Unless you've been living under a huge rock on Mars or something, you’ve probably stumbled on countless posts about the most important car of the year; the Proton X50, on your news feed.
That's right; national carmaker Proton has finally unveiled their highly-anticipated SUV
; touting it as the most-connected car in the country.
The B-segment SUV was officially previewed during a special event on Tuesday (15 September), and just moments following the announcement, it unsurprisingly broke the local internet.
The hype was definitely real, as Malaysians started flooding social media with pictures of the gorgeous SUV and immediately started placing bookings.
As you would’ve expect, Malaysians will be getting tonnes of state-of-the-art features and toys in the yet-to-be-priced SUV.
The X50 comes in four variants: Standard, Executive, Premium and a new Flagship designation.
The list of features differ for each variant (you can click here
to check out the full specs sheet), but one thing remains identical; the X50 will be powered by a 1.5-litre turbo inline-three engine mated to the new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
from parent company Geely.
However, there are actually two variants of the 1.5-litre turbocharged inline-three engines. The Standard, Executive and Premium variants will be getting a port-injected version of the engine while the more atas Flagship version will be getting a direct-injected TGDi version.
So, what’s the difference between the two engines? Will you still be able to tailgate a Perodua Myvi using the Standard version of the Proton X50? Read on.
Is there a difference?
Well, the short answer to that question is yes; there’s a bit of difference between the 1.5T engine in the lower variants of the Proton X50 compared to the 1.5TGDi version found in the Flagship.
To understand how different the two engines are, you must first learn how the different methods of injecting fuel functions. This is where it’s all in your head, or more precisely, in the head of the engines.
In a car engine, the fuel you pump into your car every other week is sprayed into the engine by electronic fuel injectors. The only difference between the two engines is where the fuel is sprayed into.
For the 1.5T engine found in the Standard, Executive and Premium variants of the Proton X50, the fuel is sprayed into the intake ports where it mixes with the air and enters the combustion chamber. These injectors are usually located in the air intake manifold leading to each cylinder of the engine (in the case of the Proton X50, there are only three).
For information’s sake, this is a new engine developed by Geely but has yet to even be used an any existing Geely model. Malaysia and the X50 is actually the first market and model to get this new engine globally. Yeay us.
The fuel is mixed with incoming air before being pulled into the cylinder head as the intake valve opens.
The air and fuel mixture will then be compressed and ignited to complete the combustion process of your engine.
The Turbo Gasoline Direct Injection (TGDi) engine, meanwhile, is as the name suggests, an engine where the fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber. This particular engine in the X50 Flagship was co-developed by Geely and Volvo. You’ll find a variant of this direct-injected engine in the Volvo XC40 T3 that isn’t available in Malaysia.
Instead of being located at the air intake manifold, the fuel injectors are located directly above the engine cylinder so fuel is injected right into the chamber.
This eliminates the process of mixing the fuel with incoming air as the fuel is atomised instantly as it enters the hotter chamber, thus ensuring a more efficient combustion process.
Which one is more powerful?
So, after looking at how the engines work, it's no surprise that the TGDi engine is only reserved for the Flagship variant of the Proton X50 as direct-injected engines are more advanced and cost more.
Direct injection improves combustion efficiency, increases fuel economy, lowers emissions and increases power all while requiring less fuel to propel your vehicle.
On top of that, a TGDi engine is usually more powerful than a multi-port engine as the fuel sprayed into the cylinder is more finely atomised, which allows for a nearly instantaneous ignition.
And that's the reason why the Proton X50 Flagship will get 175hp and 255Nm of torque while the remaining variants have an output of 148hp and 226Nm of torque.
However, this doesn't mean that a TGDi engine doesn't have its problems though.
While it uses less fuel compared to a multi-port engine (less fuel = more fuel efficient), this type of engine is more susceptible to carbon buildup in the engine as all the additives for cleaning the intake ports bypass said ports and enters the combustion chamber directly.
In summary, the multi-port fuel injection engine is the old, reliable, true-and-tested heart of the vehicle, while the TGDi provides a little more oomph and savings for your petrol bill but at a higher initial cost.
Now that you know the difference between the 1.5T and 1.5TGDi engines, which variant of the X50 will you be getting?