Lotus Exige to Get Automatic Transmission

Posted by on Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

The Lotus Exige. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The Lotus Exige is getting an automatic transmission.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons


In a surprising announcement, the Lotus Exige will soon be getting an automatic transmission option on top of its traditional manual. Both the Exige S and the Exige S Roadster will soon be sold with a six-speed automatic version, and Lotus is incredibly excited to be rolling out these new models.

Considering the sporty nature of the Lotus group in general, many car lovers have been a little taken aback by this announcement, especially since the perception is that sports cars and serious racers don’t do automatics. Lotus wants to change that perception and open up their line to a whole new group of potential customers, bringing the light and agile Exige to a place where anyone, even people who aren’t lovers of the manual transmission, can enjoy the kind of ride being offered.

What many people have said so far is that they find it difficult to understand how an automatic can really fit with a car that is so dedicated to being present in the moment. Thus far, most drivers have enjoyed the feel of driving that the Exige gives more than anything else, something they believe shifting is an integral part of. The Lotus Group doesn’t feel this will be a factor.

Jean-Marc Gales, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus plc, has this to say about the feel of the Exige Automatic: “By introducing a paddle-shift, we have expanded the Exige product range to make it more accessible to customers worldwide. 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.”

And this shouldn’t have a major effect on performance, either. Right now, the Exige S manual can go from 0 to 100 kilometers in 3.9 seconds. In tests so far, it looks like the Exige S Automatic will be able to accomplish the same feat in 3.8 seconds, beating both the manual and the perception that manuals are naturally faster than automatics.

That is not all, of course. The transmission itself is a real treat, with gear shift characteristics that have been calibrated to reflect dynamic system changes based on what mode the driver wants to travel in: “Race” or “Sport”. Both modes are intense and show a certain aspect of the character of the Exige S in general, but they also have significant differences that will encourage frequently switching them, and justify the flexible transmission options.

The optimized gear selection and response are also highly evident in the new Exige S from what the tests seem to indicate. This new automatic is set up to move quickly and smoothly between gears and adjust to road conditions with ease.

There will be a number of people who consider this a betrayal by Lotus, but they have not abandoned any of their design principles in creating this. Rather, the Exige S Automatic is a great way to open up the excitement of driving a Lotus to a whole new audience.

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A Look at the Eight-Speed Audi S8 Automatic Transmission

Posted by on Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

The Audi S8 transmission is in a class of its own. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

When taking a look at the eight-speed Audi S8 automatic transmission, you will notice that it’s special.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons


For the past several years, Audi has been undergoing major changes in the way that they do things, trying very hard to make sure that they stay at the cutting edge of automotive trends and build a brand around being responsive to the needs of luxury car buyers. That’s part of the reason the Audi A8 is equipped with the ZF 8HP automatic transmission.

Built by ZF Friedrichshafen AG’s subsidiary in Saarbrücken, the 8HP actually had its start in BMWs, specifically the V12 7 Series. It was an immediate hit, and soon ZF Friedrichshafen AG began making their new eight-speed for a number of manufacturers, including Audi. Continue reading…

Rally Racing: an Automatic Transmission Can Give You More Control

Posted by on Monday, November 10th, 2014

An automatic transmission is better for rally racing for a few reasons. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

If you want to control your car during a rally race, make sure to get an automatic.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons


The unstated assumption with a lot of auto enthusiasts is that the control given to the driver of a manual transmission makes it a superior choice for rally racing. The problem is that this is a really simplistic approach to the sport and doesn’t take into account the many advantages of an automatic when you’re engaged in this sort of race. It’s not necessarily the best choice for beginners, but aficionados are finding more and more that the reliability and control of an automatic transmission make them superior for rally racing. Continue reading…

Tips for Driving Your Three-Speed Manual Transmission with Care

Posted by on Friday, October 24th, 2014

Manual transmission shifter (Wiki)

Your three-speed transmission will last a long time if you treat it with care. Image source: Wikimedia Commons


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Racing With A TH400 Transmission In A 1970 SS Chevelle

Posted by on Monday, July 21st, 2014

The Th400 is a heavy duty three-speed automatic transmission designed and built by General Motors. It comes from a family of transmissions that include the THM400, the THM375, the 3L80 and the 3L80HD. The TH400 was first put into production back in 1964 and was last used in President Reagan’s limousine in 1984. This transmission came with a 2.48:1 ratio first gear and a 1:1 ratio final 3rd gear. Although strong, it was not great for gas mileage. The TH400 could be found in many performance vehicles including the El Camino, the Corvette, the Monte Carlo SS, the Trans Am and the Oldsmobile 442. It could also be found in the 1970 Chevelle SS.


