New manual transmission option

Ford Mustang could get clutch-less manual gearbox

In 2018, Ford filed a patent for a new manual transmission that does not require a driver-operated clutch.

Ford

Yes, you read that headline correctly. Ford filed a patent for a clutch-less manual gearbox a few years ago, but it wasn't published until late last year. Muscle Cars & Trucks uncovered the filing earlier this month, and the possibilities from such a component are exciting to think about.

Ford MustangThe Mustang is currently available with a traditional manual transmission. Ford

As MC&T points out, the patent includes language that describes how the transmission will do its job. A control module designed to automatically actuate the clutch allows drivers to shift gears without using their left leg or a clutch pedal. The driver simply moves the shift knob in the direction of the gear they want and a sensor inside the knob communicates with the module that a gear change is imminent. The clutch is disengaged and remains so until the shift is complete, at which point the system reengages the clutch.

The interesting thing here is that, while Ford's patent means that vehicles don't need a clutch pedal, the automaker may still include them. Instead of the pedal being directly attached to the clutch master-cylinder, it would connect to the control module, like modern throttles and brakes are not always directly connected to the components they control. Approaching the shift this way (no pun intended), Ford could appease purists while offering a novel way to interact with a car for folks that aren't keen on three-pedal driving.

Ford MustangSome Mustang Models came exclusively with three pedals, but automatics are prevalent in the Mustang lineup now.Ford

While it's not the first time we've seen such a funky new technology (Kia did a while ago in Europe), the auto-manual shifting system could be a game changer, if it makes it into a production car. MC&T speculates that it could show up in the next-generation Ford Mustang, which will be here soon. If it becomes a reality, the shifter would allow drivers from the entire skill spectrum to enjoy an engaging driving experience without the fear of stalling or damaging their car.

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The 2023 Acura Integra is a very good thing
Acura

After years of rumors and speculation, we finally got confirmation that the Acura Integra is returning. The iconic Japanese sports car left the market in the early 2000s, and has been notably absent since. Now, though, Acura is bringing it back. Today, the automaker announced that production had begun. The new Integra will be the first to be built in the U.S., and production will take place at Acura's Marysville Auto Plant. Interestingly, Acura's five other models are built in the Ohio facility.

2023 Acura Integra2023 Acura Integra reservations begin soonautomotivemap.com

The Integra will start arriving on dealers' lots in early June, and will carry a starting price of $30,800 before destination. The car is the only liftback in its segment, and gets a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 200 horsepower. A six-speed manual is available, but buyers can opt for a continuously variable transmission.

2023 Acura IntegraThe new Integra comes as a five-door only. Acura

Acura says the Integra rolls down the same production line as the TLX sedan. The car required a rethink of Acura's production processes, and COVID-19 threw a wrench in development efforts. Acura notes its team worked rmotely and traveled to Japan to collaborate with home-office engineers. The Integra will also usher in a new training process for Acura, where associates learn the vehicle, the production process, and tooling before ever seeing the actual car.

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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