2021 GT500: Manual Trans Option?

IceAge

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Epiphany

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The car that gave me the most joy and pride when shifting ( clutch less because straight gears) was my 1991 Roush T/A Mustang with a Hewland narrow gears
The pleasure and pride was directly proportional to the the difficulty of the task
I think many glossed over this one. From the vintage mentioned...

Monterey-Spotlight-35-copy-1200x800.jpg


Monterey-Spotlight-18-copy1-1200x800.jpg


Monterey-Spotlight-20-copy1-1200x800.jpg


Monterey-Spotlight-36-copy-1200x800.jpg


Doesn't get much more badass than that. Major kudos, I couldn't be more jealous.


I would like to hear our resident expert's opinion of the mechanical attributes of the DCT. @Epiphany did a few very good articles on the DCT from inception to implementation. I am without a doubt happy that Ford decided to go the DCT route. It makes the GT500 a very special car at this price point.
While an expert at nothing (but I revel at understanding mechanical failures) I will gladly share my perspective.

When I was still in my teens it was toploaders and rock crushers (etc) that ruled the day if a manual was your thing. Four speeds were as far as it went (aside from euro/japanese cars which aren't part of the context of this discussion) and you were looking at heavy iron castings with external shifter mechanisms along with stiff clutches. Ford automatics were C4/C6 and great for cruising or consistency at the drag strip. GM had some very robust TH350/400's and Chrysler their 727/904. They all took up a lot of space, were heavy as shit, and were limited to 3 speeds.

The mid to late seventies sucked all the way to the mid eighties as we simply didn't have the technology or desire to advance much. When Fox bodies and F-bodies took off, everyone was funneled towards the Borg Warner T5, a lightweight 5 speed overdrive that was really designed for small displacement engines with limited torque.

Tremec jumped into the fray with a TR3550 transmission that was a beefy improvement over the T5. It was the OEM transmission in one car only, the 1995 Cobra R model. I have one in a Fox body now and love it.

Tremec took the ball and ran with it while the OEM's refined their automatics and post Y2k we've been very lucky to ever have recovered from the utter garbage from the smog era. I'd say the TR6060 was the pinnacle that may not be eclipsed (again, for pony cars) while ICE powered cars fade away. Great torque capacity but notchy and not designed for smooth, high(er) rpm shifts. Ford/Tremec addressed that with the TR3160 at the expense of torque capacity.

All of which brings us to now, a discussion that pits the TR3160 with a new to the genre, DCT, and the joy each may bring.

I loved bang shifting the TR3160 (MGW equipped no less) in a GT350 at the track. Given the history, it is absolutely next level in comparison to the best we had seen prior. It is a perfect match for the high revving FPC 5.2, far better than a TR6060 would have been. Jamal did a great job leading the team on this one and should be commended.

The Tremec DCT - seriously...... what? This caught everyone off guard. A few at Ford pushed hard for it as they knew the potential and that if it didn't happen now it would likely never become a reality (the fact that the Corvette was going to use one absolutely helped bolster the argument for it and from what I understand there were some dead set against it at Ford). Tremec had made some slick moves which included a major mechatronics corporate acquisition and the ability to develop it in Belgium along with testing here in the US. This was a big f***ing deal for performance fans whether they recognized it or not.

So here we are with a rather opinionated and highly subjective thread discussion that accomplishes little more than division amongst a rank that should be more unified and mature about it. My father once told me that life was all about choices and left it at that. Having tried every flavor Ford offered in my lifetime, I've learned to be appreciative and constructive about it. I'm riding the DCT wave at the moment and hanging ten all the way - with a giant smile. Having tracked it and spent time driving across the country, I am uber impressed with the calibration in each and every mode in what is undoubtedly the most complex and robust transmission Ford and Tremec have offered us to date.

I have not forgotten the past or where I came from. I am thankful for the opportunity to have thoroughly enjoyed every Ford performance variant I could. If I had limited my choice because I was unwilling to embrace "a lame-ass automatic" I would have missed a golden opportunity.

TL/DR if you must but recognize how far we've come and be thankful for the option to choose. It won't be like this for much longer.
 

Jmeo

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I think many glossed over this one. From the vintage mentioned...

Monterey-Spotlight-35-copy-1200x800.jpg


Monterey-Spotlight-18-copy1-1200x800.jpg


Monterey-Spotlight-20-copy1-1200x800.jpg


Monterey-Spotlight-36-copy-1200x800.jpg


Doesn't get much more badass than that. Major kudos, I couldn't be more jealous.




While an expert at nothing (but I revel at understanding mechanical failures) I will gladly share my perspective.

When I was still in my teens it was toploaders and rock crushers (etc) that ruled the day if a manual was your thing. Four speeds were as far as it went (aside from euro/japanese cars which aren't part of the context of this discussion) and you were looking at heavy iron castings with external shifter mechanisms along with stiff clutches. Ford automatics were C4/C6 and great for cruising or consistency at the drag strip. GM had some very robust TH350/400's and Chrysler their 727/904. They all took up a lot of space, were heavy as shit, and were limited to 3 speeds.

