First introduced to Europe in 2003, the Direct-Shift Gearbox (DSG) has become a Volkswagen Group calling card as the company sells its 3.5 millionth gearbox globally.
Volkswagen claims the six-speed DSG, introduced in the European-spec Volkswagen R32 and Audi TT in 2003, was the world’s first production dual-clutch transmission. The quick-shifting gearbox was introduced to the U.S. in the 2004 Audi TT and has since spread like wildfire across the Volkswagen and Audi brands, not to mention Volkswagen Group brands sold in markets outside the U.S. The technology has since been developed and implemented by a number of Volkswagen’s competitors.
In 2008, a seventh gear was added to the DSG and in 2009, a new model was announced with greater power and torque capacity. Since the transmission was introduced, more than 3.4 million of the units have been produced at Volkswagen’s plant in Kassel, Germany. An additional 150,000 gearboxes have been built at the company’s plant in Dalian, China, since it went online in May 2010.
Dual-clutch gearboxes combine some of the best attributes of manual and automatic gearboxes. The two clutches allow two gears to be selected at once so that when the transmission shifts, it needs only open one clutch and close another, saving time. In addition to quicker reaction times, dual-clutch transmissions are typically lighter than traditional automatic transmissions and more efficient, providing better fuel economy than conventional automatic or manual transmissions.