thought.

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The fittings are pretty tight, no squeaks or rattles although I did notice a slight rattle on my right speaker when the bass pumps (which is not much, from the Clarion head unit). The dreaded usually useless coin box is still flimsy. You would think that after 20 years in the business, Proton would get that right, but no they didn’t. It did fit snuggly back in place after some coercion though. I suggest removing the damn thing from the dashboard mould altogether. Nobody uses it anyway.

One thing I dislike are the pedals. Yes, they are GTi ones. But they are awfully small. And they feel light and aluminium-ish. Also, no thanks to my size 11 feet! One of my first mods would be to replace them with Sparco Carbons. I also think the clutch pedal rides too high. Way higher than my 1.8 Persona and a Putra I recently tested. I’ll get the SC to adjust the pedal-height on my 1,000km service, if that’s even possible. Just feels plain wierd. And thanks to the overly high clutch, an embarrassing incident entailed at the lights at Bangsar Shopping Complex. Engine stalled as I released the clutch. Hmm. Not good. Haha.

The cabin is surprisingly quiet, despite the fact that some sound dampening have been removed.

One thing left out I feel is the V-Kool tinting on the SGTi. The exclusion means forking out even more money – for slightly more comfort and security. Drats. A thumbs down here.

Performance
I’m running it in gently, despite claims by a certain Motoman, so no revving above 3,000rpm. At least not until I hit the 1,000km mark. Despite that fact, low-end torque is good. I can feel the poke as low as 2,000rpm. The short-throw gearbox is nice, although still quite ‘stiff’ I must say. Will know when it’s properly run-in. But you know what? The SR3 just begs to be driven fast. I have to remind myself constantly to keep the revs down. Temptation, tempation, temptation. Grr.

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The handling? Spot on! If there’s one thing the R3 engineers got right, its the suspension. Supple yet firm, the ride is superb and it really exudes confidence at corners. I prefer something stiffer personally, however, no complaints about ride or handling. This car is sorted. Really. Steering feel is good – very point-and-steer. I have yet to properly test the brakes, as I’d like to run them in gently, at least for another week or so. One quirk is that my brakes are squeaking – both the front ones. It has demonstrated some rather impressive Mariah Carey-shaming high-pitched squeals, even at low speeds. Must get this rectified.

The exhaust has a bassy note at idle and it isn’t overly vocal when revved. Then again, the opportunity to really put the car through its paces will not surface till later, hence I cannot comment on the aural personality of the SR3 at present.

Summary – The Good
It’s a day old. I’ve driven it for 100kms. I love it. It’s an addictive car, I have to stress. I’m still getting to know it, still stroking it gently, embracing it. I love the engine bay, the anodised metal bits, the personalised serial number on the cam cover. Good stuff. I love the handling and the ride. I love the SR4 and how they hold me in place. I like the subtle styling and the Incognito Black.

Summary – The Bad
Seats sit too high. Pedals too tiny and flimsy almost. Clutch pedal too high. Coin box still cheap and flimsy. Slight rattle on right speaker. Squeaky, squealing front brakes. No V-Kool tinting.

Well, that’s it. A first-hand account of the M24 R3 LEV in action – virginal yet hot. More reports will come as the run-in period progresses. In the meantime, LET’S DRIVE!

Oh, btw – check the cat-bypass pipe 🙂 Naughty!

About The Author

Designer. Serial Entrepreneur. Blogger. Writer. Webhead. Tech geek. Twitter-addict. Mac advocate. Animal lover. Steve Jobs groupie. Footballer. Plays for KutipFC. Petrolhead. BMW fan. Alfisti. Chelsea FC.

  • Anonymous

    Comments from unintelligent lifeforms not allowed. Be banished from this earth.

  • <![CDATA[Anonymous]]>

    FUCK YOU ALL

  • <![CDATA[Anonymous]]>

    Dear Vernon,

    Its great you got the car. I am looking forward to more posts from you about this Car since in real life we won’t see many on the roads. I for one have not even seen one in a show room, mind you, I hardly look into a Proton showroom these days. Find it one of the lousiest places to be at. No one bothers about you, the sales people all seem engrossed talking to someone on the mobile phone or to their colleagues. As a customer, we have to go and make the first approach which sadly shows over confidence by the sales guys that Proton can continue to make crap and sell to the general public. Man, I can’t wait for the day Malaysia has to abide by AFTA. What a wonderful that that will be.

    Lets get back to your R3. Any shots of the double stitch welding on the car so I can confirm that?

    Nice that everyone from proton was there to hand your car out although I do question the Carbon Fiber roof spoiler issue. Why would anyone advertise such an item at pre-launch if it was not up to scratch in the first place? That’s not right. Then again, the marketing team at Proton have always been one to be a little over aggressive with the truth. Like the SGTi having 7.8sec for 0-100kph. LOL. I dare anyone from Proton to take a new SGTi from any dealer and go try and get that figure. Show me the numbers!

