Maybe I’m wrong here, but three pedals just seems like the wrong move

Listen - I’ll let you have my stick shift when you can pry it from my cold, dead hands. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool performance lover when it comes to my automotive predilections, and as for my personal driving nirvana, nothing beats the right road, the right car, and a row-your-own, snap-it-into-place, drop-a-gear-and-disappear manual transmission. It’s something I’ll probably never outgrow. That said, I think going auto-only with the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 is the right move. Wait, hear me out.

Heathen! Light The Digital Torches!

Anyone Who Actually Buys the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 Won't Want a Clutch Pedal Exterior
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Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to check out the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500’s most important specs, starting with what’s lurking under the hood.

This is where all the magic happens, where more than 700 horsepower is created to motivate this beast of a pony car.

While Ford has yet to give us an exact figure, it’s rumored to be around 720 ponies, plus 650 pound-feet of torque.

Making it all happen is a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8, the same engine you can find in the GT350, just with a big Eaton TVS R2650 supercharger slapped on top.

No here’s the real kicker - the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 doesn’t come with a manual transmission option. Rather, buyers will have to settle for a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic from Tremec.

A travesty, right? Well, not so fast.

A Seven-Speed Automatic Makes A Helluva Lot More Sense

Anyone Who Actually Buys the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 Won't Want a Clutch Pedal Exterior
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Here’s why.

While Ford has yet to divulge specifics on pricing, you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll be more than the GT350, which currently sells for roughly $60,000 in “standard” tune, and a little over $65,000 for the R model.

That means the GT500 ain’t gonna be cheap. No matter how ya slice it, $70,000 to $80,000 for a Mustang is a lot.

And can you guess the demographic that can actually afford an $80,000 toy like the GT500? It sure as hell ain’t gonna be some young college kid, or even a young professional. No, a car like this is very clearly aimed at an older crowd, possibly someone who’s enduring a midlife crisis or is self-conscious about that expanding bald spot.

2020 Ford GT500 brings 700+ Horses and Dual-Clutch To Detroit
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Of course, I mean no offense if you’re staring down the wrong side of 50 or if you’ve got thinning hair. It happens to the best of us.

But it remains a fact of life that expensive, fun, hugely powerful sports cars like the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 are typically the playthings of an older crowd.

And guess what? Older folks don’t buy manuals when they get a new car, generally speaking, of course. It’s just too much of a pain in the ass if you’re getting on in the years. And as fewer and fewer cars come with a clutch pedal going forward, that trend shows no sign of reversing.

There’s another thing, and this one’s for all you bench racers out there - dual-clutch automatics are objectively better for track driving.

The Ford GT500’s seven-speed auto ‘box can swap cogs in just a tenth of a second. Over and over, without hesitation - click the magnesium shift paddle, and bam, there’s another gear. It’ll even adjust the shift modes depending on if you’re road racing, drag racing, or just headed down to pick up Grandma from the airport.

Anyone Who Actually Buys the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 Won't Want a Clutch Pedal Exterior
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Throw in the fact the GT500 comes equipped with a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension, a revised front suspension geometry, high-tech magnetrheological dampers, stiffer springs, chassis bracing made from magnesium, and optional carbon fiber friggin’ wheels… and doesn’t a clutch pedal seem a bit, well, archaic?

What’s more, if you look around, there are actually surprisingly few cars at this power level that offer a manual transmission these days, and those that do are mostly old-school muscle car throwbacks.

A short list there would include the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, and the Camaro ZL1.

And again, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a stick shift. It provides a unique connection to the car that’s missing from even the best of automatics. But that said, the GT500 looks as though it’s taking a step beyond the traditional muscle car philosophy. This thing is more like a domestic supercar dressed up like a pony car. It looks like something that could take the fight to the Europeans in a big way. And in Europe, razor-sharp automatics reign supreme in the performance world.

In fact, nearly all the cutting-edge speed machines overseas rock an automatic transmission. When you’re talking six- or seven-hundred horsepower, you’re dealing with some truly impressive vehicles, such as the Ferrari 488 Pista, the McLaren 720S, and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. All come exclusively with seven-speed automatics.

Anyone Who Actually Buys the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 Won't Want a Clutch Pedal Exterior
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Now, as Ford looks to expand the Mustang’s appeal internationally (it’s available overseas, remember?), going high-tech with the transmission just makes sense.

There’s one final point I want to make here, and it has to do with the folks themselves that are complaining about the lack of a manual option.

If you’re disappointed to learn about the GT500 is going DCT-only, my guess is you’re not really a customer - you’re an enthusiast.

You love anything and everything Ford, you breathe spec sheets, and you consume Internet forum posts and news like your life depends on it. But you’re not actually gonna go out and buy a GT500, are you?

No, if you want a Mustang pushing out more than 700 horses, you’re gonna build it. And guess what - whatever you create will have a manual transmission, no doubt about it.

Listen, I get it. I too lament the inevitable takeover of the dual-clutch automatic and the loss of the tried-and-true clutch pedal. I too think it’s weird that an electric sedan (the Tesla Model S P100D) is the quickest thing on the street these days. But speaking objectively, the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 just makes sense as auto-only.

And oh yeah, and one last thing - Ford might offer the GT500 with a manual sometime in the future anyway, so don’t worry. If there’s enough of you outliers out there, it’ll still happen.

What do you think? Let us know by posting in the comments section below.

Further Reading

2020 Shelby GT500 specifications

Engine 5.2-liter aluminum alloy V-8
Horsepower +700 HP
Quarter mile < 11 seconds
Transmission shifts < 100 milliseconds
0 to 60 mph mid 3.0 seconds

Further Reading

Anyone Who Actually Buys the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 Won't Want a Clutch Pedal Exterior
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2020 Ford GT500 brings 700+ Horses and Dual-Clutch To Detroit

Anyone Who Actually Buys the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 Won't Want a Clutch Pedal Exterior
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Ford Hasn’t Ruled out a Manual Transmission for the 2020 Shelby GT500 Quite Yet

2020 Ford GT500 brings 700+ Horses and Dual-Clutch To Detroit
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Read our full review on the 2020 Ford Shelby GT500

2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review of the 2013-2014 Ford Shelby GT500

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