RAC Cars News


New Kia eight-speed automatic

By raccars Published

Kia Shop

New Kia eight-speed automatic will feature in many larger and mid-sized cars of the future.

Kia is not a newcomer when it comes to eight-speed automatic transmissions but its new gearbox revelation is slightly different; it is designed to be used in front-wheel drive vehicles. Whilst rear-drive automatics with eight gears have been tried before, it is the first time that Kia has attempted to produce and package a similar gearbox for transverse applications.

Whilst this type of eight-speed automatic gearbox is a new Kia initiative, it is not the first of its kind. For example, Aisin AW creates eight-speed transmission for transverse applications. This can be found in the likes of the Volvo V60, the Mini Clubman and the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer.

The benefits of additional gears

An increased number of gears should boost performance and efficiency by making it easier to maintain optimum operation of the engine. More ratios also make it possible to configure some high overdrive ratios without having to excessively compromise the overall performance of the vehicle.

These ratios allow for extremely low RPM at high speed cruising, ensuring that fuel consumption, noise and vibrations are kept to a minimum.

Why is the new Kia transmission better?

One of the major benefits of the Kia eight-speed automatic gearbox is that it weighs 3.5kg less than the current six-speed automatic, even though it is actually the same size and has two more ratios fitted into the casing. The size similarities should make it easy for the makers to install it in new Kias of the future which are based upon the design of the six-speed unit. It should also be possible to fit the new transmission into existing models.

Kia also claims that the new gearbox offers a variety of efficiency improvements. The company says that the need for only a simple, compact valve body and oil pump leads to a reduction in frictional and heat losses. A company spokesperson added that the new transmission facilitates ‘smooth acceleration’ from a complete stop, as well as offering improved NVH characteristics, better fuel efficiency, and more-decisive higher-speed acceleration.

Which new Kias will get the 8AT gearbox?

The new Kia 8AT transmission will feature first in the Cadenza, which is not one of the models on sale in Britain, but the company has pledged that it will be fitted in future to a variety of larger and mid-sized front-wheel-drive cars. Kia has also pledged to continue on the quest for even more gears, calling the new 8AT ‘a stepping stone’ in the development of even more advanced transmissions.

Kia is one of a multitude of companies working on maximising the performance and efficiency of internal combustion engines. Earlier this year, for example, Ford launched a ten-speed automatic. This Ford box was launched in combination with a 3.5 EcoBoost V6 in the Ford F-150 and the company claimed that the transmission was the first mass-produced transmission of its kind.

The Aisin AW alternative

The AWF8FXX series was the first eight-speed automatic transmission in the world specifically designed to be used in transverse applications. Like the new Kia eight-speed gearbox, it was created and packaged to take up the same amount of space as earlier six-speed designs, whilst reducing gear spacing and increasing total gear spread.

Its first use was in the Lexus RX350 F Sport 2013 model but it then went onto to be included in the likes of the 2015 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and Gran Tourer, the 2016 Mini Clubman with four-cylinder engines, the 2016 BMW X1, the 2013 Lexus RX from Toyota and in a variety of Volvos, including the S80, the V70, the S60 and the V60.

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