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Manual or DSG?

Discussion in 'New A3/S3 (8V Chassis)' started by huftonr, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. huftonr
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    huftonr New Member

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    [Jan 28, 2013]
    Looking to purchase an A3 Sportback 2.0 Tdi in the coming months. Question - manual or S-Tronic (DSG)? Anyone had experience of the Tdi with DSG - at the moment I'm struggling to even secure a test drive in a Tdi manual, let alone an auto. Has anyone tried similar in the latest Golf?

    Have read various reports that the latest DSG is jerky or slow to change - find it hard to believe this would be the case - I owned a Seat Altea DSG a few year snack which, whilst not perfect, (bogged down whilst pulling off), wasn't really jerky.

    Any advice, thoughts would be appreciated.
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  3. Sootchucker
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    Sootchucker Member

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    [Jan 28, 2013]
    I have DSG in my current Scirocco with the Diesel engine (basically a Golf 6 platform), and its probably the best option I ticked. My first auto but not my last. I think it suits the Diesel engines perfectly as the gear changes are so lightning quick, that when pulling away, in first on a manual, you very quickly run out of revs and have to snatch for second (if you are driving in a spirited fashion). In my old diesel manual golf, it just made quick get always a bit laborious, but the DSG handles it beautifully and you never need to worry about the revs, it just takes care of it, making very quick off the line progress with the bags of torque the engines produce low down.

    Also mine has been super slick with no jerkiness at all but then I have the 6 speed DSG (wet clutch) which from what I've read is more reliable than the 7 speed dry clutch units, although having said that, the wife has a 7 speed on her new Polo 6R and that's been great as well.

    My next car towards the end of this year will 90% be an A3 Sportback S-line, but what ever engine I plump for, will be mated to an S-Tronic (DSG) gearbox.

    other people's mileage will obviously vary.
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  4. huftonr
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    huftonr New Member

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    [Jan 28, 2013]
    Thanks fro the info. Interesting that you've not experienced the "jerky" or "hesitant" changes reported by the motoring press. I'm guessing just need to track one down and give it a go (although I understand A3 DSGs won't be shipping until the summer).
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  5. hittchy
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    hittchy Member

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    [Jan 28, 2013]
    Yes. I tried it in the Golf 2.0 TDi GT. Very nice.

    I also read the reviews but didn't find this at all. I had a couple of A3 DSGs when they first came out 2005 ish. The new one was smoother than the early version I had. Stop-start worked seamlessly.
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  6. h5djr
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    h5djr Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

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    [Jan 28, 2013]
    I'm current on my fourth A3 2.0TDI fiited with a DSG gearbox. Two have been 140s and two including my current one, two 170s. I have never experienced any jerking or slow response or problems any kind. All four have behaved exactly the same, superbly.

    The only time I have ever experienced any sort of delay was when my wife had a test drive in a VW Polo 1.4 pertrol and that uses the 7-speed dry clutch version of the DSG. The diesels, because of the greater torque, always use the 6-speed wet clutch and original version. The 7-speed is quite a bit cheeaper than the 6-speed.

    I drove a total of 14 cars, including four A3s with a normal clutch and manual gearbox over a period of 38 years. Then I bought my first ever diesel and chose the DSG gearbox after having had a weekend long test drive. I have never looked back and would never want another car with an 'old-fashioned' manual geabox. I tend to drive mine using the paddles and centre lever and only ever using D when I in crawling traffic. It's great fun being able to change up and down with just the flick of a switch and to change up without having to take your foot of the accelerator.

    I found out something else yesterday when reading an Owners Manual for the new Golf VII which using the same technology as the A3. If you have the Adaptive Cruise Control option, then with the DSG box (does not work with a manual box) you can set the distance you want to remain behind the car in front in a traffic queue and when the car in front moves forward, your car will do the same, all fully automatically.
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  7. sebtomato
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    sebtomato Member

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    [Jan 28, 2013]
    The reviews of the new A3 or the new Golf with the 2.0 TDI S-tronic/DSG are not that good indeed, with lots of comments about changes being jerky.

    I have had S-tronic on my last two cars and I like it. I think it's even more beneficial on a diesel because of the short second and third gears, compared to a petrol.

    S-tronic works very well on some engines and poorly on others. Also, some people like it and some people hate it. Therefore, I would really test drive the car with the right engine before ordering a car, because it depends how they have tuned it.

    I am due to test drive an A3 TDI 2.0 S-tronic soon, so will be able to compare with my current one.

    I have test driven the new Golf 1.4 Tsi ACT DSG during the week-end, and the DSG gearbox was not great, with very noticeable gear changes. It felt a lot like a traditional auto gearbox.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
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  8. hittchy
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    hittchy Member

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    [Jan 28, 2013]
    I think the 1.4 ACT is fitted with the 7-speed DSG, whereas the 2.0 TDi is fitted with the 6-speed DSG.

    The former has a dry clutch whilst the latter has a wet clutch I believe. I remember driving a petrol Golf a few years back with the 7-speed and really wasn't that impressed.

