The Mk8 Volkswagen Golf will drop its DSG dual-clutch transmission for a more conventional torque converter in Australia when it arrives in 2021.

Volkswagen Australia has confirmed the mainstream Golf range will feature the same 1.4-litre petrol engine as the current Mk7.5 model, but will swap its dual-clutch transmission for a torque converter. The powertrain debuted in the Skoda Karoq 110TSI SUV in Australia.

Although Volkswagen brands have been offering torque converters in cars for the American market, dual-clutch transmissions have dominated the local passenger car range since the MkV Golf arrived in 2005.

Emissions regulations in Australia are to blame for the switch, according to Volkswagen.

Australia still subscribes to more lenient Euro 5 emissions regulations. Europe moves to stricter 6d rules on January 1, 2021, and recently brought in the tougher WLTP emissions test.

Because the newer engines and dual-clutch transmission are more efficient, production is being prioritised for markets where they’re required to meet those strict emissions rules.

Australia isn’t on that list, and will therefore receive the existing Golf’s turbocharged 1.4-litre engine – which is now only manufactured with an eight-speed torque converter automatic.

Performance models will still feature a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Australia will miss out on the latest range of engines and plug-in hybrid powertrains offered in the Golf, as they are fitted with petrol particulate filters (PPF).

Required to meet European emissions standards, the filters aren’t necessary to match the regulations currently used in Australia. There’s also a risk associated with using the wrong fuel in a PPF-equipped car.

If PPF engines are filled with non-premium unleaded in Australia, the amount of sulphur allowed in our fuel will clog the filter and necessitate expensive, time-consuming repairs.

Although the Volkswagen Group is bringing some vehicles into Australia with a PPF, they are low-volume cars such as the Skoda Superb Scout, Audi RS3, and Skoda Karoq 140TSI Sportline.

Not only is the Mk8 Golf likely to sell in higher numbers, it has a lower starting price and attracts a different type of buyer, making it more likely to be operated by owners on a tight budget – increasing the risk it will be fuelled with cheaper 91RON petrol.

The Mk8 Volkswagen Golf will arrive in Australia early in 2021, slightly later than initially planned thanks to factory closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scott Collie

Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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