Which is best on the VW Golf R, DSG or manual? Steve Sutcliffe video review
12 May 2010

The VW Golf R is “the most powerful and fastest accelerating Golf ever produced" according to its makers - but is it better with a DSG or manual gearbox?

Autocar.co.uk armed Steve Sutcliffe with both versions of the car and sent him to find out. You can watch the verdict in our exclusive video below.

Read the VW Golf R review

Alternatively, watch the VW Golf R - DSG versus manual video here

See all the latest VW Golf reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

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Comments
91

12 May 2010

i need DSG.

12 May 2010

A DSG GTi - misses the point of owning a GTi in the first place.

12 May 2010

I'd still have the manual. Some things are more important than straight-line speed and a tiny bit better fuel economy. The DSG-equipped one sounds better, though - but they still drone horribly. Dull as ditchwater, the pair of them. Gimme a Focus RS any day - or, more to the point, a six-cylinder BMW 1-series.

P. S. Did Steve not notice that there were three differences between the two cars? Transmission, colour of paint and number of doors...

12 May 2010

[quote ACCobra427]A DSG GTi - misses the point of owning a GTi in the first place.
[/quote]

No it doesn’t, DSG is better in every way, and this is coming from someone who has driven/preferred manual transmissions his whole life. I bought a GTI just because of the DSG; you can shift manually with perfect rev matching or slog around in auto when in heavy traffic. No need to be pumping that clutch up and down, unless of course you feel it is some special skill you acquired that needs to be preserved for posterity. Sutcliffe is right; if you can afford it, get it. If you can’t afford the DSG just convey to your grand children (as proof of how hard you had it in your youth) that you had to drive a standard manual transmission. Now where did I leave that hand crank? ;)

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

12 May 2010

[quote Rover P6 3500S] Dull as ditchwater, the pair of them.[/quote]

+1

12 May 2010

Of course the DSG/PDK shifts faster than the manual for max. RPM acceleration.

The problem with the DSG/PDK is, that even in manual mode, you cannot use full-throttle without the computer either downshifting of ignoring your upshift command. Somebody told me, that there is a so called kick-down-switch which engages if you use full throttle. I don't see the need for this switch even in fully automatic mode. But in manual mode it should certainly be ignored. Why are there two methods for downshifting in manual mode? Especially since one of them (the kickdown-switch) is ambigous.

So what you should have tested as well, is how dynamic can one drive this car while staying below a certain RPM limit. E.g. acceleration from 0..60mil/h while going only until max 3000RPM. This is what counts in every day driving. This is where the everyday fun is.

I would love to buy a DSG/PDK without this stupid "feature".

12 May 2010

[quote blasos1983]

[quote Rover P6 3500S] Dull as ditchwater, the pair of them.[/quote]

+1

[/quote]

Well maybe so, but then all hot hatches are compromise cars trying to be all things to all people. I don’t have the GTI anymore since I now work from home my driving miles have dropped dramatically so I got something less practical (my poor “fast” is in a closet collecting dust). If DSG was available on my current car I would have ticked the option box. The GTI is a car that does more things right than wrong; it’s a decent car.

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

12 May 2010

I wouldn't have either. I'd save 7k and get the GTI. Then again i'd save another 3k and get a 3 MPS.

12 May 2010

They main problem with the manual, in this rather pointless 0-60 exercise, is that second gear doesn't take you to 60, which is a bit odd. It should be able to reach something like 102 km/h = 63 mph, in order to look fast on paper at least.

The engine seems to have a rather narrow power-band.
Or maybe it's a VAG trick to sell more DSGs, bigger difference on paper...

When Autocar tested the Focus RS, they managed 0-60 in 5.7 sec.
That's a heavy FWD car with a manual. Apparently the grip isn't that bad, if you compare.

I thought that the Golf R's 4WD would excel, at least in a straight line up to 60, but no.
It's the close gear ratio and the instant shifts of the DSG that makes it fast.

12 May 2010

[quote icsunonove]

When Autocar tested the Focus RS, they managed 0-60 in 5.7 sec.
That's a heavy FWD car with a manual. Apparently the grip isn't that bad, if you compare.

I thought that the Golf R's 4WD would excel, at least in a straight line up to 60, but no.

[/quote]

Have you got eyes? What were the conditions during the test? Very cold - sub-optimal tyre grip temp.; wet/very damp road surface. Here's a clue, pal - SUB-optimal test conditions. Is everyone so dumbed-down now that no one uses their own faculties to judge things for themselves? I know Sutters didn't bother to mention the conditions but for god's sake, just look.

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