• Oct 30, 2006

Dual-clutch transmissions are viewed as an improvement over current automatic and auto-manual transmission technologies. Here in the US, we tend to look at the use of the technology by VW as a performance enhancement, primarily. It is a marriage of the directness of a manual transmission with the ease of use of an automatic, while providing quicker shifting than is humanly possible. BorgWarner, the supplier of the dual cluch technology for VW's DSG transmission, is setting its sights on the low-cost market as a way to offer automatic shifting in the 600cc to 1.0-liter segment. Currently, CVT and low-cost automatics are being used in this segment, and dual-clutch technology can offer improved performance and fuel economy over standard automatic transmissions and lower cost than CVTs with less mechanical complexity.

According to CSM Worldwide, an automotive market consultantcy, manufacturers pay anywhere from €300 to €400 ($381 to $509) a unit for low-cost, four-speed automatics. CVTs can cost up to €1,400 ($1780), but dual-clutch transmissions offer a nice middle ground at about €950 ($1208).

While some of us still prefer to row our own gearboxes, technologies like dual-clutch offer a better compromise so that others who are not comfortable with selecting their own gear ratios can experience improved performance and fuel economy. Few would argue that a standard slushbox is a better alternative, especially in smaller displacement engines.

[Source: Automotive News (Sub. req)]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't understand why CVT's are condidered "more complex." Isn't it essentially just a belt that connects two pullies, with two disks that push against each other to stretch the belt? I don't think they're more complex, I just think that they aren't manufactured in as great of number as their geared brethren that have been produced for years.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Few would argue that a standard slushbox is a better alternative....."
      What, pray tell, is a standard slushbox?
      • 8 Years Ago
      #1 "What, pray tell, is a standard slushbox?"

      He was probably referring to a gearbox with a planetary arrangement and a torque converter?

      After driven DSG for quite a while now, I am less and less satisfied with this technology. The shifts are hard in lower gears, it takes a long time to downshift, and it hunts for the right gear at low speed (this hunt is unnerving, it makes the gearbox feel unreliable). To me right know, this hype around DSG seems more like sales pitch, to get the Europeans move towards auto gearboxes.

      Besides, why go only half way to an auto gearbox? Why just 2 clutches and not go for the full monty of multiple clutches like in a true auto? Clutches can engage very fast, collars can't. Why spend time trying to guess what gear to engage with the collar (and get the 'hunt'), instead of dropping the collars and the rest of the manual transmission legacy components all together?

      VAG, put the fast switching clutches in a real automatic and drop this DSG nonsense.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Actually CVT's can be quite complex, with tolerances often as small as a few microns. Also CVT’s tend to have a problem with their need for powerful oil pumps and resulting oil aeration and cavitation damage, also factor in the fact CVT's don’t react well to higher torque applications as well as a traditional transaxle. That being said though, they are perfect for a class of cars such as the Aveo or Fit it the business case/volume is large enough.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Chris sez, " 'the technology by VW'...VW had nothing to do with the gearbox until they put it into their vehicles"

      Try reading the original post again, Chris... Although it could have been said more clearly, he really means 'the use [by VW] of this technology..."
      • 8 Years Ago
      You can pry my clutch pedal off my cold, dead feet!
      • 8 Years Ago
      "the technology by VW"...VW had nothing to do with the gearbox until they put it into their vehicles.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Low torque? Audi has several models with CVT, and Nissan now has their CVT with the 3.5L V6.

      For the 2007 model year, most Nissan sedans for the US market have CVTs instead of conventional autos. Every little CAFE point helps.