The twin-clutch “DSG” transmission is poised to take over the world.; But will it replace the manual transmission?; Not on your life.
As you well know, Volkswagen beat the rest of the world by installing the first twin-clutch transmission in the Audi TT 3.2.; That unit, which is made by Borg-Warner, is slowly replacing the conventional automatics in transverse-engined VWs.; Why?; Well, because it is the best non-manual transmission in the world.; Shifts are barely perceptible, lightning fast, and can be controlled manually at will.; It’s is also just as efficient as a manual transmission, and DSG-equipped cars tend to be even faster than their manual-transmission-equipped siblings.
If you listen to the rumor mills, you’ll hear whispering that Ford, Volvo, Land Rover, Mazda, Porsche, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, and just about every other car manufacturer in the world, is planning for a twin-clutch transmission.; That’s fantastic news for enthusiasts who live in crowded cities where having a clutch means knee problems, back aches, and having one leg noticeably more muscular than the other.
It doesn’t mean, of course, the end of the manual transmission. Chicken Little has been calling for the end of the manual ever since the automatic transmission was introduced right around, oh, the year of the flood. The automatic didn’t kill the manual, and neither will the DSG.; Instead, DSG will kill the automatic.
It doesn’t matter that DSG does everything better than you can. Sporty cars aren’t just about numbers, they’re supposed to be about having fun. As good as it is, DSG takes the talent out of shifting, and some of the fun out of driving.
If you think I’m wrong, have a look at the 2007 M5. After yielding to enthusiast pressure, the originally SMG-only M5 is now available with a third pedal and a proper stick. Yes, we all know that DSG is far superior to SMG, but even the SMG is faster than the 6-speed manual.; But the manual is more fun. And isn’t that what you’re looking for when you buy a sports car?