Lotus has revealed a new automaticversion of its super quick Exige S in a bid to widen the sports car’s appeal.
Due in UK showrooms from January, the new variant sees the coupe’s existing 258kW 3.5 litre supercharged V6 mated to a paddle-shifted six-speed auto.
The transmission is a tweaked version of the torque convertor-based unit found in the auto Evora IPS, sourced from Toyota.
The new shifter will be available in both hard-top and roadster form.
"By introducing a paddle-shifted automatic, we have expanded the Exige product range to make it more accessible to customers worldwide,” Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales said.
"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."
Lotus says that while the intent of the new option is to make the Exige S more accessible, trackfiends might also be drawn to its 3.9 second 0-100km/h time, which is a tight 0.1 seconds quicker than the manual’s claimed sprint.
An Australian debut for the auto Exige S is still to be confirmed, but, speaking with TMR today, Lotus Australia boss Glen Sealey said that a late 2015 launch could be on the cards.
“Generally, people who buy these cars really want the full experience, they really enjoy that experience,” Mr Sealey said.
“There's no doubt that there's value in the auto, because there's a lot of people out there now that haven't ever driven a manual, but here I see it giving an incremental increase current numbers.”
“If it gets to 50 percent, we’d be pleased with that,” he added.
In its current manual-only form, the Exige S starts in Australia at $126,990 plus on-road costs.