Why The 2016 Ford Focus RS Doesn’t Have A DCT

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If there’s one mechanical commonality between the Ford Focus RS, Focus ST, Fiesta ST, and Shelby GT350/R, it is this: they are each available exclusively with a manual transmission. While some might assume that has everything to do with the fun factor, the truth is just a bit more complicated.

According to Australia’s CarAdvice, other compelling arguments against a dual-clutch transmission were made during the 2016 Ford Focus RS’ development, pertaining to such attributes as cost, understeer, and responsiveness. Ford Performance Chief Engineer Tyrone Johnson told the website: “We looked at automatic transmissions also and dual-clutch transmissions… but one of the things [the Ford Focus RS] has to be also is still affordable, it has to be a car that people could afford and a DCT does cost a lot of money and that does factor in to it.”

But more importantly than the cost, said Mr. Johnson, was the effect on performance. He explained: “One of the reasons the whole car is laid out the way it is, is because we wanted to minimize understeer and the dual clutch transmission is weight on the front axle and weight there means more understeer and plus DCTs are… relatively slow to react and we didn’t want that either.”

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That said, plenty of persuasive arguments in favor of a dual-clutch transmission especially could be made. Ultimately, more than anything else, the debate for or against an automated gearbox comes down to the business case. In other words, would enough new customers be pulled toward the 2016 Ford Focus RS thanks to the DCT so as to offset any additional cost?

That sounds like a question for the internet.

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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