Volkswagen’s innovative and advanced Direct Shift Gearbox combines the comfort of an automatic gearbox with the agility and economy of a manual unit.
The six-speed, transversely mounted DSG has two wet clutches (offering a higher thermal load tolerance than dry clutches) with hydraulic pressure regulation. One clutch controls the ‘odd’ gears plus reverse, while the other operates the ‘even’ gears. Essentially it is two gearboxes in one.
With this new clutch management system, the breaks in power that are typical of even an automatic-shift manual gearbox no longer occur. This is achieved by an intelligent hydraulic and electronic (mechatronic) gearbox control system, the two wet-type clutches and the two input and output shafts in each half of the gearbox.
This combination enables the next-higher gear ratio to remain engaged but on standby until it is actually selected. In other words, if the car is being driven in third gear, fourth is selected but not yet activated. As soon as the ideal shift point is reached, the clutch on the third-gear side opens, the other clutch closes and fourth gear engages under accurate electronic supervision.
Since the opening and closing actions of the two clutches overlap, a smooth gearshift results and the entire shift process is completed in less than four-hundredths of a second. In addition to its fully automatic shift mode, DSG has a tiptronic function to permit manual gear selection. In the Golf, the option of a paddle shift will become available towards the end of the year.
The option of DSG is available with the 1.9-litre and 2.0-litre diesel engines in the Golf. It commands a £1,480 premium over the manual five-speed gearbox (1.9-litre TDI) and a £1,260 premium over the manual six-speed GT TDI.Published 17 September 2004