Kia Motors has revealed details of its new eight-speed automatic transmission for use in front-wheel drive vehicles.
The new transmission (FWD 8AT) has been developed in-house by the Korean manufacturer, engineered to offer ‘a high level of mechanical efficiency and smooth gearshifts’. The new FWD 8AT occupies the same space as a conventional six-speed automatic transmission, and weighs 3.5 kg less.
Under development since 2012, the development program led Kia to patent 143 new technologies. Kia states that the new transmission enables smooth acceleration from standstill, as well as greater fuel efficiency, improved NVH characteristics, and more decisive acceleration at high speeds than an automatic transmission with fewer gears.
The 8AT has a reduced size oil pump (the main source of power loss in an automatic transmission) and a simplified valve body structure. Boasting the smallest oil pump of any production transmission in its class, the 8AT is able to use hydraulic oil more efficiently, distributing it evenly throughout the unit at all times.
Kia’s development teams also incorporated a direct control valve body to allow solenoid control of the clutch directly. This has reduce the number of control valves from 20 to 12, resulting in quicker gear shifts, a more direct mechanical link to the engine and improved packaging.
Incorporating an additional clutch and gear over the existing 6AT, the ratio between the top gear and the lowest gear in the new transmission has been increased by 34% over the 6AT, resulting in greater fuel economy and improved NVH in higher gears and faster acceleration and climbing performance in low gears.
The FWD 8AT will make its global debut in the 2017 Kia Cadenza – on sale across selected global markets this year – and is featured as standard on Cadenza models powered by the 3.3-liter V6 GDI engine.
Going forward, Kia states that the new eight-speed automatic transmission will be applied to a number of mid-sized and larger front-wheel drive models, and will serve as a stepping stone to the development of future advanced transmissions.