New Polaris Slingshot will feature an "AutoDrive" transmission
Whether driving aficionados like it or not, automatic transmissions are fast becoming the standard (no pun intended). Polaris is getting on the bandwagon, as the 2020 version of its Slingshot three-wheeler will be offered with what's being called AutoDrive.
Requiring no clutch pedal or stick shift, AutoDrive is described as "a hydraulically-actuated automated manual five-speed synchromesh transmission." While this makes it sound like the vehicle has a semi-automatic transmission – in which drivers still shift between gears but without using a clutch – AutoDrive is actually much simpler.
There's no shifter, nor any paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Instead, the only mechanisms the driver is concerned with are the brake pedal, gas pedal and steering wheel. That said, the driver still feels the Slingshot shifting through the gears, reportedly more so than is the case with a normal automatic.
Along with the AutoDrive system, the 2020 Slingshot will also feature Polaris' first-ever four-cylinder engine, the ProStar 2.0L. It will offer 178 horsepower at 8,500 RPM on the SL model of the vehicle, while putting out 203 peak horsepower at 8,250 RPM on the sportier R model – that's a 30-percent increase in horsepower over the previous powertrain.
On both the AutoDrive and manual transmissions (the latter is an option on the R), drivers can choose between a relatively sedate Comfort driving mode, or a higher-revving Slingshot mode. In either case, a newly-tuned exhaust is designed to ensure that "everyone within ear-shot will take notice."
Full performance specs have yet to be released, although the R can reportedly accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.9 seconds, with both the R and the SL's top speed being limited to 125 mph (201 km/h).
The interior of the 2020 Slingshot has reportedly been completely redesigned, now including accoutrements such as a leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel with multi-function controls and integrated cruise control; adjustable air vents; a padded center console; more storage compartments; and enhanced LED interior lighting.
The existing Ride Command infotainment system has also been upgraded, with a new quad-core processor for faster interaction, plus a brighter 7-inch screen with an improved viewing angle. Optional on the SL but standard on the R is a GPS-based turn-by-turn navigation service, while a 100-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system is standard on both models.
And finally, the new Slingshot will look a bit different from the outside. Changes include updated front accent lighting, LED headlights and tail lights, wheels and wheel options, plus paint and graphic schemes.
The 2020 Slingshot will be shipped to US dealers this Spring – there's currently no word on availability in other markets. Pricing will start at US$26,499 for the AutoDrive-equipped SL (in Red Pearl or Blue Steel finishes), with the R priced at $30,999 for a manual and $32,699 for AutoDrive (in Stealth Black or Miami Blue).