If you do any amount of reading on websites targeted at automotive enthusiasts, you’re likely aware that the answer to absolutely everything is “manual transmission.” Clearly.
Yet alternatives to the “standard”-type gearbox do exist; there are both single- and dual-clutch automated “manuals,” continuously-variable transmissions, and of course, so-called “planetary” automatics. And somehow or another, that last one on the list keeps finding its way into performance cars, including the current-generation Ford Mustang. How pesky.
Here to try out an automatic-equipped Ford Mustang on the turns of Michigan’s Gingerman Raceway is Jack Roush Jr., son of Roush Performance Owner/Operator Jack Roush. What’s more, the younger Roush won’t be driving just any old Ford Mustang; he’ll be driving a Roush Stage 3 example, which cranks up the performance of the V8-powered GT with a 2.3-liter supercharger, adjustable coilover suspension, a few aero bits, and high-performance Cooper RS3 tires.
So, does the planetary automatic transmission – the very thing that some journalists have made a career out of loathing – neuter the performance of the Roush Stage 3 Ford Mustang? Does it rob the driver of what usually amounts to copious, addictive levels of gratification? Watch the video above to find out.