By on October 9, 2018

Image: Ford

Friend of TTAC, Bozi Tatarevic, had some GREAT NEWS about the upcoming Bronco this morning. In a post published by Jalopnik, he detailed what seems to be an airtight theory that the Ford We’ve All Been Waiting For will be available with a seven-speed manual transmission.

“Say what?” you ask, doing a double take and spraying your glass of whiskey all over the keyboard (I had a similar reaction). Yes, boys and girls, it may actually come to pass that the new Bronco will be a close-enough Wrangler competitor.

We know the Bronco might not look like the one shown above. Increasingly, though, that seems to be okay. With rumors like these, most gearheads should be able to live with a slightly crossover-ish Bronco.

From Jalopnik:

According to sources who spoke with Jalopnik, Ford has tapped Getrag to build a manual transmission for the upcoming 2020 Ford Bronco. The new transmission which is to be dubbed the MT-88 will be a seven-speed gearbox and will likely be paired with their 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine.

Excellent! The little EcoBoost V6 is not a bad engine at all, making north of 300 horsepower out of its relatively diminutive displacement. Keep in mind the Fox-bodied Mustang GT your author desired in high school only made 225 horses out of an engine nearly twice that size. Engineers at the Blue Oval already work with Getrag on the six-speed ‘box found in the Mustang, so this is all plausible.

Digging into details as only Bozi knows how, he went on to search LinkedIn profiles for current Getrag employees, finding:

… their engineering division in Germany has been working on a new manual transmission since 2015 that is internally called the 6/7MTI550. The base version of this project is the six-speed manual 6MTI550 which can be upgraded to a seven-speed version called the 7MTI550. This numbering scheme would fall in line with their previous projects as the Ford MT-82 was internally called the 6MTI500 prior to being installed on the Mustang.

See? That’s why we love this guy. He went on to explain that profiles of workers toiling at the Getrag plant in China, where the Mustang stickshift is made, make mentions that could refer to the seven-speed unit, as well.

Naturally, all hands are silent on the matter, giving the standard line that they don’t comment on future product. While the new Bronco might not bear the body of its revered predecessors, all these signs point to something that could bring some much needed competition to Jeep’s Wrangler.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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39 Comments on “Seven-speed Manual for the New Bronco? Could Be...”

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay


  • avatar

    And just like the standard Mustang China Getrag made box, it will suffer from notchy shifts and higher than average failure rates. You wanna talk about something hard to warranty, try a manual transmission. Most dealers will bounce you at the door, and those that will attempt a fix under warranty, threaten to bill you the entire cost if found due to “user error” which can be hard to distinguish from factory defective syncros after enough gold flecks are floating around the box. Moreso with Ford dealers, who make warranties on even simple check engine lights and TSBs a painful denial ridden affair.

    I’d give it 0.125 seconds after this thing hits the market before Tremec comes out with a *real* transmission for this thing that actually shifts properly. If past is any indication, easily a $5-7k mod that anyone serious about performance will undertake at once. Heck they even make a kit for the Taco, to relieve it of its Aisin ~acts as if it has no syncros from new~ box and that thing barely packs any power let alone torque. Turns a $40k truck into a $50k one real quick, and they still have no issues selling them.

    Ideally they would just cut out the middle man, and make an SVT version factory Tremec equipped, for under 60k.

  • avatar

    Good start! Now put it behind the baby powerstroke in the bronco and F150.

  • avatar

    Oh man TTAC is desperate for some original content. What’s next, a weekly digest of articles published by Jack Baruth and Ed N. elsewhere, and maybe a regular feature reviewing Alex Dykes’ and Doug DeMouro’s youtube videos?

    I hereby commence the TTAC Death Watch. Who will disappear first – TTAC or Buick?

  • avatar

    Stop teasing, show us the truck

  • avatar

    Assuming this is a real thing that is happening (BIG if). What is the extra gear for? Is it a close ratio box with more shifting involved? Is it an extra-tall highway cruising gear? Or is it an extra-low granny first?

    My money is on #3. Manual transmissions in 2018 are “halo packages” for enthusiasts so the more flash they can add to the truck, the better.

    • 0 avatar

      My bet is on a close ratio 5sp with OD and Low and for the knob to be marked as such. That is the way the last manual trans for the Superduty was marketed, a close ratio 4sp with low and OD. On the other hand it could be a close ratio 4sp with low and double OD.

    • 0 avatar

      I could see them making 1st a low range gear and dropping the low range transfer case entirely. Use an open center diff and get the computer to fake a locker or offer the lockers as premium options.

      It would be a huge cost saving measure and would ensure that the 4WD was always engaged and Susey soccer mom doesn’t drive their vehicle off the road because they don’t know how to engage the 4WD system in bad weather. (aka: what Jeep offers in the Grand Cherokee) Everybody keeps comparing this to the wrangler but I suspect it’ll really fit a spot in between the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee.

  • avatar

    7 Speed????? Having learned to drive with 3 on the tree and 4 on the floor manual transmissions, you guys have DOUBLED my work on a commute to the job.

  • avatar

    Good on Ford if it is true! However I agree with Gasser that 7 speeds is too much. It stinks of one upsmanship. I spent several decades driving 3 and four speeds and my current 5 speed took some getting used to. The fifth gear is good for extended freeway driving, but any more is overkill. After all, the Bronco is not like a loaded dump truck pulling a loaded trailer where the power-to weight ratio is poor and many gears are required.

