By on January 15, 2019

Count me among the dismayed that Ford’s new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 is only available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

I speculated that Ford made that choice because no human can shift gears faster than the DCT, and because Ford maybe couldn’t find a manual that can handle the estimated torque of the GT500, which is sure to be a high number.

Turns out, I was right.

Motor Authority reports that Ford doesn’t have an in-house manual that can handle the ‘Stang’s power, and it won’t turn to a supplier because of the quick shifts offered up by the DCT. Development costs of a manual that could handle the torque also played a part.

That doesn’t mean a manual will never be available. According to Road & Track, Ford is willing to saddle those development costs if consumer demand is there. Also — the DCT probably won’t migrate to the GT350.

So, #savethemanuals types, Ford will bring a clutch pedal to the GT500 if you vote with your wallet. If you want to use your left foot while driving your 700-plus horsepower Mustang, you know how to make your voice heard.

[Image: Ford]

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58 Comments on “Don’t Panic About the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Being Automatic Only...”


  • avatar

    So in order to convince Ford to build a row-your-own GT500 I have to shell out money for the auto version…. and then cry about it?

    I’m voting with my wallet by NOT purchasing one. Which sadly will have just as much influence on Ford brass.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Where did he say you need to buy the DCT one?

      “Vote with your wallet” would seem to mean telling your dealer you wont buy one until it has 3 pedals.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Voting with your wallet doesn’t work unless practically nobody buys one.

        I’d never buy any Mustang that doesn’t have a clutch pedal, but Ford doesn’t know that song by me not buying a new GT500. Therefore, the “vote with you wallet” concept is silly. And complaining to a dealership is just as silly.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    This is a maximum performance car. The dual clutch is the maximum performance transmission. If you’re not worried about performance why would want this car anyway?

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Beating the stopwatch or street racing (other automatics) can’t be the sole reasons for owning/driving such a car.

      40 to 80 mph supercharged V8, slam you deep into the seat blasts is plenty satisfying, and you may rarely get a chance to do more, not at the track. And possibly without shifting once (depending on Final Drive).

      But I don’t know why I bother.. If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        When I was a kid, I used to do some horsing around on the street. Fortunately for all of us, cars weren’t that fast back then and I didn’t hurt anyone. Once I started racing, I stopped doing that sort of stuff on the street because compared to what you do on the racetrack it’s too wimpy to be worth doing.

        I’m not sure what the point of a car like this unless you’re planning to take it to the drag strip, the extra power isn’t useful on the street, it’s probably not useful during a track day either. If you are going to indulge in the occasional roll on, hopefully on some lonely road where you won’t endanger/annoy the general public or attract police, I’d be really surprised if anyone’s internal G meter would be able to tell the difference between this car and the GT350, where you can get your manual transmission.

        Again, this is the maximum performance car and it’s getting the maximum performance transmission. Putting a manual transmission in it would be like putting on a nice set of all weather tires because it makes it easier to do burnouts. Hey, that might be another use for this car, you could drift with it.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          “…I’m not sure what the point of a car like this…hopefully on some lonely road where you won’t endanger/annoy the general public…”

          So there’s no middle ground? Midrange? It’s ballz to the wall or nothing at all? Am I talking to a teenager? Or an old phart?

          It’s all similar to the reason for a 1,000+ watt stereo system in your car. I only use approx 500 watts out of a 1,000, max, but it sounds way better than a 500 watt system this way, turned up all the way, given the same (set of high end) speakers.

          But is a 500hp/500tq (older) GT500 OK, or also not OK, and a bad idea for the street too? Either way, what’s an extra 200/200 (or 200/150)?

          It’s what happens in the midrange punch that’s important to me. Not smoky burnouts or 190 MPH. The more power, the better the midrange pull. But dollars to donuts you still don’t understand.

          Still an ’87 Mustang GT in the wrong hands (even an automatic) can be just as dangerous and harmful to the general public.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            Old phart/ex-club racer/current track rat.

            Last spring while I was out for a run, someone in a late model Corvette turned onto the road I was running alongside and opened it up as much as was possible. It made a lot of noise that was out of character for the neighborhood, and I’d guess he got the pedal two thirds the way to the floor. Now I appreciate that sort of music, but most people don’t. What sprung into my head was that the driver of that ‘vette must be frustrated, here he has 400 hp or so but can’t use more than about 250, and there probably isn’t anywhere within 30 miles of here where he can.

            I don’t see the point of having power you can’t use. I understand why you’d want some headroom in your sound system, distortion is lower when you’re not using a high percentage of available power, but a car’s not like that, power doesn’t distort, and having more than you can ever use doesn’t get you anything. If you really want instant torque, you can’t beat a Tesla.