    When you gave the car a check over with Affandy, lets for argument sake you found the paint quality or a small prang on the side of the car courtesy Proton quality, could you at that moment REJECT the car and get your money back in total… sales purchase act??? That’s just a question to all reading this and the lawyers among us. I sure as hell like to know what rights we have as buyers of a new car. Is there any local law for buying of goods where by we can reject if the item found (car in this case) to have defects be it minor or major.

    I would rather not take the car and come back to PESC to get it dealt with which would be the normal case I am sure.

    You wrote, “The R3 badges are nice, and I’ll be sure to guard them with my life, since they are rare and according to Faisal expensive to make because of its short run…”. Anyone know how much there cost at Proton parts? I would love to know. I recall when the GTi came out they were ‘exclusive’ can costly, thus many low life’s took a large screw driver to the back of our beloved SGTis Giving us a big headache at the end of the day… plus the side mouldings would disappear only to be seen stuck on a standard 6 year old 1.3 satria that was ready for the junk yard. Better not to have on the car then have it on, I say.

    Personally since Proton want to make this R3 exclusive with 150 units, they should give these badges replaced for FREE if the owner has proof of ownership. They do that for BMW Mcars. The M badge go missing at times and all I had to do was go to any dealer, quote my Chasis number, show proof I owned the car and hey, I would get a brand new shinny badge. That’s call service with a passion for their ‘special’ cars. Proton, you up to the challenge? Nah, that will be the day. Just charge an arm and a leg for those badges ok.

    MOMO steering are great but I would not give up my airbag for anything. Especially, since I drive frequently on the Ayer Hitam- Batu Pahat stretch. That’s one dangerous road I tell you. Please, anyone on using this road, please take care. There are many zero IQ drivers on it. Hey, isn’t there a law that states all new cars sold must have a drivers airbag? Hmm maybe not. I think that’s the law of some other country that emphasizes on safety.

    Right, so I was right then. Proton would not bother with the usual complaints that all Satira owners have had. Same old coinbox or sunglasses box complaint. Hehe.. welcome to the twilight zone. You’ve just bought a proton. Do you really think the quality department will push to make any changes on their suppliers? They are in it to make a killing in profits while the going is good. Anyway, there is a good idea by a local guy who fitted a magnet to it. His site for pics also on how to do it. Guess we are the better engineers then the proton guys.

    Speaker rattle is normal. Give you about 2 years before they crack and are gone for good. Blast them as much as you want now. Then replace the OEM ones to better ones. Cost saving tip, go buy used OEM units from say Toyota or Honda which have been thrown away by their owners as they were upgrading. Those speakers will last a life time. ?

    As for the pedals, try removing your shoes and slowly place your feet at the back of the pedals. At this time, a WARNING!!!. They are fucking sharp. Be careful not to cut yourself doing this. If I am using slippers, I prefer to drive barefoot cause I have better control. I tend to rest my left foot on the side and one day cut myself while pulling my leg back. Man how did that ever pass any safety test? Then again, I can hear some people say, what safety test.

    Your clutch pedal is too high? Well, let me know how you get on at SC. I was told its automatic adjustment and nothing can be done about. Maybe I got the usual excuse. Please do a post on that. Thanks.

    Brakes squeaking? Pads? What pads are they using on the R3. I know the discs are from DBA. I forget now what pads they bought off the shelf?

    Overall, nice pictures of the car. More please when you have time. Show us the grooves of those yoko tyres. And some interior shots too. What about a shot of that ekjos? The engine cover does look good.

    I know you will enjoy the car. We guys are lucky that you do cause we will get lots of nice postings from you on it. Hey, my Gtech is available to you when ever you are ready to put the car through its paces and see if it can live up to the times given by Proton.

    One last thing. I am not sure what it means to have big feet. I do recall someone telling me once that if a man is short, with small feet, it means he has a big … how shall I put it… BIG DICK!. We should ask the more experienced ladies among us if this is true or falls. Since I am not one to go check out if al this is true, I will leave it to the ladies.

    So what does Big Feet mean? I would love to learn new things. Cheers.

    Regards
    ERIC

  • Anonymous

    dun lemme catch u overtaking me kapchai on federa with ur gempal machinel!!! remember to slow down for folks to appreaciate it… hehe

  • Anonymous

    Of course you can! All of you can! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I oso wanna ride… next macfest kie…

  • Anonymous

    Wowzers. Do I get a free ride?

  • Hmm… let’s do some quick comparisons:

    Vernon is 6’2″ while Senor BerukBoy is 6’3″ (ok, ok, I’m just 6’2.5″, ya scumbag. Yeesh).

    Vernon wears size 11 shoes while Senor BerukBoy wears size 12.

    Vernon has a brand new car while Senor BerukBoy takes the LRT everywhere.

    Conclusion:

    Vernon is way cooler than Senor BerukBoy. But you know what they say about men with big feet… (so Zuli thinks Vernon is very the leng chai eh? We’ll see about that, grr).

    What do you check first, Mr. AnderChan? Your blog comments or your email addie?

    > One life has a future, Mr. AnderChan. I suggest you choose wisely.