Traditional stick-shift gearboxes may be losing ground quickly to dual-clutch transmissions, but Ford knows what hot hatch enthusiasts want. That’s why it’s sticking with manual transmissions on its RS models for the foreseeable future.
The Blue Oval automaker caught our attention yesterday when it revealed the new Focus RS, packing an upgraded version of the turbo four from the Mustang, a trick new all-wheel-drive system and an old-school six-speed manual. After speaking to Ford’s product chief Raj Nair at the hot hatch’s launch, Autocar reports that the six-speed is here to stay.
All our current research says that customers really like these kinds of cars to have a manual gearbox, Nair told the British publication.We’ll keep looking at market trends, and of course we’ll give customers what they want, but for now the manual stays.
Autocar further suggests that the same principle will apply to any further Rallye Sport models, so if and when a Fiesta RS rolls around, it’s likely it will stick with a stick as well.
Although the less potent Focus ST is offered in diesel and wagon forms overseas, wherever it’s sold and in whatever form, the six-speed stays a constant in that model as well, just as it does in the smaller Fiesta ST. That doesn’t mean that other Ford Performance models won’t go without a clutch pedal, though. The new GT employs a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and the new F-150 Raptor channels its muscle through a ten-speed automatic. But as far as Ford’s hot hatches go, it looks like the manual will remain alive and well.
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