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Lotus has just unveiled the brand new Lotus Exige S Automatic which as the name suggests, is now available with an automatic transmission for the very first time.

The new six-speed automatic transmission is operated through the forged aluminium paddle shifters mounted at the back of the steering wheel. Upshifts with the gearbox take 240 milliseconds while downshifts are accompanied with an automatic blip of the throttle in Sport mode. Also in Sport mode, the British sports car’s throttle response is sharpened while the Lotus Dynamic Performance Management system increases the traction slip thresholds of the vehicle.

2014 Lotus Exige LF1

The new gearbox also offers a Race mode when specified with the optional Race Pack which limits the Lotus Dynamic Performance Management system even further to create a more raw driving experience. Additionally, Race mode incorporates launch control.

Beyond the transmission, the Lotus Exige S Automatic utilises the same 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine as the manual Exige S. Consequently, it delivers the same 345 hp but can now reach 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds which is 0.1 seconds quicker than a manual Exige S. Zero to 160 km/h is achieved in a little over nine seconds while the top speed for the coupe is 261 km/h and for the Exige S Automatic Roadster, it sits at 233 km/h.

Discussing the addition of an automatic ‘box to the Exige S portfolio, Lotus chief executive Jean-Marc Gales said, “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. 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.”

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“The new Lotus Exige S Automatic gives the pure, extreme, high performance Lotus driving experience with both automatic and paddle shift manual options.

0-60mph in 3.8 seconds (0-100kph in 3.9 seconds) – 0.1 seconds quicker than the manual Exige S
As fast around the Lotus Hethel test track as the manual Exige S
240 milliseconds gearshift speed
Weighs just 1182 kg (unladen)
Significant CO2 reduction from 235g/km (Exige S manual) to 222g/km ( Exige S Automatic)
Available in both coupé and roadster versions

The much-loved Lotus Exige, with its ground-breaking, extruding aluminium and bonded chassis, lightweight composite body and race-bred double wishbone suspension now features an automatic transmission option that continues its uncompromised sporting profile.

With an exceptional power-to-weight ratio of 292 hp/tonne and stunning performance, an even more focused driving experience is made possible by including the 6-speed automatic gearbox option. The automatic control panel is integrated neatly into the centre console of the cockpit, with buttons for Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive with beautifully crafted, forged aluminium, manual-shift paddles located behind the steering wheel cross-spokes, upshifts take just 240 milliseconds, with rapid downshifts accompanied by a throttle-blip (when in Sport mode).

In both automatic and manual gearshift modes, the Exige S provides the driver with a very rapid driving experience. In Sport mode, throttle response is sharpened and the Lotus Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) increases the traction slip thresholds allowing the driver even more vehicle control before an intervention is required. The system also opens the engine exhaust bypass valve at mid-to-high engine speeds. The Optional Race Pack includes Race mode, which reduces the intervention of the DPM further and incorporates a Launch Control system.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO Group Lotus plc, stated: “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. 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.”

Aided by the 345bhp, 3.5-litre, supercharged V6 engine, the Lotus Exige S Automatic reaches 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and 100 km/h in only 3.9 seconds. 100 mph (160 km/h) comes up in just over 9 seconds before reaching a top speed of 162 mph (261 km/h); 145 mph (233 km/h) for the Exige S Roadster. Its CO2 emissions rating of 222g/km is low enough to warrant a tax reduction in some markets compared to the Exige S with the manual.

The automatic transmission is available on both Exige S and Exige S Roadster models. The RRP, excluding tax, is £1,667 (UK) and €2,185. Orders can be placed immediately.

Performance figures:

0-60mph 3.8 s

0-100kph 3.9 s

0-100mph (0-160kph) 9.2 s

Max speed 162mph; 261kph

Power 345bhp; 350PS; 258 kW

Power to Weight 292 hp/tonne (296 PS/tonne; 218 kW/tonne)

Torque 295 lbft; 400 Nm

Kerbweight 1182 kg

Consumption and emissions:

Urban 20.9mpg (13.6 litres / 100km)

Extra Urban 39.2mpg (7.2 litres / 100 km

Combined: (official combined) 29.4mpg (9.6 litres / 100 km)

CO2 222g/km (manual Exige S – 235 g/km) [/showhide]

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