The mid to late seventies sucked all the way to the mid eighties as we simply didn't have the technology or desire to advance much. When Fox bodies and F-bodies took off, everyone was funneled towards the Borg Warner T5, a lightweight 5 speed overdrive that was really designed for small displacement engines with limited torque.

Tremec jumped into the fray with a TR3550 transmission that was a beefy improvement over the T5. It was the OEM transmission in one car only, the 1995 Cobra R model. I have one in a Fox body now and love it.

Tremec took the ball and ran with it while the OEM's refined their automatics and post Y2k we've been very lucky to ever have recovered from the utter garbage from the smog era. I'd say the TR6060 was the pinnacle that may not be eclipsed (again, for pony cars) while ICE powered cars fade away. Great torque capacity but notchy and not designed for smooth, high(er) rpm shifts. Ford/Tremec addressed that with the TR3160 at the expense of torque capacity.

All of which brings us to now, a discussion that pits the TR3160 with a new to the genre, DCT, and the joy each may bring.

I loved bang shifting the TR3160 (MGW equipped no less) in a GT350 at the track. Given the history, it is absolutely next level in comparison to the best we had seen prior. It is a perfect match for the high revving FPC 5.2, far better than a TR6060 would have been. Jamal did a great job leading the team on this one and should be commended.

The Tremec DCT - seriously...... what? This caught everyone off guard. A few at Ford pushed hard for it as they knew the potential and that if it didn't happen now it would likely never become a reality (the fact that the Corvette was going to use one absolutely helped bolster the argument for it and from what I understand there were some dead set against it at Ford). Tremec had made some slick moves which included a major mechatronics corporate acquisition and the ability to develop it in Belgium along with testing here in the US. This was a big f***ing deal for performance fans whether they recognized it or not.

So here we are with a rather opinionated and highly subjective thread discussion that accomplishes little more than division amongst a rank that should be more unified and mature about it. My father once told me that life was all about choices and left it at that. Having tried every flavor Ford offered in my lifetime, I've learned to be appreciative and constructive about it. I'm riding the DCT wave at the moment and hanging ten all the way - with a giant smile. Having tracked it and spent time driving across the country, I am uber impressed with the calibration in each and every mode in what is undoubtedly the most complex and robust transmission Ford and Tremec have offered us to date.

I have not forgotten the past or where I came from. I am thankful for the opportunity to have thoroughly enjoyed every Ford performance variant I could. If I had limited my choice because I was unwilling to embrace "a lame-ass automatic" I would have missed a golden opportunity.

TL/DR if you must but recognize how far we've come and be thankful for the option to choose. It won't be like this for much longer.
Well said Tob. Although not as in depth as you, I have been a mustang enthusiast since I was 15 years old and purchased my first, a 1667 coupe with an automatic no less. For the 34 years I have owned almost every incarnation of it, including the mustang II (admittedly I loved that thing).

Being an enthusiast, I enjoyed each car for what they were, and what transmission they came with. My old brain counts just shy of 20 mustangs in my life. Many of them were quite beat, and purchased with a teenagers McDonald’s budget (hence the mustang II), and if I recall, only 5 of the 20 were automatics.

We all know transmission choice is 100% subjective. What we do know is performance is not subjective, it’s proven with testing and results. I can be honest and say (Up until the DCT in the 2020 GT500) that I preferred to drive a manual. Then came forced induction via a Whipple. For me, the automatic was my transmission of choice once supercharged.

I started the Whipple life in my 2005 GT 6 speed, which netted me 450 wrhp, and I loved this setup. Next was my 2015 GT 6 speed, which netted me 750 rwhp. I loved this setup too, but I quickly discovered this much hp was too much for the driveline to handle on a regular basis, and it made driving the car very challenging. There is no way you can squeeze out the engine performance at this level through the sub-par driveline and chassis, even with supporting upgrades.

At this point Whipple was taking over my life (and bank account), and before I knew it I was driving a 600 rwhp 2015 6 speed automatic F150. I instantly fell in love with a forced induction automatic. Next thing I knew I stripped the 2015 GT, and traded it in for a 2017 6 speed automatic. Once done supercharging this car I was up to 816 rwhp. This car was insane. I can say, I missed having a manual after a while, but there was no way I would have been able to squeeze as much of the performance out in the manual, as I was doing in the automatic. It wasn’t even close.

Enter the 2020 GT500. Having the experience of just my last three mentioned mustangs (and F150), I knew I had to have this car. I speak from my personal experience here when I say the DCT in this car is the soul behind the scenes that make this the greatest mustang to ever roll out of the factory. Combined with the MASSIVE amount of engineering that went into the tuning, monitoring, cooling, braking, suspension and handling, this car can not be compared with any other variation of mustang.

I drive my car on the street, and I have driven one at the Track Attack, and I am convinced that this car exceeds all mustangs during BOTH street driving, and track driving. So, it’s not just about peak track use performance, it’s about being able to squeeze the most performance possible, at an given time, on any street or track....period.