            For me, the fun of driving is when I can use all of the car’s capabilities, at least to the level of my ability, so, no I don’t understand why guys want power they can never use. Maybe it’s psychic satisfaction.

            The most powerful car I’ve driven was an Audi R8 V10 and the fastest, in terms of lap time, was a Porsche 911 GT3, both at Atlanta Motorsports Park. Both of those cars were equipped with dual clutch transmissions and with my limited experience on that track and with those cars, I was very glad they were so equipped. As fast as they go through the gears it was a big help.

            Now a question for you: Are you planning on buying one of these 700+ hp cars, whether it be a Mustang, Challenger, or ?

            One last thing: I have no problem with 700 hp cars on the street, as long as they have accelerator pedals and not on-off switches :) I’m just saying for this powerful of a car the dual clutch is the way to go. I did drive manual transmission cars for 40 years, but something better has come along.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Then you should understand as much as anyone. Using just 250 hp of a 400 hp Corvette on the street, keeping it safe but spirited, is much sweeter than running a 250 hp Corvette (1983?) all-out, wrung out.

            It may be frustrating for some (in Corvettes, sports cars, muscle and whatnot), not being able to open it up, wring it out, but would you rather never drive it (except to the track)? Take your wife’s CUV instead? I thought you were different!

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            My situation is always changing, but right now I’m not in the market for this kind of “investment”, but on the secondary market, probably. Except if there’s never a manual option, then no. I’m sure they have to eventually.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            Given the choice between driving this Mustang and not being able to use all it has and my wife’s Explorer, I’d surely take the Mustang. But I wouldn’t buy this car at all, that’s more power than I can put to use. If I were going to buy a Mustang, it would be an Ecoboost with the performance package and a manual transmission, because that would be a fun track car and a decent daily driver. Most of the tracks that host track days don’t have long straights and the turbo four is enough.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “What sprung into my head was that the driver of that ‘vette must be frustrated, here he has 400 hp or so but can’t use more than about 250”

            “Maybe it’s psychic satisfaction.”

            Sort of. I was much more ‘frustrated’ driving around my Lucerne & Diplomat and feeling like a hapless plastic bag blowing around in the breeze compared to driving something with sizeable power reserves and above average dynamic ability.

            Granted my ‘powerful’ cars have had 320hp – 370hp, not 700+. Still, I’ve never been in a situation where I’d turn down more horsepower.

          • 0 avatar
            CarnotCycle

            I’ve got an M5 with aftermarket ESS induction and Eisenmann stainless to the tips. I’ve never dyno’ed the beasty, but its in this ballpark. Its also a 6-speed manual.

            And its a complete hoot to drive. The utility of all the go reveals utself through use. Diesel brodozer tries to roll coal on what he thinks is yet another 535? Nope. STI JDM fanboy tries cutoff on the on ramp? Boom, gone. Tesla Model S guy giving up trying the same thing? Priceless.

            Zero burnouts. No 100mph+ stupidity. But all the go with manual control is from time to time genuinely useful.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            At some point even you have enough midrange pull. I’m certain that level of adequacy will be reached well before 700 peak HP/TQ, with a lower environmental impact and potential for road danger. You are the one who doesn’t understand stuff like balance, self control and the value of knowing when enough is enough. Cars like this are only good for dong waving and runway racing.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      “This is a maximum performance car. The dual clutch is the maximum performance transmission. If you’re not worried about performance why would want this car anyway?”

      Because sometimes maximum performance is NOT maximum driving pleasure/engagement.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      The responses here make me die a little inside.

      There is really no point to any car beyond an subaru impreza unless you have multiple kids. Really, most countries can pretty much decisively prove there’s no need for anything beyond a 125cc scooter with a handmade luggage rack.

      Sometimes it’s not about what the ‘point’ of a car is. Getting an eco-boost mustang doesn’t mean you increased the “point” of your car due to it having less hp. It’s just a less powerful car with no point. As soon as you start talking about 2 door RWD cars that you would consider, you lose all your right to some sort of HP-based moral relativism based on the “point” of a car.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “if you vote with your wallet.”

    The most likely scenario if people en masse don’t buy the GT500 isn’t a manual transmission, it’s Ford just killing the program off.

    And then we’ll all get scolded for “not buying enough new enthusiast cars”.

    • 0 avatar
      NG5

      Last time I voted with my wallet for a manual transmission Ford Performance product they killed importing the next generation in favor of importing the Ecosport. My guess is that no matter what we do, we’ll be scolded.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Which product was that? The STs and RS have manuals. The only recent “performance” Fords I know of that were automatic only would be Fusion Sport and Taurus SHO. Dont see how the Echosport could be considered a replacement for those.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Dont see how the Echosport could be considered a replacement for those.”

