Throwback Thursday: When Volkswagen first introduced the DSG 15 years ago

While they may not be the first to introduce this revolutionary transmission, Volkswagen became the first manufacturer to incorporate dual-clutch gearboxes into large-scale production back in 2003; with the first actual systems derived from Porsche’s race cars from the 1980s.

Essentially, the DSG incorporates two separate gearboxes with clutches within a transmission housing to work as a unit.

Designed by Borg Warner, who called it “DualTronic” at its conception, it was later licensed by Volkswagen and renamed to Direct-Shift Gearbox or DSG.

The 2003 Audi TT Quattro

The first Volkswagen to be offered the quick-shifting 6-speed transmission was the 2003 Volkswagen Golf Mk4 R32 in 6-speed form and subsequently found its way to the Audi TT 3.2 Quattro.

This new type of automatic gearbox, available either wet or dry clutch configurations, shifted extremely athletically and was up to 20% more economical than the automatic gearbox with hydraulic torque converter.

As time went, these DSG gearbox’ were offered in seven and even 10-speed variations and built to cope with anywhere between 350 Nm to 600 Nm of torque.

Check out our review of the Mk7.5 Golf GTI here!

Other benefits included smoother gearshifts when in automatic mode and reduced loss in torque when shifting between gears.

That said, the DSG also had its drawbacks. Chief among which was weight. It weighed nearly twice as much as a conventional manual gearbox and its complex system meant that cost of manufacturing was high, increasing the overall cost of the vehicle.


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