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December 13, 2018

Happy Birthday, Volkswagen DSG

A drive revolution celebrates its birthday: 15 years ago, Volkswagen introduced the first dual clutch gearbox (DSG) for large-scale production. More economical and sportier than any automatic gearbox before it, the DSG was deemed the “automatic transmission for the modern age.” The DSG changed the way gears were shifted, particularly in the compact class. To date, more than 26 million Volkswagen owners globally have opted for the dual clutch gearbox.

Until a few years ago, North America and Europe were treated as two separate “gearbox worlds,” with Americans preferring automatics (88 percent) and Europeans preferring manuals (86 percent). However, when Volkswagen first introduced their DSG gearbox in the Golf R32, it changed everything.

Shifting more athletically than a manual and yet up to 20 percent more economical than a conventional automatic with a torque converter, the DSG is truly the best of both worlds. It offers extraordinarily good shifting performance without tractive effort interruption. The shifting process takes place within a few hundredths of a second. During cruising, the DSG shifts up a gear very early, saving fuel.

Today, Volkswagen says that up to 90 percent of owners globally choose the DSG gearbox, including the sub-compact class where the take-up is more than 30 percent.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Aside from being able to handle torque as much as 550 Nm, Volkswagen is hard at work to adopt DSG for its next-generation of models. Aside from integrating a “coasting” function, where the DSG decouples the engine from the drivetrain in order to use the kinetic energy of the vehicle, the group is working on mating it with an electric motor for plug-in hybrid models as well. The future, for Volkswagen, belongs to DSG.

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