          I think you just made his point for him.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            The Echosport fills the bottom of the lineup, not the midsize or fullsize.

            And his point was some recent Ford performance model that was imported and automatic-only. Which one was that?

          • 0 avatar
            NG5

            Yeah, I was just saying that just me individually buying one of the manual-only specials new (Fiesta ST in my case) didn’t protect that model stateside, so I’m skeptical that I’m having much of an effect here.

            Here’s a different way of looking at it. Is Ford dissatisfied with the GT350’s sales? Dealers in my area were marking them up long after the model came out, and that’s manual transmission only. Did Ford look at these sales and conclude that too many buyers were walking out on GT350 sales because it didn’t have an automatic? Why wouldn’t we consider that model’s performance as indicative of interest or demand in manual-transmission vehicles? I am still interested in the GT350, and they might keep me in-brand if I can pull together enough money and madness to actually get one before they go away.

            I’m not a manual-transmission zealot, but it is something that makes the big American V8 cars still stand out to me against the remaining V8s, and one of the defining features that makes me still think of getting one someday. Like Alja, I just am skeptical that me not buying something is just going to serve as an excuse for them to cut a niche product.

            EDIT: to respond more specifically to the thinking on an automatic-only Ford Performance product, I’m just saying that even an actual purchase of the manual-only one didn’t spare it from being replaced by a dull mini-SUV in my case, so I don’t know how much emailing a dealer and begging is going to do.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            Wow Johnny. You’d thing between your tantrums when people say anything bu lt praise for Ford you’d research and have the knowledge to answer your question.

            The obvious answer is the Fiesta ST.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            @NG5 Ahh, I understand what you meant now. I apologize for misunderstanding you.

            In regards to the GT350 and 500, I would have to agree with Kyree that the 350 is the drivers car (thus, manual only), and the 500 is simply a numbers car, numbers best achieved with the DCT.

            I dont think it has anything to do with offering 350 customers an automatic alternative. They didnt have to ramp up power to 700+ to do that. If that were an issue, we’d see the DCT becoming optional in the 350, but I dont see that happening.

        • 0 avatar
          NG5

          Unfortunately I can’t seem to reply to your comment copied below:

          @NG5 Ahh, I understand what you meant now. I apologize for misunderstanding you.

          In regards to the GT350 and 500, I would have to agree with Kyree that the 350 is the drivers car (thus, manual only), and the 500 is simply a numbers car, numbers best achieved with the DCT.

          I dont think it has anything to do with offering 350 customers an automatic alternative. They didnt have to ramp up power to 700+ to do that. If that were an issue, we’d see the DCT becoming optional in the 350, but I dont see that happening.

          No worries, misunderstandings happen. Yeah my frustrations with this news declined immensely when I heard they would still continue to make the GT350 once this was released. I do ache for the day when articles will no longer blame me when manufacturers don’t sell the vehicles people want, which is the main reason for the frustration in my comment.

          I certainly can’t be frustrated with Ford on this point in particular when most companies are beginning to not sell manuals AT ALL in any trims. I am frustrated that they won’t bring over an already-designed, newer version of a product I love, but that’s a slightly different complaint than the question of producing a manual GT500.

          I hope they produce the GT350 for a while longer! And that I get a better paying job, haha.

          • 0 avatar
            PwrdbyM

            “Dealers in my area were marking them up long after the model came out, and that’s manual transmission only. Did Ford look at these sales and conclude that too many buyers were walking out on GT350 sales because it didn’t have an automatic?”

            I would contend that buyers walked out on the GT350 because of the dealers mark-ups, which in my opinion, the high demand phenomenon is artificially created and only serves to reduce overall sales.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        This. I made the same purchase just in time to see how cool the new one is. Cool, I leased so in 2 years I could get the new model. Thanks for nothing.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I feel like it won’t come to fruition, anyway. You already have the Mustang Shelby GT350, which is a purer sports car that’s more about the synergy between man and machine. That one is and shall remain MT-only. The Mustang Shelby GT500 is more about outright performance numbers, especially on the drag strip, and a DCT with launch control is the best way to achieve that.

    • 0 avatar
      NG5

      I can see this argument but why play coy about it? Porsche does this with their top track specials and enthusiasts seem to accept it at this point. The only thing I can see this doing is putting off people who MIGHT buy it as they might wait to see if there ever was a manual version.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Well, my above comment isn’t to say that they’ve already made their decision. I just think that Ford will make an earnest effort to research its viability over the next years…but that the conclusion of said research will be that a MT isn’t justified.

