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Ford will launch a six-speed automatic across its B-segment range, it has emerged. The gearbox will be available from launch in the facelifted Fiesta and Ford B-Max.

Ford product development chief, Raj Nair made the announcement at Ford of Europe’s Go Further event, where it unveiled the biggest product offensive in its history.

The six-speed twin-clutch gearbox will make its debut in combination with the 103bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine in the facelifted Fiesta and B-Max. The option replaces the four-speed ‘box currently mated to the 1.4-litre Fiesta.

Ford says the gearbox won’t feature steering wheel or column-mounted shift paddles, but will have a button on the gearstick. It says its automatic customers are older, and are “not inclined to want the Ferrari experience, just ease of use”.

Insiders say the new gearbox will feature slicker, smoother gearshifts. The unit weighs 15kg less than the old four-speed.

Ford’s powertrain development manager, Andrew Frazer confirmed the use of the gearbox in other powertrains was the “subject of discussion”, and its application in 1.0-litre Ecoboost models was “possible, for sure”.

Glen Goold, global chief engineer for Fiesta, said its application in the Fiesta ST is possible, but far from certain. Paddles would be possible, but the cost of engineering for a single derivative makes their adoption unlikely.


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