2011 Ford FiestaEnlarge Photo
The new transmission's the joint effort of Ford and Getrag, which also supplies a lot of six-speed automatic transmissions to the world (Ford's former Jaguar XJ held one of the first six-speed automatics from Getrag). The new dual-clutch tranny, a Ford spokesman says, will be installed into the company's B- and C-class cars--likely meaning everything from the 2011 Ford Fiesta, to the 2011 Ford Focus and possibly even the next Ford Fusion, which may share its platform with a new Ford Mondeo.
Like other dual-clutch transmissions--famously from VW and Audi, but Chrysler's also in on the game, at least in Europe, as are Porsche and BMW--Ford's unit will give buyers the shiftability of a manual and most of the fuel economy advantages, coupled with the clutch-pedal-free action of an automatic. Ford's version is a dry-clutch design, and like other dual-clutch units, doesn't need a torque converter. It's estimated the new gearbox weighs 30 pounds less than the current Ford Focus's four-speed slushbox. A hill-holder function is built in every one, Ford adds.
Ford says it's going with six-speed transmissions across the board by 2013, and recently crowed that its 2010 Ford Fusion bested all mid-size sedans in fuel economy, its hybrid beating the Toyota Camry Hybrid.