This all said, I am man enough to admit that a part of me does miss rowing gears. But, and I mean but, I would NOT want a manual in THIS car. This car would not be the engineering and performance masterpiece that it clearly is without the DCT in its DNA. Not even in the slightest.

Now, the only mistake that I feel Ford made was using the rotary shift dial. I get where they were coming from. They wanted to tie the greatness of the DCT into this car to reference their top performance vehicle, the GT. That, and I think they wanted to differentiate this a little more from and automatic, so they went different. I would have preferred an updated, GT500 specific, center console shifter along with the steering wheel the paddles.

As I mentioned, the manual/auto topic is subjective, but it really shouldn’t be on this car. If you want to manually shift a mustang, and are ok with not experiencing the most performance on the track OR street that you can get, buy a GT350 or GT350R. If you want top of the line performance 100% of the time on the street or track, and can get over yourself, buy the GT500. I’ll finish my point off by saying, if you have not personally driven a 2020 GT500, stop comparing it to ANY mustang based on articles, reviews, or Neanderthal “manual or bust” mentality.

2005 Manual Whippled GT

DF7666BF-D2DE-4167-B76C-6136DA8F4719.jpeg


2015 Manual Whippled GT

95AAC5FC-E4B6-4906-BF29-C0D3E317123E.jpeg


2015 Automatic Whippled F150

44453B78-7FFB-4821-8417-9610E853678F.jpeg


2017 Automatic Whippled GT

135DB3CF-15C8-43D1-B6D7-53F26A9720D2.jpeg


2020 Shelby GT500

98C862F5-CD01-41D1-AEDE-1A15C3DE74FA.jpeg
 
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Epiphany

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Very well said.

I loved my Whippled '09 GT500 and feel the same way as you about it versus having a similar driveline in the '20. The DCT is a better match for the silly power this car comes with.
 

Epiphany

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Luc....that had to be an absolute blast to drive.
 

luc

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Luc....that had to be an absolute blast to drive.
Yes it was. Almost scary fast. My previous race cars before that were vintage Mustangs and Formula V so it was a huge step up at all levels
Took me a long time to get use to the aero and the quick steering ( 3/4 turn lock to lock)
You could go through a turn at 80 and the car was all over the place, but at 120 it was like glue
To get used to how the car would react when getting out of shape, I started driving it with very old and hard slicks to get the feeling at a much lower speed
Both front and rear sway bars were adjustable from inside the cockpit when driving
Heat inside the car could be insane, tube frame car, engine solidly mounted and both exhaust snaking in between the rear of the heads and the firewall
Below is a picture of my 69 race car. Dry sump all aluminum engine, 351 stroked to 428.
Power steering box on manual for a quicker ratio... it’s why it’s called a muscle car.... lol
9B354EB8-6E49-4B4D-A328-83247120B261.jpeg
 
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Epiphany

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3/4 turn, lock to lock is insane.

Just curious Luc, do you know Doug with the old red NSX (Pulp Racing)?
 

Strokerswild

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These threads….

As a prospective future buyer of one of these monsters, I have to admit that the DCT was/is a huge elephant in the room from my perspective. However, my initial concerns revolved mostly around its durability, but I’m not seeing much despair on the interwebs outside some assembly plant hiccups. That’s a good thing.

Beyond that, I’m a staunch 3-pedal guy and all my Mustangs (and most of my other fun cars) have been manuals and I'm a skeptic. But one of those, my ’07 GT500, was modded to a mere ~620-625 HP and was essentially useless on street tires, unless you count drifting and terrorizing helpless passengers. An electronically-reined DCT would have been the ticket for that car, I think. Ah, technology.

Throw my sometimes on, sometimes off clutch knee (thanks to clipping a deer on one of my bikes back in ’09) into the mix, and that DCT looks better all the time. By this time next year I hope the planets align and I place an (ADM-free) order on a '22. In the meantime, I would love to get a ride in one to seal the deal and see what the DCT is all about.
 

Jmeo

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These threads….

As a prospective future buyer of one of these monsters, I have to admit that the DCT was/is a huge elephant in the room from my perspective. However, my initial concerns revolved mostly around its durability, but I’m not seeing much despair on the interwebs outside some assembly plant hiccups. That’s a good thing.

Beyond that, I’m a staunch 3-pedal guy and all my Mustangs (and most of my other fun cars) have been manuals and I'm a skeptic. But one of those, my ’07 GT500, was modded to a mere ~620-625 HP and was essentially useless on street tires, unless you count drifting and terrorizing helpless passengers. An electronically-reined DCT would have been the ticket for that car, I think. Ah, technology.

Throw my sometimes on, sometimes off clutch knee (thanks to clipping a deer on one of my bikes back in ’09) into the mix, and that DCT looks better all the time. By this time next year I hope the planets align and I place an (ADM-free) order on a '22. In the meantime, I would love to get a ride in one to seal the deal and see what the DCT is all about.
Come on out to Massachusetts and you can drive me around in mine. Well, maybe in August 21 when she comes back.....z
 

kilobravo

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Heck Dave, even SOUTHERN Minnesota has to be pretty ugly right about now, come on down to South Texas for a vacation. I know a guy who has one... :-)
 

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