        • 0 avatar
          NG5

          Yeah the technological question is interesting. The Hellcat Challenger, Camaro ZL1, and Corvette ZR1 offer a manual, but I don’t know if it’s the same model transmission. If the power figures come out way above those, then I will be a lot more forgiving that it might not be doable without an insane amount of R&D. I expect manuals are about over with unfortunately, but if they could plug in an existing transmission from the same supplier I wish they would.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            All of those vehicles, and pretty much every high powered American branded vehicle of the last 10 years or so use the same manual transmission, the Tremec TR-6060. There are different calibrations for each manufacturer, but the bones of the transmission remain the same.

            As I stated in response to yesterday’s article, I am deeply skeptical that there is any technical limitation preventing Ford from offering the 6-speed in the GT500, it is purely a performance/cost/marketing decision.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I agree.

          • 0 avatar
            NG5

            Unfortunately I can’t reply to jack4x’s helpful comment for some reason. I appreciate it and I agree.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Recommended reading: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2015-porsche-911-gt3-capsule-track-test/

  • avatar
    TR4

    Simple: put one of these bad boys in:

    https://www.eaton.com/us/en-us/catalog/transmissions/8ll-manual-transmission.html

    10 speeds, 1650 lb-ft of torque. Might have to beef up the rear end and driveshaft though…

  • avatar
    JMII

    And another one bites the dust. I call BS on not finding a unit that can the power, they clearly just don’t want to do. And I don’t think yelling at your Ford dealer is going to change anything.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      Ford is both lazy and probably incapable of designing a transmission that would work.

      Hopefully this DCT works out better than their last.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        I really doubt any carmaker would build a unique transmission for a car with such low production numbers.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          Well the DCT in the GT500 is a Tremec unit (and it appears completely new and not just an automated TR6070)

          Ford just had to work with Tremec and spec it out and provide input. Tremec did the heavy lifting here.

          Here is a link to thier passenger products. The 7 speed DCT is rated for 516 or 664 pound feet of torque in a 5,291 pound vehicle – even at the GT500’s aledged curb weight of 4200 pounds there is plenty of safety margin in there for abuse.

          tp://www.tremec.com/menu/passenger-vehicle-transmissions/

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            And here is Tremec’s press release

            tp://www.tremec.com/noticias_detalle/2020-shelby-mustang-gt500-with-tremec-dct/

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      If you prioritize driving over dong waving at all, you were probably going to buy the GT350 anyway, even if this came with a 3rd pedal. The only places cars like this, the ZL1 and the Hellcat make sense are

      – Road America
      – Runways
      – Cars & Coffee (TC ON PLEASE)

      I’d be way more impressed with a street legal V8 Mustang coming in under 3,000lbs.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m personally just sad that the GT500 isn’t a lazy power-monster with a (optional) torque converter automatic.

  • avatar
    TR4

    Ford maybe couldn’t find a manual that can handle the estimated torque of the GT500

    Funny, that’s the same excuse Chevrolet had for the ’53 Corvette.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I’m getting tired of reading everyone’s complaints about the issue (not the B&B of course, I love reading your complaints). If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Buy the car with the manual instead. I feel like half the people voicing their opinion about the matter would never purchase a new GT500 anyway.

    Yeah, I’m complaining about everyone’s complaints. My V8/manual DD was totaled over the summer. My new car has an 8spd AT. Frankly, if I ever get another manual it’s going to be a classic for weekend use only.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    This is why anyone with a brain buys the 8-Speed version of the Hellcat.

    That “slushbox” can shift in 0.16 of a second. But it’s nice that Chrysler offers a manual too. Of course Ford won’t offer one but they’ve never really been customer focused.

  • avatar
    Shawnski

    No panic, only glee as in its about time we see a domestic HiPo car with a DCT! Having the pleasure of a PDK base ‘13 Boxster is easily the better all around transmission of power vs my GT350 M6.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I wonder how many of those here who complain about a manual not being available have driven a performance car with a dual clutch. The way a good one snaps off upshifts is intoxicating.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    That picture looks like a still of the first track day with these monsters – with anesthesiologists and corporate lawyers at the the wheels.

  • avatar
    roadscholar

    700+ hp for the street? If manufacturers were honest they’d name it the Compensator GT.

  • avatar
    GrayOne

    At the high end DCTs get better performance than a human shifting a transmission.

    At the low end CVTs get better gas mileage.

    20 years from now most cars will be electric with no transmission at all and possibly driving themselves.

  • avatar
    carguy67

    My new Bullitt Mustang has rev-matching downshifts and, dammit, I like it. Is this a gateway drug to DCTs?

  • avatar
    tab62

    I personally own a 2017 GT350 and will be staying with it. I love this car and not interested in the GT500.

  • avatar
    tab62

    If truly care only about performance than get this car lol!

    https://www.tesla.com/roadster?redirect=no


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