The 1970 Chevelle SS came with the TH400 automatic transmission


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Prevent Damage to the 5HP18 Transmission in Your BMW 325i When Racing

Posted by on Friday, July 18th, 2014

The 5HP18 is a five-speed automatic transmission built by the German company ZF Friedrichshafen. It is designed for use with engines mounted in a longitudinal position and rear-wheel drive. It comes from a large family of transmissions that include the 5HP19, the 5HP24, and the 5HP30. This transmission was first used in 1992 and was quickly phased out of production in 1999. It could be found in many popular BMW vehicles, including the E32, the E34, the E36, and the E39. It was also used I the BMW 325i.

The BMW 325i came with the 5HP18 automatic transmission.

The BMW 325i came with the 5HP18 automatic transmission.

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Make Your 1978 Z28 Quicker with Modifications to the TH350 Transmission

Posted by on Thursday, July 17th, 2014

The TH350 is a medium-duty, three-speed automatic transmission designed and produced by General Motors. It was designed to replace the two-speed Powerglide transmission. The TH350 was intended to be used in rear-wheel drive vehicles but was also available for four-wheel drive vehicles when used in conjunction with a transfer case. It was first put into use in a production vehicle in 1969 and remained an option through the end of the 1984 model year. 1980 and newer TH350 transmissions were equipped with a lock-up torque converter. The TH350 was used widely throughout the General Motors lineup and could be found in the likes of the Corvette, the Blazer, the Suburban, the Trans Am, the Cutlass, the Vega, the Nova, and the El Camino. It was also found in the Z28.

The Z28 (Source:

The Z28 came equipped with the TH350 automatic transmission.

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The 4L80E: The Perfect Automatic Transmission for Your High Powered Street Rod

Posted by on Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The 4L80E is a four-speed automatic transmission made by General Motors. It is heavily based on the very strong TH400 three-speed automatic transmission. The 4L80E was the stronger of the two automatic overdrive four-speed transmissions built by General motors over the last 20 years. The other is the 4L60E automatic transmission (based on the TH350 three-speed transmission).

The 4L80E was first put into use back in 1991 and was still in use as recently as 2013. That’s a long lifespan for one modern transmission model! It was mainly used in pickup trucks and big SUV’s, including the GMC Sierra, the Yukon, the Savana van, and the Chevrolet Silverado, the Suburban, and the Tahoe. It was also used in a number of high-end luxury cars, including Bentley and Rolls Royce.

Which transmission is in your street rod?

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Spare Parts You Should Carry With You For Your Race TH400 Transmission

Posted by on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The TH400 is a three speed automatic transmission designed and built by General Motors.  It is the heaviest duty automatic transmission GM build during the 1960’s through the 1980’s. It was eventually succeeded by the four speed automatic overdrive 4L80E transmission.  Originally, the TH400 could be found in heavy duty pickup trucks, large sedans and high-performance vehicles. It was used in the C20 and C30 pickup trucks, the big block equipped Impalas, the Chevy Corvette, the Chevy Camaro, the Pontiac Trans Am, the Cadillac DeVille, the Chevy El Camino and the Chevy Suburban.


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The PDK: Groundbreaking Porsche Transmission Enables Both Automatic and Manual Shifting

Posted by on Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Porsche 997

The beautiful Porsche 997.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Semi or Auto?  The Best of Both Worlds.

The PDK automatic was introduced in 2009 for the 997-series 911, though it’s also available for the 2012 991 Carrera and Carrera S releases. It fits into the general category of semi-automatics, or dual-clutch transmissions. The idea behind this unusual design is to give drivers the option of letting the vehicle’s computers handle the shifting or taking over the task for themselves, all without having to worry about a floor pedal.

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