VW plans a 10-speed

Once was the time when your own 10-speed was a rite of transport passage when such a transmission was attached to one's first full-sized bicycle.

Now VW is planning to introduce a 10-speed to its cars. The company's current most gearsome transmission is the seven-speed DSG (double-shift gearbox) a two-speed robotised unit that gives great economy and lightning-quick shifts.

Now, as part of the company's search for ways to fulfil its promised 15 per cent improvements in fuel economy, Volkswagen has released details of a 10-speed version of that same DSG design.

Speaking at the 35th Vienna motor symposium in Austria, VW's development chief, Hans-Jakob Neusser, revealed the new gearbox is planned to be used in both transverse and longitudinal engine applications, indicating it will eventually be used in a wide range of models. So in addition to the VW, Skoda and Seat lineups, the gearbox will also find itself working through Audi and possibly Porsche powertrains. It's described as a key component in Volkswagen's efforts to boost the fuel efficiency of future models by up to 15 per cent by 2020, the new 10-speed DSG auto has been conceived as a successor to Volkswagen's existing unit, and will have solved the recall problems associated with some transmissions.

Neusser has confirmed the new unit is being developed to handle torque loadings of up to 500Nm, but is not revealing when the new 10-speed will reach production.

He did, however, confirm the presence of a new 176kW twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder common rail diesel engine at the Vienna symposium would be first offered among a range of powerplants on the upcoming eighth generation Passat due to be released possibly at October's Paris Motor Show.

The VW advances in transmissions have meant that makers in France languish between four and now six ratios behind their main German mass-market rival.

Most Peugeot, Citroen and Renault offerings come with low-tech four-speed units that use far more fuel than the alternative five and six-speed manual gearboxes.

Land Rover, Jaguar and Chrysler/Jeep are already offering products with eight and nine-speed automatics and Hyundai is rumoured to be working with Kia on 10-speed unit of its own.

Sunday Star Times