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2020 Shelby GT500 Could Get Manual Gearbox

Transmission / 9 Comments

But only if there is enough customer demand.

Along with the new Toyota Supra, the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 was one of the most anticipated new model debuts at this year's Detroit Auto Show. While the final specs are being kept under wraps, the new GT500 is billed as the most powerful Mustang ever made, with a supercharged 5.2-liter V8 engine that produces over 700 hp. 0-62 mph takes around 3.5 seconds, and Ford claims the new GT500 will do the quarter-mile in less than 11 seconds.

However, purists may not be happy that the new GT500 is only offered with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission capable of ultra-fast shifts for track driving. The GT500's main rivals, the Challenger Hellcat and the Camaro ZL1, on the other hand, both offer a manual stick. Fortunately, this could soon change as Ford is considering offering the new GT500 with a manual transmission in the future.

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"Right now, we're DCT-only, [but] we get feedback, and we're real tight with the Mustang crowd," Carl Widdman, head engineer for Ford Performance, told Road and Track shortly after the GT500's reveal. When asked if this means a manual option will be offered in the future, Widdman said with a grin: "We always listen to what our customers want, right?"

That may not be an explicit confirmation, but the possibility isn't denied, either. If there is enough customer demand, you could be rowing your own gears manually in the new GT500. The GT500's dual-clutch transmission won't be added to the GT350, however, as Widdman said there's no "near-term" plans for this.

But why did Ford not use the standard Mustang's 10-speed automatic? Widdman said the dual-clutch can handle more torque and the shift times are significantly quicker. The GT500's seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is capable of shifts in under 100 milliseconds, which Ford says is "markedly faster than any manual gearbox."

Ford Performance wants the GT500 to be fast on a drag strip and on a track, so a dual-clutch is the best transmission for the job for buyers who want to set quick lap times in the GT500. But at least a manual transmission isn't being ruled out.

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