The ‘S’ in Sports mode

Many cars with automatic gear boxes have an S position. This is commonly referred to as the Sports mode and drivers are told their car would become more well, sporty. In other cars like the Honda it is marketed as a way to help you tow a trailer or to overtake another car quickly.

Sporty probably means to some of you that the car will accelerate faster. That is not true. The top speed or the acceleration of the car is whatever it was in the normal D mode. No laws of physics change by putting the gearbox into S.

What happens actually is that the rpm at which the engine operates is bumped up (usually by 1000 rpm). What this does is:

a) the car delivers greater torque
Movements become jerkier, epecially at lower gears. And since more power is delivered in a short period of time, you feel it is *sporty*.

b) consumes more fuel

If you didn’t use S and instead stuck to D for everything:

a) The top speed at which the car can operate does not change and you can achieve that by continuing to accelerate anyway

b) You can still achieve the jerky acceleration of S mode by just pressing the acceleration pedal harder, more earnestly.

That’s all.