2020 Polaris Slingshot gets new engine, adds automatic transmission option

Joe Lorio

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The 2020 Polaris Slingshot has undergone some significant changes as the three-wheeler enters its fifth model year. Polaris claims there's over 70% new content in total, but the big news centers on the powertrain. The previous GM EcoTec 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is replaced with a new 2.0-liter four that is an in-house design, and joining the five-speed manual gearbox is a new automated-manual unit that brings shiftless driving to the Slingshot for the first time.

The new ProStar engine the first four-cylinder by Polaris. Displacing 2.0 liter, it's offered in two strengths. In the 2020 Slingshot SL it makes 173 horsepower at 8,500 rpm (up from the EcoTec's 164 horses) and 120 lb-ft of torque. In the Slingshot R the engine is tuned to deliver 203 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 144 lb-ft. Polaris has not released performance data for the SL but claims the R can reach 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.

Either variant can be paired with the new AutoDrive transmission, which is a five-speed automated manual that works like a full automatic, and it operated via pushbuttons. The AutoDrive gearbox is standard on the SL, while on the R, a traditional manual remains available, and the AutoDrive is an extra-cost option.

More changes are afoot inside. The model adds push-button ignition and passive entry. There's a redesigned center console that has more storage, a new flat-bottom steering wheel, revised lighting and vents. The standard 7-inch Ride Command display also has been redesigned.

The exterior styling is probably the least-changed element of the 2020 Slingshot. The front end is revised and incorporates new LED lighting. The visual tweaks also include new wheel designs. Underneath are revisions to the frame and suspension.

Pricing for the 2020 Slingshot is $26,499 for the SL and $30,999 for the R manual, with the R AutoDrive at $32,699. The 2020 Slingshot goes on sale this spring.

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