Price reductions on selected cars, from £250 - £1000 off

skip to main contentskip to footer

What is DSG in Volkswagen?

You might have seen DSG popping up when shopping for Volkswagen models – but what does it stand for?

A grey VW Golf Estate DSG parked with caravans

What does DSG stand for Volkswagen?

‘DSG’ stands for Direct Shift Gearbox and is a type of dual-clutch gearbox that’s used by car manufacturers in the Volkswagen Group. This includes SEAT, Skoda and VW itself.

Working differently from classic automatic gearboxes, the DSG uses a set of electronically-controlled clutches and is essentially two gearboxes and two clutches in one.

DSG models can be more expensive than standard automatic gearboxes, but they do give you the benefit of quick and smooth gear changes.

How does DSG on VW cars work?

On used Volkswagen cars with DSG technology, the dual clutch setup is always engaged and ready to change gears, so you don’t need to worry about choppy or sluggish gear changes.

With traditional automatic gearboxes, the clutch pedal isn’t needed and is replaced by a torque converter that sends power from the engine to the gearbox when you accelerate.

With DSG, the two electronically-controlled clutches have different jobs to ensure the smoothest and quickest gear changes.

One clutch sends power from the engine to the gearbox, while the second clutch is waiting for a prediction from your car’s computer on which gear will be needed next, preparing itself for a quick change.

When the next gear change is needed, the second clutch is engaged and changes to the next gear.

That way, you’re never waiting for the gearbox to catch-up as it’s already had a head-start.

What does DSG mean on a Volkswagen Golf?

The iconic VW Golf is available with DSG, improving the driving response of the car to create a real hot hatchback. This means you can enjoy slick gear changes from the Golf GTI, GTE and GTD models.

Many motorists enjoy the sporty Golf with a classic manual transmission because of that old trope about feeling ‘in touch’ with the car, but the addition of DSG gives the car autonomy that’s impressive enough to turn heads.

Other Volkswagen models with DSG include the T-Cross, Passat, Tiguan, T-Roc and Touareg, so you’re not restricted to the smaller options if you want to experience those speedy gear shifts.

grey volkswagen touareg

Advantages of DSG in VW

DSG is an impressive addition to Volkswagen models and makes for a really comfortable drive, but there are some things you might want to consider.

Benefits of DSG

  • It’s obvious, we know – but those quick gear changes and response time really improves the VW driving experience

  • Like a standard automatic, DSG removes the need to think about gears and creates an easy drive

  • DSG setups can be more fuel-efficient than typical automatic gearboxes

Things to consider about DSG

  • DSG can be more expensive to purchase and repair, because of the complicated build

  • It’s not a mind-reader and can make mistakes – there is some room for hesitation with DSG if you’re driving unpredictably

DSG vs. conventional automatic

Under the bonnet, the main difference between DSG and conventional automatic transmission is the lack of a torque convertor in the DSG.

Traditional autos use the torque convertor to send the engine’s power to the gearbox, while DSG uses the two clutches that work together to send power to the wheels and prepare for the next gear change.

With a DSG, you’ll likely find that gear changes feel smoother and quicker, compared to the small lags that are sometimes felt with standard automatic gear-shifting. DSG offers efficient changes that are always one step ahead.

It’s worth noting that manufacturers tend to stick with either conventional manual or DSG, so you won’t often have to make the decision between the same model with two auto gearbox options.

How do I identify a VW DSG transmission?

To see if your Volkswagen has a DSG transmission, look at the gear stick and see if there is an embossed ‘DSG’ logo.

You can also check your car’s manual to find the details of your gearbox there, but your VW will likely be listed as having DSG when you purchase it so you’ll know before you buy.

Now you know what DSG in Volkswagen is!

DSG is a superb option for improved gear changes that’s available with VW models and other models in the Volkswagen Group.

If you’re not fully committed to a VW, models like the Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia and the SEAT Leon and Ateca are other great options that use DSG technology.

Read more explanation guides: