finally got a drive in the DSG model at Alexander Audi today - they have a cancelled order 3-door sport model 2.0 TDI DSG (it was either black or lava grey - too rainy and windy to stand outside admiring the car - the idea of the visit was to get behind the wheel:) )
First few hundred yards i had to get the brain to adjust to being in an automatic, which was all very good and fine - even in normal "D" auto mode the car is a great drive, and seems to change gear at the same time that i would have done with a manual TDI, when i put the car in S mode i found it hanging onto the gears a bit longer, which is as designed, trying to ensure that the car is at just the right point to change gear, but i think with a diesel engine, trying to hold a gear until 4000 rpm doesn't really give you much real world advantage in normal driving conditions over changing at 2500 rpm and using the grunt of the engine.
When the open road permitted the auto-box was prodded into life, first of all by flooring it in "D" mode, and the kickdown worked great, the car accellerated brilliantly, changed gear and really flew - doing the same in "S" auto only seemed to make that little bit quicker, and more noisy. So in auto mode i've got reservations about the usefulness of "S" mode.....especially when you can nudge the gearstick left and into the +/- zone for manual operation.
in the manual mode i found the car was just like a manual to drive - the brain quickly adjusts to using your fingers on the levers to do the gears, but the brain still sends signals to you left foot, and i was finding myself operating the foot rest as clutch.
Its a strange sensation - when you realise the car is in full auto mode, your left leg goes to sleep and you let the car get on with things, but when you are involved in the gear changes yourself, whether on the steering wheel or gearstick, you feel as if your left leg should be invited to the party too. - all quite weird! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
upshifting with the paddles was great - you can time the upshifts to suit the road - where the auto mode would grab the next gear, you can read the road ahead and realise that keeping in third would be better than racing up to fourth and having to come back down. The great bit is keepign your foot planted on the gas, then mouse click your way through the box (i say mouse click, becasuse the paddles sounded just like mouse clicks - there is no travel on the paddle, its just like pressing the lock/unlock button on the door card - a click and it changes gear - fast! - there is no reason to complain at all about the speed of this system, but what i needed to get used to was downshifting - zooming along in 5th and braking for a corner that needs third - i found myself double clicking and wanting the box to downshift twice, but went into the corner in 4th - sales guy said you need to give a moment or two between the down shifts - somthing i didn't get chance to perfect.
coming to a T-junction in 4th was strange too - sales guy instructing me to leave the paddles alone, and let the car sort itself out, which it does - it drops back into 1st all on its own - great! - but what about if you slow down for a roundabout - leaving the car in 4th 5th - expecting to stop as the traffic is heavy, then all of a sudden you find the traffic has gone and there is a gap - but you're doing 15mph and the car hasn't dropped into 1st yet - you plant your foot and you're still in 4th or 5th ? - again the chance to test didn't arise, but it sort of concludes my opionion on the manual side of the DSG system.....
...you have to be very alert to what mode you are in, this really is two cars pretending to be one. I found myself having to look at the dash to see whether it said D-P-R-N, or 1-2-3-4-5-6 to give me an idea of what i should be doing as we approach a bend/obstacle - in auto mode the car does the work, in manual mode you still have to tell the car you need 2nd gear for the next corner.
so i found myself in too higher a gear for the bends - which is okay in the diesel - it will still pull out of the bend in too high a gear, but you kick yourself for not realising it was your turn to do the gears ! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
I suppose this switching of modes will become second nature after a couple of days, and hopefully the DSG drivers will comment on thier own first day experiences in this thread.
overall i was very impressed with the car, nice and solid, handled great - even in the slippery wet conditions. There was only 2 occasions where i got the traction control to kick in, and i really was being silly with the gas, but in the same conditions in the golf the ASR system would have been engaged far more often than the audo system. so whilst i would love to try the same roads with quattro - i'm more than happy to say the ESP on the A3 sport is enough of an improvement to keep me happy with having the DSG and 2-wheel drive [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]