The Proton M21, aka the Proton Coupe and Proton Putra, is a 2-door coupe that was almost identical to the 1992-1995 Mitsubishi Lancer CC Coupe but with a more powerful Mitsubishi engine. Proton produced and marketed it from 1996-2001 and then entered the market again in 2004 to sell remaining stocks in the factory.
The M21 exterior didn’t change much from the Lancer CC except for a slightly different front bumper and fender, and of course, the Proton badging. The M21 was also fitted with Recaro N-Joy seats together with Momo Daytona 4 steering wheel and gear knob for units marketed up to 2001. Proton replaced these parts with standard equipment on the 2004 re-release.
The M21 did not do well in sales as it competed with more exciting offerings like the Vauxhall Tigra and the Honda Civics. The M21 did become popular in the used market due to its rarity and the fact that the engine bay was big enough to accommodate more powerful engines. A good selection of body kits and other performance modifications were also available as a lot of the Lancer aftermarket parts can fit directly into the M21 without a hitch.
Features and Specs
The Mitsubishi 1.8L 4G93 DOHC powered the M21, pushing up to 99 kW of power and 163 N⋅m of torque through either a 4-speed auto or a 5-speed manual gearbox depending on the regional market. Proton advertised the top speed at 203 km/h with acceleration from 0-100 km/h achieved in 9 seconds. Fuel consumption for combined city/highway was 8.7L/100km.
Although akin to the Lancer Evo high-performance range, the M21 used the front-wheel-drive configuration rather than all-wheel drive. The M21 did boast great handling character and could be one of the best front-drive cars in the affordable market segment during its day. The suspension and steering are firm and responsive, which endears this car to drivers that are looking for a budget performance car.
Safety-wise, the M21 came standard with driver's airbag, ABS, power steering and a few more convenience features. An independent front suspension handled suspension duties with MacPherson struts and coil springs with the rear having independent, trailing arm lower traverse link strut-type coil springs. Ventilated disc brakes performed braking up front and solid rotor disc brakes at the rear.
Owning an M21
It’s a bit rare to see a Proton M21 these days. Owning an affordable sports coupe can be very pricey, and the M21 offers a cheaper alternative. Engine transplants are also possible for this car and wouldn’t be very complicated with the Mitsubishi 4G9 or 4G6 series engines.
Visit us at Carpart.com.au if you need any parts for the M21 or in the market for one. We can also help your search for performance mods, body kits and even an engine swap. If you have any of these items and want to sell it whole or have parts you want to dispose of, hit us up at email@example.com and we can surely help you.