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Volkswagen models, news & reviews
By Jesse Crosse
28 January 2008 16:26
If you subscribe to the theory that more is better, then you’ll like this. VW has just announced the latest version of its groundbreaking DSG dual-clutch gearbox with seven gears instead of six. It’s designed for smaller engine cars of up to 168bhp and 184lb ft torque, leaving the original six-speed launched in 2003 for the heftier end of the range.
The new DSG will be available first as an option on the Golf 1.4-litre TSI (driven here) and it boasts two world firsts. Not only is it the first seven-speed gearbox on a transverse engine, but it’s also the first dual-clutch gearbox with dry, instead of wet clutches like its sister, the six-speed. This means the clutches run freely in air instead of struggling in an oil bath and that’s better for both power and fuel economy.
Surprisingly good. If this were a manual gearbox, it would probably be a nightmare with just too many gears, each drive becoming a melee of stick-stirring and fumbled starts in traffic. But with an automated manual, there’s no problem. You can either shove it in fully auto and let the computer take the strain. Or you can use the selector lever or wheel-mounted paddles to shift manually as before.
Handling this many ratios with a paddle shift is somehow more intuitive than with fewer gears and a conventional stick. It’s hard to know which gear you are in at any given time - but so what? You make the choice based purely on feel and the sound of the engine.
It’s fast too. Flick the paddle with the throttle drilled to the mat and the DSG swaps one pre-selected ratio for the other like you’re flicking a switch. There are both Drive and Sport modes for fully auto, Sport holding onto the gears a little longer letting the engine work harder. Good fun on the twisty mountain test route near Barcelona.
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VW Golf 1.4 TSI 7spd DSG (2008) CAR review
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7 speed DSG gear display
The DSG gearbox is brilliant (I have one in my EOS and previously in a 3.2 Audi TT). Having 7 gears sounds even better, the only problem is not knowing which you are in. This problem could easily be solved if the Driver Info display were to change mode when in Manual, or Sport to show a large easily read single digit showing the gear selected, rather like you see on the WRC Rally cars. The EOS display of gear is tiny and barely visible, especially when pressing on a bit. This sounds a simple software mod to me, and you certainly are not interested in the Radio station or MPG reading when in manual "go faster" mode
01 February 2008 14:49
Seven gears? If you´d written in 2001 about a car with seven forward gears you´d have been writing a comedy piece about over-complexity. The on-line satirical magazine, the Onion, wrote a joke item about Gilette launching a razor with I think four blades. And what happened? Someone did indeed launch a four-bladed razor. What´s my point? Seven gears is too many. Simple.
Why would VW want such a huge choice in their engines and gearboxes? Well, much in the same way tha mobile phone tariffs are designed to be so complex that customers give up trying to make comparisons, so is VW adopting a similar strategy to confuse their customers. Instread of deciding between a Golf or a Focus or Proceed, the customer just gets lost trying to decide which Golf they want. They are so astonished by the huge array of options that they simply forget there are other cars to choose from, from other makers, in other showrooms, somewhere out there. But the long list of numbers and specs and details fries their brain and means they leave having agreed to buy a car with an engine/gearbox combo totally unsuited to driving to Tescways or Saferose or to work. Instead they get a car designed for 23% high-altitude motorway use and 73 percent use in very hilly suburbs with light traffic and severe winters but severe summers too. That´s what I think the VW Golf 1.4 TSI 7 speed DGS is for. And I guess the car is 65cm wider than normal to accomodate all that badging. And that means it weighs more and uses more fuel.
To answer the question of why the Germans have so many new amazing ideas you need to understand that if they hire more engineers than anyone else, then Ford and Renault won´t have any engineers of their own. Even if the work the engineers do for VW and Merc is stupid, it means they can´t work on useful stuff for the competitors. Think on this: it takes ninety experienced engineers to design a new engine. If those ninety engineers were available to Citroen, they could make producst off of which things didn´t fall at random. Ford could have a second engine option for the Ka and they could have a third engine option for the Focus. It only has two, you know, a 1.6 and a 1.6 Ghia!
So, there you are. It´s quite simple really.
30 January 2008 20:41
Is it a sports bike
Seven gears, never too sure which one your in... sounds like my sports bike. I can be in 4th 5th or 6th and unless i check the indicator its not obvious which one I'm in unless i'm riding with some spirit.
30 January 2008 12:29
Is'nt it amazing the engineering output from the German M'fers recently. We have 2 DSGs from VW, daft V12 diesel sports cars and RS motors from Audi, bmw's intelligent dynamics, twin turbos 2.3 and 3.0's, in petrols and diesels, super clean direct injection petrol engines. Merc produces a niche model every week. How many engineers have they got working in R&D? Ok you might not expect the smaller players to compete but Honda seems no where, Totota is hybrid focused, Ford struggles to match in one segment 2.0 litres the technology of that BMW that offers it accross capacities. How are they doing it?
28 January 2008 18:27
The 118d SE is indeed a nice car, but it's over £20k basic, so if you were looking at this car you wouldn't be looking at a £16k Golf.
If you add auto option on the BMW that you have described to try and bring it in line with the DSG you would need to add nearly £1500 and if you add metallic paint that would make it £22k! That is not 'a bit more expensive' as you said.
The Golf is an 'everyday run-of-the-mill' car, the BMW is a premium car with premium pricing.
If we compare these two different classes of car we can see that the Golf doesn't give away much to the BMW, just half a second in the 0-60 dash. Again, if you add the auto option to the BMW the CO2 is actually higher than the Golf.
28 January 2008 17:51
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