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The highly anticipated unveiling of the Lotus Exige S Automatic has shattered lofty performance expectations. Constructed with rugged aluminum, the lightweight body continues the Lotus Exige tradition of presenting an unadulterated sporting profile. The race car style wishbone suspension and automatic transmission that includes a paddle shift option combine to boost the performance of the S Automatic to new levels. Weighing just 1182 kilograms, the S automatic moves around the Lotus Hethel test track as fast as the manual Exige S.
Available in both coupe and roadster trim, the Lotus Exige S Automatic produces 292 horsepower and 290 pounds-feet of torque. The S Automatic moves from idle to 60 kilometers per hour in 3.8 seconds, which is 0.1 seconds faster than the acceleration speed achieved by the manual version of the sports car. Manual shift paddles provide for rapid upshifts and downshifts, with upshift rates approaching speeds as low as 240 milliseconds. The top speed of 162 miles per hour places the Lotus Exige S Automatic near the top of its class.
CEO Jean-Marc Gales of Group Lotus says the S Automatic represents the most powerful rendition of the sport car. “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 Gales. “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.”
Lotus has increased the power of the S Automatic, without creating more harmful CO2 emissions. The fuel efficient S Automatic discharges 13 less grams per kilometer than the CO2 discharged by the manual version. Lotus Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) increases traction slip threshold, thus giving drivers more vehicle control. DPM opens the engine exhaust bypass valve at mid-to-high engine speeds. Lotus developed the Optional Race Pack (ORP) to include Race mode, which incorporates Launch Control into the DPM system.
Gales expects the Lotus Exige S Automatic to outpace sales of the manual version. The flexibility that drivers have to alternate between automatic and manual transmission modes separates the S Automatic from the Exige S Manual sports car.