Sure, you know the differences between your basic automatic and manual transmissions—but could you rattle off a comparison between all the different kinds of gearboxes car manufacturers have developed over the years? If not, then let this be your guide.
There has been a little of confusion of late over what really is a manual. Is it simply a system that lets you select the gears yourself? Does it need a clutch? If it has more than one clutch, is it still a manual? And what if there’s a big lever that you use to go up one gear and go down to another? What if that lever only lets you go up or down gears, well, in sequence?
FCP Euro, an online parts shop, made this video to explain the differences between a dual clutch automated manual and a sequential transmission in an easily-digestible way. FCP Euro also has a race team, and last season, they were competing against sequential transmission teams in their Volkswagen GTI TCR, which was equipped with a dual clutch gearbox. Inspired by the clear distinction that rose between the DSG and sequential machines, they made this video:
To put it simply, a sequential transmission is a kind of manual transmission that doesn’t use the traditional H-shaped pattern on the shifter. It’s the kind of manual you’ll find on race cars and motorcycles, but not necessarily on your daily driver.
The DSG—also known as the dual-clutch or twin-clutch transmission—system is a hell of a lot different. It can either be fully automatic or semi-automatic, depending on the manufacturer. A DSG has two clutches as opposed to one, and it doesn’t use a pedal. That second clutch anticipates your next gear, so that changing gears is a smooth, quick process.
If you’re looking at diving into more nitty-gritty details or are wondering what the big differences in performance are, the video does a great job illustrating it. If you’re still not familiar with these different kinds of tech, this is the best place to start learning.