Design & Technology

Kia’s all-new FWD 8-speed transmission September 12th, 2016


Increasing demand for improved performance and efficiency

The latest fever among car manufacturers and automobile connoisseurs is the 8-speed automatic transmission (AT). While traditional automatic transmissions have been available in four or five-speeds, many vehicle developers in recent years have been working to raise the gear count to offer seven and eight-speeds.

Despite a later start in the game, Kia Motors has been quick to join the ranks of global powertrain makers to deliver high performance transmissions. In 2009, Kia introduced its own 6-speed AT and went on to develop the 8-speed transmission for rear-wheel drive (RWD) vehicles. And Kia remains dedicated to developing more advanced transmissions that will provide consumers with better fuel efficiency and performance.




Finally, after four years of research and development, Kia has revealed its new state-of-the-art front-wheel drive (FWD) 8-speed automatic transmission. This exceptional development is especially significant as the new transmission, with 143 newly patented technologies, is the first of its kind to be developed in-house by a car manufacturer.


A transmission breakthrough

The transmission is perhaps one of the most important parts of a vehicle as it is responsible for delivering the power of the engine to the wheels. Due to the mechanics of the automatic transmission system, vehicles that employ automatic transmissions tend to have a slower response.. To combat this, Kia’s new 8-speed AT comes with structural and functional enhancements for sleeker and more responsive acceleration and improved driving experience.



While Kia’s engineers have ample experience with 8-speed transmissions for RWD vehicles, incorporating the same number of gears into a FWD car model proved to be quite a challenge. Simplifying the structure and control valves, the new 8-speed AT is a compact and efficient unit positioned under the bonnet, weighing in at 3.5 kg less than the conventional 6-speed transmission.

The new automatic transmission boasts of the smallest oil pump of any transmission in its class. As the oil pump is often the main source of power loss in an automatic transmission system, the smaller pumps save energy while allowing for an even distribution of hydraulic oil throughout the unit.

Kia’s engineering team also reduced the number of control valves in the transmission and incorporated a more direct mechanical link to the engine. This structural improvement has resulted in quicker gear shifts for higher fuel economy and improved NVH..

Check out the video for more information on the key technologies and benefits of Kia’s new transmission.



New driving experience with new 8AT




Kia’s new 8-speed AT is a light package that delivers better performance and fuel efficiency, making it highly suitable for large high-end sedans. Among Kia’s model line-up, the 2017 Kia Cadenza, is the first vehicle to employ this newly revealed transmission. Thanks to the smoother gear changes of the 8AT, the Cadenza provides effortless acceleration and precise controlling while driving.

The new 8-speed automatic transmission will also be applied to a number of midsize and larger FWD models in the future. Continue to keep your eyes on Kia as we continue to ‘shift’ in to the future with new and innovative automobile technologies!