VW’s engineers decided to go for seven speeds in order to allow a lower first gear that would avoid clutch slipping in slow-moving traffic, with seventh gear intended as an overdrive for motorway driving.
Despite sharing the same number of gears and the same name as the gearbox in the 987bhp Bugatti Veyron, the new gearbox, unsurprisingly, has little in common with the one fitted to the supercar. Instead, the all-new unit majors in efficiency: for example, despite the extra gear, the new gearbox weighs in at 70kg, 23kg less than the six-speed version.
The chief reason for the savings is the ditching of the DSG-6’s liquid cooling for its clutches, favouring instead a ‘dry’ arrangement. Without an oil bath cooling the spinning clutches, less energy is lost to friction and in the churning of the fluid. And, thanks to an electric oil pump and ancillaries, the new gearbox will also work with VW’s forthcoming stop-start technology and long-awaited hybrid drivetrains.