The number of new cars available with a manual transmission gets smaller every year, and even sports sedans like the new BMW 3 Series are getting rid of them for the U.S. market. And while trucks and SUVs have overwhelmingly been equipped with automatics in recent years, we might have a new savior in the form of the upcoming 2020 Ford Bronco.
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.
Ford currently partners with Getrag to produce the MT-82 six-speed manual for the Mustang, so it is possible that this new transmission will feature some similar components or possibly even end up in the next generation of that car.
This new transmission is being planned for the Bronco at this time, but since the vehicle is still under development, plans for it may change as we get closer to its reveal.
Only a few cars currently on the market use seven-speed manual gearboxes, among them the Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette.
Although the take rate may not be high, the move to add a manual transmission makes a lot of sense if Ford is planning to pit the Bronco against the new Jeep Wrangler, which offers a manual transmission in certain configurations that have been praised in early reviews.
LinkedIn profiles for Getrag employees show that 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.
According to a spec page on the Getrag website, the 6/7MTI550 is a six or seven-speed manual transmission that is rated for 405 lb-ft of torque which would match well to the current rating of 400 lb-ft of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine. The spec page also shows a date of 2021 as well as the capability for use in all-wheel drive applications.
Profiles for employees at the Getrag Jiangxi facility in Nanchang, China show that they are working on a project that is coded MT-88, which is not surprising as they contributed to the development of the MT-82 that is currently in the Mustang. The MT-82 is built at that Nanchang facility in China so it is likely that this new MT-88 could be built there as well.
Further searches show that the Dunton Technical Centre in the UK is doing some of the development on the Ford side. According to some profiles for the team members there, they are doing work to improve the torsional level from the MT-82 to the MT-88 as well as working on the clutch and an assumed dual-mass flywheel design. The same team is also working on another mystery manual transmission that is dubbed MT-380 but it is not known at this time what products it might end up in.
We reached out to Magna, which is the parent company of Getrag and they stated that: “Unfortunately, because the new Ford Bronco is a future vehicle program, we are not able to confirm or discuss any potential content we might have.”
We also reached out to Ford and, predictably, were told it does not speculate on future products.
All of the pieces are there, and a plan appears to be in place. Now we just have to wait and see if the manual transmission makes it past the focus groups and bean counters.