what does s mean on a gear shift


What Does “S” Mean On a Gear Shift?

If you drive a manual, automatic, or semi-automatic vehicle, you’ve likely noticed the letter “S” printed near the gearstick. But what does that “S” stand for?

S is for Sport Mode

In short, the letter “S” stands for “sport” mode. On a standard automatic or semi-automatic vehicle, putting the car in sport mode typically optimizes it for improved performance and speed.

When you place your vehicle in sport mode, the following advantages typically occur:

  • More power: Engine performance is typically increased when you shift into sport mode, for improved acceleration.
  • Improved handling: Your car will also generally respond more quickly to your acceleration and braking commands, making it easier to take corners and curves.
  • Quicker shifting: Sport mode often promotes speedier shifts, so your car can climb or descend to the right gear quicker than in typical driving mode.
  • Better fuel efficiency: Putting your car into sport mode can also lengthen the amount of time you get in “overdrive”, when your car is running more efficiently and using less fuel.

Knowing When to Engage Sport Mode

So, should you always drive in sport mode? Not necessarily. It all comes down to your preferences and your driving habits.

If you’re planning a leisurely cruise down a long, straight road, then you won’t need to benefit from the acceleration that sport mode provides. However, for racing, mountainous roads, or winding turns, engaging sport mode can make certain elements of driving easier and improve your control over the car.

Remember that sport mode may also be known as “performance”, “dynamic”, or “track” mode, depending on the make of your vehicle. When you’re in need of a bit of extra oomph, try out sport mode and see the difference for yourself!