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Golf with DSG 'box makes oil burner slicker

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Golf

Just how good is the mighty Volkswagen Golf? The seventh generation of Europe's best selling car has been facelifted to keep its nose ahead of its rivals

11 May 2004

Volkswagen has increased the appeal of its fifth-generation Golf line-up with the inclusion of an optional DSG dual-clutch transmission for the 1.9- and 2.0-litre pumpe düse turbodiesel models.

The new gearbox adds £1480 to the price of the 105bhp Golf 1.9 TDi, but, if first impressions are anything to go by, it will be money well spent for those not afraid to try something new. Two concentric clutch plates and two input shafts, one inside the other, allow for simultaneous engagement of two gears, if only for a fraction of a second. This allows a significantly faster shift, as one gear is always ready to engage – either automatically or manually – without the need for a clutch pedal.

It’s the smoothest electro-hydraulic transmission money can buy and a welcome alternative to the conventional torque-converter automatic – even one as good as the Golf’s six-speed Aisin-Warner unit. In automatic mode it performs with incredible efficiency – both in normal and sport modes. There’s no head-bobbing jerkiness as a new ratio is chosen. In fact, you’re hard pressed to detect the DSG changing gears at all.

It’s the same story in manual, which is selected by moving the DSG’s stubby gearlever across and operating it in a push/pull fashion. Full-power upshifts are performed at lightning speed and, for the most part, the software does a good job of matching engine revs to road speed, automatically blipping the throttle as you drop back a cog.

Unlike the Audi A3 2.0 TDi DSG, the Golf diesels do not include steering wheel-mounted paddles as standard.

Does DSG make sense with a diesel? An emphatic yes. The strong low-end torque – 184lb ft is available at just 1900rpm – and slick shift action are seemingly made for each other. The DSG actually betters the standard six-speed manual’s acceleration figures, covering 0-62mph 0.1sec quicker in 11.2sec.

If you’re in the market for a diesel Golf or Touran and like the idea of being able to shift both manually and automatically you’d be crazy not to consider Volkswagen’s new DSG. Someday all transmissions will be made this way.

Join the debate


2 April 2008

Why are VW bothering to add DSG to the 1.9 diesel engine, whose origins date back to the early nineties? Its about time they replaced this seriously out of date engine. Speaking of which - shouldnt they be putting the new common-rail 2.0TDi into Golf too...

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