There will be a lot of changes coming out of Wolfsburg in the next few years, as Volkswagen announced today that they will build a unique ten-speed dual-clutch transmission, plus a high-performance diesel engine and several electric plug-in hybrids. It's Christmastime in Germany, apparently.
Plenty of automakers are currently developing ten-speed transmissions, but those are all automatics – Volkswagen will be the first to make a dual-clutch. Ten speeds is kind of a ridiculous number of gears to shift through manually, however, it does bring greater control and sportiness to a technology that inherently improves fuel economy. It's a fascinating development because of how Volkswagen may choose to spread the transmission across their brand lineup. Soon, everything from a Jetta to the Audi A4 and Porsche Boxster may have ten-speed dual-clutches.
In addition, Volkswagen says they are developing new high-performance diesel engines with up to 134 horsepower per liter. As more automakers are bringing diesel engines to the United States, the major complaint among buyers is that they boast impressive torque but lacking horsepower. Increasing the power could further endear the American market to the diesel revolution.
You should also get ready for a new round of plug-in hybrid and possibly natural gas vehicles in the coming years. Volkswagen has already unveiled plug-in versions of the Audi A3 and Porsche Panamera, and announced they are also developing plug-in Volkswagen Passat, Audi A6 and Porsche Cayenne models – each with an electric-only driving range of about 31 miles. As for natural gas, prepare yourselves for the Golf TGI BlueMotion and Audi A3 g-tron.
"We need to make the public even more aware of the benefits of natural ga engines," said Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen, Dr. Martin Winterkorn.