More convenience without the sacrifice.
Lotus cars has always been about a simple, straightforward, and lightweight approach to performance. Their incredible driving dynamics and handling are second-to-none, along with the way that they engage drivers. The new Lotus Exige S Automatic may seem as though it’s straying from the automaker’s principles, but there’s no sacrifice anywhere. In fact, it’s even a bit quicker than its manual-equipped siblings.
“Expanding the Exige range, with a new automatic gearbox, opens up a new market for those who prefer using a paddle shift with the alternative of an automatic gearshift,” said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO Group Lotus plc. “We expect that the Exige S Automatic will account for over a third of the total global sales for the Exige S range as many drivers will appreciate the involvement of a manual paddle-shift and the convenience of an automatic.”
That may seem as though they’re sacrificing the principles of their brand in order to get more sales, and while the sales part might be true, the automatic gearbox doesn’t have any drawbacks other than there’s no shift knob to row through the gears.
The lightweight aluminum and bonded chassis and composite body with race-inspired double-wishbone suspension still remains as light as ever with an unladen weight of just 2,606 lbs. The new six-speed automatic gearbox option includes a pair of forged aluminum manual-shift paddles behind the steering wheel and a set of buttons on the center console to engage Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive. Shifts are quick, taking just 240 milliseconds to complete with downshifts giving a blip of the throttle in Sport mode.
There are also a couple of exciting driving modes that come with the Lotus Exige S Automatic. The standard automatic and manual gearshift modes give the driver a sense of engagement and control that similar cars in the segment fall short of delivering. When the Sport mode is engaged, the throttle gets a bit more responsive, and the Lotus Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) increases the traction slip threshold, pushing back the intervention. The exhaust bypass valve opens up as well in Sport mode as the engine speeds increase for a more exciting note. As an option, the Race Pack with Race mode will push back the intervention level of DPM even further.
Helping to give the Lotus Exige S Automatic that oh-so-special 292 horsepower/ton power-to-weight ratio is the mid-mounted 3.5-liter, supercharged V-6 engine pumping out 345 bhp and 295 lb-ft. of torque. This helps the sports car reach 62 mph in just 3.9 seconds, 0.1 seconds quicker than the manual version. Reaching 100 mph takes only 9.2 seconds, and it is just as fast as the manual Exige S around the Lotus Hethel test track.
The new Lotus Exige S Automatic will be available in both coupe and roadster variants with orders beginning immediately.
Lotus Exige S Automatic Specifications
Displacement: 3.5 liters
Number of Cylinders: V-6
Maximum Horsepower: 350 PS / 345 bhp / 258 kW
Maximum Torque: 295 lb-ft. / 400 Nm
Type: Six-speed automatic
Acceleration 0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds
Acceleration 0-62 mph: 3.9 seconds
Acceleration 0-100 mph: 9.2 seconds
Top Speed: 162 mph (Coupe) / 145 mph (Roadster)
Weight: 1,182 kg / 2,606 lbs.
Power-to-Weight Ratio: 292 hp / tonne