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Thread: DSG test drive

  1. #1
    Vertigo1's Avatar
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    DSG test drive

    Well, with a view to maybe having it on my next car and having only driven a DSG equipped A3 fleetingly, I took one out this morning for a couple of hours to get a feel for it in differing conditions.

    I'm afraid I came away rather disappointed.

    Sure, in normal traffic it's great, giving you all the convenience of a regular auto box, but when you want to press on it falls down badly. Yes, the changes themselves are pretty damn swift which allows for seamless acceleration when you're pressing on but the response to a sudden stomp on the accelerator is just as bad as any other standard auto I've ever driven. If you want to pull away in a hurry or need to accelerate quickly for an overtake, it's far too ponderous.

    Maybe some of this is down to the diesel engine as, left in "D", it tends to cruise in a very high gear, using the torque of the engine. You'll be cruising along in 5th or 6th and then stomp on the accelerator - the car starts to accelerated as best it can in the current gear, then a second later the box finally gets the message and shifts down a gear, making the car surge forward a bit more, then you hit the red line and it changes up again. It all makes for rather jerky progress I'm afraid.

    So I won't be ordering this gizmo on my next car and will be sticking with the standard manual. Kind of a shame as I thought it was going to be leagues ahead of a standard torque-convertor auto and it just isn't I'm afraid. OTOH it helps knock 1400 off the total bill which means I stand a better chance of getting the other options I was after (see "what could you live without" thread for backstory).

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  3. #2
    stewarta13wsb's Avatar
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    Did you try it in the 'S' sport setting rather than 'D' and more importantly, did you try changing down with the paddles? Works for me!

  4. #3
    Vertigo1's Avatar
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    Yep I tried the "S" setting. This did make things more responsive but only achieved it via a tendency to use a gear lower than "D" would have, thus avoiding the need to kick-down in most situations. This just meant that, during normal cruising, I was holding a gear lower than needed and the revs were higher.

    I did try using the paddles which at least gave me control over the changes but I had two problems with this. Firstly, the shifts weren't instant, there was still a brief, but annoying, delay twixt paddle and actual change. Secondly, if I have to use the paddles to get the changes I want, I might as well stick with a manual.

    Don't get me wrong, it's a decent enough box, it's just not the quantum leap over a standard auto that I was expecting. As I'm on a budget and it's a 1400 option I think it's something I can well live without.

  5. #4
    stewarta13wsb's Avatar
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    Nothing suits everybody, and I'm far from technical. but isn't the change of gear with DSG supposed to be faster than manual... did I read that somewhere or is it a figment of my fevered imagination?
    I didn't actually spec DSG on my car - it was take the one in the showroom or wait months, and it had most of the other things I was after, but I must say I have enjoyed it so far.
    Good luck with whatever you choose.

  6. #5
    Eeef's Avatar
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    At least you've done the sensible thing and test driven it properly before you bought it. You'd be hard pressed to beat the speed of the dsg changes with a manual but I appreciate that sometimes the 'thought' process of the dsg isn't what your own would be, hence the minor annoyances.

  7. #6
    Vertigo1's Avatar
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    Eeef, that's it exactly. Whilst the actual change with DSG is faster than you could do it yourself, the box just can't second guess what you're going to do with the throttle.

  8. #7
    I have a DSG on my A3 and would now not want to be without it. I nearly always drive it in tip-tronic mode changing gear myself with either the paddles or the centre stick. To me the changes using either are almost instantaneous. The great advantage of the DSG in my opinion is not having to keep pushing in the clutch pedal. Especially on a diesel where the rev range is quite short and you have to change gear more often than on a petrol. This is my first ever diesel in 40 years of driving and when I test drove the manual version I felt that I was always changing gear. With the DSG this is just a quick push or pull of the centre lever and a click of the appropriate paddle.

    The only time I drive using the D or S settings is when I'm stuck in a queue of traffic when I just let the DSG look after itself.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

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    Vertigo1's Avatar
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    It's certainly usable and you can get round 95% of the problems by using the paddles all the time but this just turns it into a manual with an automatic clutch, and I can't justify 1400 for that I'm afraid. It's all down to personal preference though.

    Can't agree with changing gear more often on a diesel I'm afraid. Yes, if you want to make a rapid getaway from a standstill then you find yourself swapping cogs at an alarming rate and DSG will be noticeably quicker but during normal driving the sheer torque means you can tool around in 1 or 2 gears at most. The 2.0 petrol courtesy car I currently have is a nightmare to drive around town as I have to change gear all the damn time to keep the revs up and in the power band. My diesel is so relaxed by comparison as I can just leave it in third all the time.

  10. #9
    If we talking about a 2.0FSI petrol then I would agree with you. I had a 1.8T A3 before my current 2.0TDI. I thought the 2.0FSI would be the natural one to go for when I changed, but when I test drove one it had no 'go' what so ever at lower speeds and you did need to gear change a lot more that I was used to in my 1.8T. The 2.0TDI was much better and much more enjoyable to drive and much closer to the 1.8T, but I did find I ran out of revs more than I was used to with the 1.8T, hence the comment about needing to gear change more often.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

  11. #10
    Covenant's Avatar
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    The petrol is a lot better in the turbo version, if you want to be lazy it will pull from 1500 revs to the red line at near max torque all the way. The only downside is that if you want to crack on fast then yes, you're in for a lot of gear changes.
    The worst is 1st and 2nd - you only need 1st to actually get the car moving above 5mph, above that 2nd is nearly always the better choice for smooth progress.
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  12. #11
    marriedblonde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vertigo1
    Can't agree with changing gear more often on a diesel I'm afraid. Yes, if you want to make a rapid getaway from a standstill then you find yourself swapping cogs at an alarming rate and DSG will be noticeably quicker but during normal driving the sheer torque means you can tool around in 1 or 2 gears at most. The 2.0 petrol courtesy car I currently have is a nightmare to drive around town as I have to change gear all the damn time to keep the revs up and in the power band. My diesel is so relaxed by comparison as I can just leave it in third all the time.
    I'm another who thinks the DSG suits the Tdi engine very well. With the diesel you end up spending a lot more time swapping cogs as you have such a short power band. If you drive like an old fart I suppose then you wouldn't change so often with the diesel as you would be willing to except the press the pedal and wait for the turbo to fill it's lungs...

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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vertigo1
    It's certainly usable and you can get round 95% of the problems by using the paddles all the time but this just turns it into a manual with an automatic clutch, and I can't justify 1400 for that I'm afraid. It's all down to personal preference though.

    Can't agree with changing gear more often on a diesel I'm afraid. Yes, if you want to make a rapid getaway from a standstill then you find yourself swapping cogs at an alarming rate and DSG will be noticeably quicker but during normal driving the sheer torque means you can tool around in 1 or 2 gears at most. The 2.0 petrol courtesy car I currently have is a nightmare to drive around town as I have to change gear all the damn time to keep the revs up and in the power band. My diesel is so relaxed by comparison as I can just leave it in third all the time.
    surely that would mean driving round in a gear higher than normal? Which is something you said you didnt like about the DSG?

    the only thing I find wrong with the DSG is sometimes the delay in pulling away from a junction, which most times I can plan for, all other aspects are superior to a manual, driving having to use your left foot and left arm to move a stick around seems so ancient to me now

  14. #13
    S_Line's Avatar
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    i think the delay problem at pull away is a Derv only problem,
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