Kia has revealed a new eight-speed automatic transmission (8AT) developed entirely in-house. Set to debut in the 2017 Kia Cadenza, the said slush box is engineered for front-wheel drive cars.
For starters, the gearbox will replace the existing six-speed automatic transmission that’s in our current Kia models. Besides getting two extra cogs, the 8AT takes up the same space as the current six-speed auto while weighing 3.5kg less.
Development of the gearbox is not an easy feat. Engineers at Kia faced packaging constraints to fit two extra gears where the current six-speeder sits. As such, this led to innovations that gave birth to 143 new patented technologies. The new 8AT boasts smooth acceleration from standstill, better fuel efficiency, improved NVH and more decisive acceleration at high speeds.
To achieve this feat, the oil pump was significantly reduced to allow for more efficient use and distribution of hydraulic oil throughout the unit. Kia engineers also boasts the oil pump to be the smallest unit among production transmission in its class. A direct control valve body is incorporated to allow solenoid control of the clutch directly.
Therefore, instead of the previous 20 control valves, the 8AT only requires 12 valves, significantly improving packaging and facilitates quicker gear shifts. The gear ratios between the highest gear and the first gear has increased by 34 percent, resulting in a more linear power delivery that aids fuel economy and performance.
According to Kia, the new 8AT will be adopted into future mid-sized and large-size front-wheel drive models. Faster gearshifts, better fuel economy plus weight savings? The new eight-speed auto transmission is definitely something to look forward to, possibly making it to our shores in the near future.