DSG Goes Mainstream: Say Goodbye to the Stick

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
dsg goes mainstream say goodbye to the stick

Pound another nail in the third pedal's coffin. AutoSpectator reports BorgWarner (BW) has developed low-cost dual-clutch transmission technology for small cars. Previously, dual-clutch trannies were too complex and costly to use in low-priced cars or in developing markets. However, BW has applied for patents for a smaller and simpler version that will provide a 13 percent improvement in fuel efficiency with better performance (oh yes) than current slushboxes. Once they go into full production mode, they expect the technology to be used in 2.3m transmissions worldwide. And then some.

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  • Dean Dean on Dec 06, 2007

    Katie, old technology does not imply that it is bad technology. A manual transmission has yet to be beat for simplicity, cost and function. The idea of a DSG for the masses that will replace the current automatics is terrific, but I think many here are worried that it will limit the availability of plain ol' manuals. All it takes is for the manufacturer to think like Katie, and they'll think that the DSG is good enough for everyone. One advantage of a manual that hasn't been mentioned yet: once you are used to your car you know exactly what gear you are in by feel. That is the biggest disadvantage of sequential selectors like DSG paddles or the "manumatics."

  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Dec 06, 2007

    It will be a long time before the manual transmission goes extinct. When the demand for manuals drops so low that not one auto manufacturer makes them anymore and there are no good used manual-equipped cars to be found, I'll buy an automatic.

  • Bytor Bytor on Dec 06, 2007

    Dean: Funny you should mention that. I was looking at a Logitech Wheel for racing games that has an shifter with a standard shift pattern. I was thinking awesome, I will always know what gear I am in, unlike those lame up/down buttons in race games. I didn't even think about that for DSG cars having never driven one in the real world. In racing games the buttons suck. Give me a real shifter any day. rpn453: Yeah, I am not too worried about the manual for a long time. I know I will be driving manual till 2020 or later (I plan on buying a new car around 2010 and driving it for 10 years). After that the slushbox will be extinct and a large chunk of cars will probably be electic drive so gears might be obsolete. Even then, I will probably keep an old classic manual around. Maybe my nephew will enjoy it: "My uncle preserved for me, an old machine --- For fifty-odd years To keep it as new has been his dearest dream I strip away the old debris, that hides a shining car A brilliant red barchetta, from a better, vanished time I fire up the willing engine, responding with a roar Tires spitting gravel, I commit my weekly crime... " - Rush, Red Barchetta.

  • Glenn126 Glenn126 on Dec 08, 2007

    Megan wrote "you forgot that in inclement weather (read: slick roads) you can put the car in 2nd and get it moving that way, vs. an automatic that forces you to start in first, leaving your tires spinning" Um, no. My wife's prior 2002 Hyundai Sonata and her new 2007 Hyundai Sonata, as well as most Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi and several other brands, all have a "manumatic" self-shifting mode on their automatics. I regularly start out the Sonata in 2nd on our crap Michigan roads which the road commission seems to be hell-bent on leaving in the worst condition I've seen for years. I euphamistically call it "the poor man's traction control" (i.e. starting in 2nd in the automatic) but in fact, my wife's '07 Sonata actually has traction control, ESC, ABS, etc etc.-but starting in 2nd STILL helps the car. In fact, most early three speed automatics - and I'm talking 1950 on - started out in 2nd gear, and the only way to access "low" was to select it on the transmission selector. My own very first car, a 1966 Rambler Ambassador, had P-R-N-D2-D1 and L. Guess what D2 meant? Yep, it started in 2nd, shifted to 3rd. For years and years, Ford used P-R-N-D-2-1. Guess what happened when you selected "2"? It stayed in 2nd gear no matter what. Besides which, starting a manual car in 2nd gear is not possible for many drivers who, even if they can drive stick, appear to be far too busy talking on their cell phones and doing God only knows what else other than paying attention and driving. Am I right, or what?