A report by GoAuto indicates that Volkswagen may switch to a conventional torque converter auto for its sixth-gen Polo (fifth-gen pictured) and second-gen Up! models, and that future iterations of the DSG would be reserved for Golf-sized vehicles and up.
“We are considering a number of torque converter automatic alternatives for the next Up! and Polo,” Volkswagen transmission development head Michael Schaefer told GoAuto. “We are looking at an eight-speed Aisin or nine-speed ZF transmission – but we have not decided on which one as yet.”
Why? Schaefer cited economies of scale, and explained that the global volume wasn’t there to justify the cost of developing a new DSG suitable for A- and B-segment applications. He added that it wasn’t a reaction to the current power loss issues certain DSGs have faced over the last few years.
Also, the gap in fuel efficiency between a twin-clutch and a torque converter auto has narrowed to about 0.2 from 1.5 litres per 100 km 10 years ago, he said, adding that city car drivers prefer the instantaneous acceleration and lower NVH properties of torque converters, and that North American and Chinese consumers appear to dislike the DSG’s operational characteristics.
“Volkswagen already buys 1.5 million Aisin torque converter transmissions for our US and Chinese customers… for models such as (their unique) Passat and vehicles with the 1.6 litre MPI petrol engines.”
Schaefer said equipping vehicles with engines that develop less than 200 Nm of torque with nine- or 10-speed DSGs is not ideal, because there isn’t enough torque in the higher ratios to maintain higher speeds.
To accommodate the upcoming torque converter auto, GoAuto understands that the 2016 Polo replacement will sit on a variation of the Mk7 Golf‘s MQB platform, but will use a new modular front end version of the New Small Family architecture originally devised for the current Up!
Volkswagen is not abandoning the DSG, though – a 10-speed version for D-segment vehicles and SUVs, and up, is in the works, CEO Martin Winterkorn has announced. A new DQ380 family of modular DSGs based on the heavy-duty DQ500 seven-speed unit that currently serves the Audi TT RS and the Volkswagen T5 Transporter/Multivan range is also on the way.
This new DSG will most probably appear first in 2.0 litre TDI-engined variants of the new Mk7 Golf-based C-segment models late next year, replacing the original DQ250 six-speed DSG. Schaefer says it’ll be able to take up to 420 Nm of torque.