Ford to introduce six-speed automatic transmission on B-Max, Fiesta

Article by Christian A., on September 11, 2012

Ford Motor Co. will introduce a six-speed automatic throughout its B-segment range as part of its biggest-ever product offensive. Starting with the launch, this gearbox will be offered in facelifted Fiesta and Ford B-Max. The announcement was made by Ford product development chief Raj Nair at the Go Further event of Ford Europe.

The six-speed twin-clutch gearbox will debut in the facelifted Fiesta and B-Max alongside the 103bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine. This option is the replacement for the four-speed ‘box presently used on the 1.4-litre Fiesta. Ford said that the gearbox won’t be offered with steering wheel or column-mounted shift paddles. However, it will feature a button on the gearstick.

It added that many of those who drive an automatic are older and don’t prefer to have the Ferrari experience. Instead, they value “ease of use.”

The insiders said that slicker and smoother gearshifts will be used on the new gearbox. The unit is lighter than the old four-speed by 15kg. Andrew Frazer, the powertrain development manager of Ford, provided confirmation that the company is considering using the gearbox in other powertrains.

He also said that applying this on 1.0-litre Ecoboost models was “possible, for sure.” According to Glen Goold, global chief engineer for Fiesta, there’s a possibility that this will be used in the Fiesta ST. Another possibility are paddles. Engineering it to achieve a single derivative is too costly, making its adoption highly unlikely.

The new Ford B-Max – as underpinned by the carmaker’s global B-car platform that’s also used by the new Fiesta – is a realization of the carmaker’s vision of a premium compact multi-activity vehicle (MAV) that combines superior space, versatility and style.

It is perfectly slotted between the new Fiesta 5-door and the new C-MAX. At a length of more than four meters, the new B-MAX is longer than the Fiesta by 13 cm but is shorter than the C-MAX by 30 cm. This means that the new B-MAX has the ideal dimensions of a car that is small enough to be suitable for urban driving while large enough to offer comfortable and spacious interior.

B-MAX started off as a thorough innovation project that entailed time-intensive observation work to truly understand what customers really want their compact car to be. The subjects were drivers who were examined with regards to what they do normally in a day, like going to work, shopping for goods or picking up their students.

One of the B-MAX’s selling points is its distinct Ford Easy Access Door System that includes conventional, hinged doors on the front and sliding doors on the rear. Instead of being part of the bodyshell, the traditional central pillar structure is now incorporated into the front and rear doors. These front and rear doors are designed so that when opened, the aperture would be over 1.5 meters wide – which is twice as wide as rivals with alternative door concepts. With this wide opening, rear passengers could now easily exit or enter the rear compartment of the new B-MAX.

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