Lotus Exige S Gets Automatic Transmission

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The Exige may not be on sale here anymore but overseas the car continues to be updated, with Lotus announcing that for 2015 the range-topping Exige S variant will be available with a paddle-shifted automatic transmission. This should help the wide-body Exige appeal to a much wider audience, which we hope—for Lotus’ sake—leads to more sales.

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The transmission is a six-speed automatic similar to the unit offered in the Evora but with specific calibrations for the Exige S, which is pitched as a sportier option than Lotus’ 2+2 model. Specifically, the gear-shift characteristics have been calibrated to reflect the sportier characteristics of the Exige S when the driver selects the car’s Sport or Race modes. These modes see the transmission use optimized shift points and provide a quicker response.

The automatic will be offered on both the Exige S coupe and Exige S Roadster, and will be available in markets where the Exige S is sold from January next year. Lotus is in the final stages of testing automatic-equipped Exige S prototypes.

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Power in the Exige S comes from the same supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 fitted to the Evora S, with its output remaining capped at 345 horsepower. Initial testing has shown that the car will hit 62 mph from rest in just 3.9 seconds with the automatic, which is 0.1 of a second quicker than the manual-equipped model.

“By introducing a paddle-shift, we have expanded the Exige product range to make it more accessible to customers worldwide,” Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales said at this week’s announcement. “Now, customers who are more accustomed to two pedals and automatic transmissions can enjoy the unbelievable performance and handling of the Exige S without compromise.

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