Wizard auto tech

from Kia

Kia's new 8-speed auto
Kia's new 8-speed auto close up
Kia Cadenza with new 8-speed auto

IT'S been four years in the making and boasts approaching 150 new patented technologies and now Kia is ready to go with its latest piece of automotive wizardry.

The item in question is an automatic gearbox - hardly sounds revolutionary, but for the Korean company the new eight-speed self-shifter represents something of a breakthrough in that it has been specifically designed for use in front-wheel drive vehicles.

Developed in-house by the Korean manufacturer the eight-speed auto occupies the same space as a conventional six-speed automatic transmission but weighs 3.5 kg less.

And that's quite some achievement, for incorporating eight gears into a front-wheel drive car is incredibly challenging, due to packaging constraints and the need to mount the transmission transversely, competing with the engine, suspension and auxiliary components for space under the bonnet.

Under development since 2012, the development program for the breakthrough transmission led Kia to patent 143 innovative technologies to ensure a high level of performance and efficiency in a compact structure.

According to Kia the new transmission will provide greater fuel efficiency, improved noise, vibration and harshness characteristics and more decisive acceleration at high speeds than an automatic transmission with fewer gears.

UK buyers will have to wait to sample the new transmission, however. It will be fitted first as standard in Kia's 3.3 litre V6 GDI-engined 2017 Kia Cadenza which will not be sold in Britain.

In the future, however, Kia says the new eight-speed automatic transmission will be applied to a number of mid-sized and larger front-wheel drive models which could be available on the British market while the technology the company has developed will serve as a stepping stone to the development of future advanced transmissions.

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