Volkswagen is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its first dual clutch gearbox (DSG) for large-scale production, which is posed as the automatic transmission for the modern age. The DSG is claimed to be more economical and sporty than any traditional automatic gearbox before. Volkswagen introduced the first automatic DSG in large-scale production in the Golf R32 in 2003, and to date, over 26 mn group vehicles have been fitted with the six-speed and seven-speed DSGs globally.
US vs. EUROPE MARKET SCENARIO
The US and European markets had completely different ideologies with regards to transmission types until a few years ago, Volkswagen noted. Automatic transmissions have always been preferred in North America, with 88 % of all motorists opting for such transmissions in 2000. Meanwhile, Western Europe, which is dominated by compact vehicles, presented a completely different picture in that time period. Only 14 % of cars, which were predominantly premium models, had automatic transmission in this market. The reason for the preference in manual transmission was not only due to the higher price of automatic transmission, but also that the manual was usually more economical and sporty.
This was evident in the fact that over 90 % of Volkswagen Golf - the most successful of all Volkswagen cars - produced were with manual transmission. The success of automatic transmission was introduced in 2003 by the Golf R32 that developed over 237 hp of power. It was the first Volkswagen on sale with an optional six-speed DSG. This DSG was up to 20 % more economical than traditional automatic gearbox with hydraulic torque converter, and became a turning point.
DSG PORTFOLIO GROWTH
Now in 2018, the DSG installation rate for the Golf is over 40 %, and is at almost 30 % for the smaller Polo hatchback. The company’s Golf Sportsvan, T-Roc and Tiguan have installation rates of 50 % for DSG transmissions, while the larger Tiguan Allspace poses an installation rate of about 90 %.
Volkswagen offers various six-speed and seven-speed DSGs, depending on the model, engine and type of drive. These transmissions are currently designed for torques of up to 250 Nm, 400 Nm, 420 Nm and 550 Nm. In addition, the company offers a six-speed hybrid DSG that can work with torque figures of up to 400 Nm, as a module with integrated electric motor for plug-in hybrid models.
The DSG transmissions are constantly being further developed, the company said. A coasting function, where the DSG decouples the engine from the drive train in order to use the kinetic energy of the vehicle and thus further reduce fuel consumption, is becoming increasingly standard.
All dual clutch gearboxes are united by an extraordinarily good shifting performance without tractive effort interruption, explained the German automaker. It said that the shifting process takes place within a few hundredths of a second. In addition, during cruising the DSG shifts up a gear very early, leading to fuel saving. Volkswagen added that DSGs are a perfect match for the hybrid systems of tomorrow, thereby concluding that the future belongs to the DSG.
It must be noted that the DSG transmission has been a hit with customers in offering a superior performance levels than that of standard torque converter automatic transmissions. Volkswagen also offers its entire Indian product portfolio with DSG, either as standard in the premium models, or as an option in the others. In addition, a number of models of the group company also offer the DSG in the country. This shows the penetration of its DSG transmission has transcended to newer markets, which have traditionally favoured manual transmissions alone.