    • 0 avatar

      The G56 in the 2500 could use 8, easily. And 2 reverse….. There’s a reason big rigs can have up to 16 ratios.

      In a car, I see your point, but for something with either offroad or towing pretensions, you NEED low crawl/starting gears. And you also need tall overdrive gear(s) for NVH and fuel economy. With that kind of an extreme spread requirement, the steps become awkwardly large unless you have more gears.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Agree with gasser and TR4 – 7 is too many gears to shift manually, and I’d be afraid of missing a gate and doing damage.

    I’ve test driven 8- and 9-speed automatics (Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Jeep Renegade, of all things), and all they did was shift like crazy in the hills of western PA.

    I’m happy with 5 manual, 6 automatic – or 1 EV.

    • 0 avatar

      My ’15 Genesis sedan has an 8-speed auto and those dogs don’t hunt (haw haw haw). Hunting might be possible with multispeed autos but it’s not required if the programming is done right.

      Hyundai may not make the snappiest automatics in the world but they do seem to program them well – back in 2014 I test drove a Fusion whose six speed auto flailed around constantly, but the Sonata I ended up with was almost psychic. I think multispeeds are fine if executed well.

  • avatar

    7 speeds forward plus a 2 speed t-case lets you shift like a big rig guy.
    We’ll be seeing reports of clutch leg carpal tunnel fatigue.

  • avatar

    Just throw in a Mitsubishi twin-stick with a 6 speed and create a nice 12 speed manual!

  • avatar

    COTD from /r/cars: “I will eat an actual sock if they sell the new Bronco with a 7MT as a factory option.”

  • avatar

    My pappy had a 3 speed stick and that’s all you need! Bring back the two speed PowerGlide!

    This is all the info I need to judge it horrible and terrible and nasty. It’ll be slow, it’ll be a poser, it won’t do this, but it won’t do that, and I hate the way it looks (no matter what it looks like).

    Did I get them all? Oh wait, almost forgot,


  • avatar

    While it’s good news for anyone wondering if Ford will actually make an off-road rig and not just another cute ute, it seems extremely pointless.
    The only place where 6+ speeds make sense is in high power cars and towing trucks. With that said many modern manual transmissions have useless ratios. The 2010 2.5l 6 speed Mazda 3 I drove had no use for 6 gears, 4-5-6 were all very close in ratios as far as the car felt, 6th gear in particular was pointless, the engine in that car was screaming when trying to drive 80 on the interstate – so much so it made the whole experience frustrating and agitating. similarly my old 99 frontier 4cyl 5 speed the 4-5 have an okay ratio difference (not enough still) and again it screamed at 80mph.
    On the other hand my SS sedan makes full use of the 6th gear and the car cruises down the road at a very reasonable rpm.

    Yes this is an off-road rig where you want granny ratios – but honestly that’s the purpose of low range on the transfer case. 5 or 6 speed would serve this demographic a lot better unless Ford suddenly has its proverbial balls drop and it puts the V8 this truck deserves under the hood.

    Then again this is a chinesium unit so I don’t expect the take rate or satisfaction rate to be very high.

    • 0 avatar

      We already know that the mid-size Bronco will be a true off-roader, and the baby Bronco the cute ute.

      • 0 avatar

        I didn’t know they had two Broncos coming out?
        Interesting but I don’t know why they need a cute ute Bronco, they have the Escape, ecobopper, Explorer etc for that role.

        • 0 avatar

          The baby Bronco CUV will compete with the Renegade in the “subcompact CUVs with okay off-roadability” segment, which is apparently a large enough niche that Ford thinks they could succeed there too.

          I say good luck. The best thing that could possibly come out of this arrangement is that Ford drops the lamentable EcoSport entirely and just makes the baby Bronco their sole B-segment CUV.

          • 0 avatar

            I think there’s room for both, without any cars to speak of the Ecosport can be Ford’s starter kit and the Bronco would be their capable little off-roader

  • avatar

    How would one set up the gates for the shift knob for 7 gears? A 6 speed has a left, center, and right gate. A seventh gear means a fourth gate, right? It would seem that would make selecting the third gate rather hit or miss. Or is there something I don’t know?

    • 0 avatar

      A 6 speed has 4 gates because you need a reverse. My f250’s shift knob reads as such.

      R 1 3 OD
      L 2 4

      I expect one of the gears in the 7 speed to be a low so it might look like this.

      R 1 3 5
      L 2 4 6

      There is significantly more force needed to get into the R/L gate on my truck and a bit more to make it to OD that back and forth between the 1-4 gates so I haven’t had a missed shift problem.

    • 0 avatar

      Google Porsche’s 7MT. It’s setup as such with 5 gates.

      R 1 3 5 7
      _ 2 4 6

      Porsche said they didn’t feel their customers would want 1st to be under reverse. Personally I’d be happy with L under R like in Scoutdude’s example.

      • 0 avatar

        I thought some if not all of Porsche’s early 5 speeds had the “LeMans” shift pattern of

        R 2 4
        1 3 5

        With the explanation that this was racing based as you would only use 1st for the start or pit stops and that kept the gears you used at speed in the familiar H pattern.

        However when Datsun did their first 5sp for the B210 the used the pattern above and the cars were equipped with a reverse beeper -inside- the car to prevent the driver from mistakenly putting it in reverse when they wanted 1st.

  • avatar

    Thank you Matthew, let’s hope for the best. I’ll have waited 41 years.

  • avatar

    So, uh… is it legal to put a kidney up for bids on Ebay? Asking for a friend…

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