    As sebtomato says, best to test drive the model you're considering to see if it suits you.
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  9. h5djr
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    h5djr Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

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    [Jan 29, 2013]
    You are right, the 1.4 ACT has the 7-speed dry clutch (and cheaper) version whereas the 2.0 TDI has the original 6-speed wet clutch version. Comparison of the replacement costs are 7-speed £3710 and 6-speed £5050. The 2.0 TDI has the 6-speed wet clutch version because it can handle the greater torque created by a diesel engine.

    My wife had a test drive a while ago in a 1.4 Polo with the 7-speed DSG and she said it was horrible when compared to the 6-speed in my current 2.0TDI. Never ever buy a car without test driving certainly the engine/gearbox combination you are considering. Some drivers, me included, love the DSG and some don't and prefer a manual.
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  10. sebtomato
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    sebtomato Member

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    [Jan 30, 2013]
    Yes, the car I test drove had the newer 7 speed DSG gearbox, while I am used to driving a 6 speed DSG/S-tronic one.
    I was assuming that the newer gearbox would be better, but it is surely not the case, at least with that engine combination, and despite some very positive reviews. My current TDI with a 6-speed S-tronic does not feel like a traditional auto gearbox car.

    I haven't test driven yet the new Audi A3 TDI with S-tronic (6-speed), as apparently Audi UK has none available until at least March... Several reviews are indicating that the gearbox feels jerky with that engine, so I am really looking forward to comparing with my current car.

    I guess just another confirmation that it's important to test drive the right car with the right engine/gearbox combination, as there are some big differences...
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  11. Chelmersteve
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    Chelmersteve Member

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    [Feb 6, 2013]
    I have had 2 A3s with the 6 speed DSG box and have had an A1 with the 7 speed box for 2 years now. I notice no difference between them. Both boxes have had imperceptible changes and have been very responsive. Now have a 1.4 A3 Sport DSG in build for March 1 delivery.
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  12. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Well-Known Member

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    [Feb 6, 2013]
    My advice would be to ignore everyone here (no offence intended to anyone) and drive one yourself. It's a very personal thing. I was sure I'd have it on my A3 when it first appeared as an option but, after test driving one for a few hours, I changed my mind completely. I hated it. Very hesitant off the line and when booting it suddenly after cruising at a set speed. Full throttle upchanges were indeed very smooth but aside from that it still had many of the disadvantages of a normal auto. Of course things may and probably will have changed since then so my advice stands - drive one yourself and make up your own mind :)
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  13. Sootchucker
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    Sootchucker Member

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    [Feb 6, 2013]
    Good advice, although I'm praying that the 1.4 with the 7 speed s-Tronic isn't as bad as some people have experienced, as I really want to like this combination, especially as its nearly £2.5k cheaper than my second choice (the 2.0 TDI 150ps S-Tronic).

    guess ill find out on my test drives on Sunday ?
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  14. h5djr
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    h5djr Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

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    [Feb 6, 2013]
    I agree that you need to drive one yourself, but make sure you try the 'tip-tronic' mode and don't just leave it in 'D' or 'S'. Personally I would find driving an s-tonic in D or S would be very boring and the response to throttle changes etc is no where near as good as when in tip-tronic. In D or S it does behave much like a normal auto but tip-tronic is a whole new ball-game.

    Drive the car just like you would a normal manual but without having to keep using the clutch pedal. Nudge the lever forward or back to change up or down particularly when the steering wheel is not in the centre position and use the paddles when driving straight ahead. Leave D for when your in a queue of traffic or just pottering around town or are just feeling lazy. The s-tronic can be the best of both worlds although I think the 6-speed on the 2.0TDI can be better than the 7-speed on the 1.4.

    I will be very interested to hear what you think of the 7-speed having only had any real experience (8 years worth) of the 6-speed version. Enjoy your test drive!
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  15. Chelmersteve
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    Chelmersteve Member

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    [Feb 6, 2013]
    The reports of sluggish response from the DSG box on the new A3 that I have seen have all related to the 6 speed box coupled to the 1.8tfsi engine.
    It must depend how they're driven because I've not experienced any hesitancy or sluggishness whatever with either the 6 or 7 speed box at either initial take off or in response to the throttle. The DSG box never, ever feels like a 'normal' auto box - there is none of the slushiness of torque converters. The ones I have had have all been on petrol engines and were very smooth and also very snappy whether left to their own devices or used manually. My first A3 with DSG (one of the very first to be available with that box) even had the instructions for launch control listed in the handbook.
    The 7 speed box is well proven, admittedly it's not been around quite as long as the 6 speed but it isn't 'new' either.
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  16. sebtomato
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    sebtomato Member

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    [Feb 7, 2013]
    I have driven an A3 2.0 T with 6-speed s-tronic, several 2.0 TDI 140 and 170bhp with 6-speed s-tronic, and a 1.4 with 7-speed s-tronic, and the last one was the only one that felt like an auto gearbox.
    Clearly, the 6-gear S-tronic or DSG is the best gearbox.
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