What is a DSG transmission?

Wanted to know what DSG is, but were afraid to ask? David Morley explains the basics of direct-shift gearboxes; the good the bad and the what-you-need-to-know-when-buying.

DSG Gearbox Jpg
Gallery1

DSG, DCT, PDK, SMG; call it what you like, but direct-shift gearbox technology is big news in cars right now.

So what is it?

It’s a way of making a car as easy to drive as a normal automatic, but with the efficiency of a manual transmission. In a nutshell, the DSG (let’s stick with that acronym) is, in fact, a conventional manual gearbox inside with either one or two clutches (the twin-clutch is a later, more sophisticated version). But instead of relying on the driver to push the clutch pedal and select the gears, a computer does all that for you. They’re sometimes called `robotised manuals’ for that reason.

So the DSG car has just a throttle and a brake pedal making it simple to drive, but doesn’t have the fuel consumption penalty of a conventional automatic gearbox.

Those are the advantages, but the downsides are there too. In some cases, the shift quality (particularly in early, single-clutch designs) was pretty awful. But even the later twin-clutch units can be a bit jerky on take-off. There have also been some monumental reliability problems with this technology and Ford, for one, has dumped it in favour of an old-fashioned automatic in its Focus range. Volkswagen has had epic dramas with it too involving recalls. It could be a technological blind alley a few years from now; in affordable cars, anyway.

Now find out how to brake in an emergency stop.

 

How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at feedback@whichcar.com.au.

 

Subscribe to Australian car magazines

Subscribe to any of our motoring magazines and save up to 49%


Subscribe

 

David Morley
Journalist

We recommend

NEWS

Lancia Design Chief
News

Stellatis promotes design chief to help resurrect Lancia

22-year veteran within the PSA group gets the chance to bring Lancia back to life

2 hours ago
Jordan Mulach
Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.