Kia Motors Corporation recently unveiled details of their new front-wheel drive eight-speed automatic transmission (FWD 8AT). Before, Kia engineers have already developed an eight-speed transmission for rear-wheel drive vehicles but not for the front-wheel drive vehicles.

Now, the Korean manufacturer have developed their first FWD 8AT fitted in the 2017 Kia Cadenza. According to Kia, it is lesser in weight by 3.5 kg and occupies similar dimensions as the usual six-speed transmission.

The new 8-speed automatic from Kia

Kia said that the new transmission offers greater fuel efficiency, improved noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH), smooth acceleration from standstill, and a more decisive acceleration at high speeds compared to an automatic transmission with fewer gears.

To boost the 8-speed's fuel economy, Kia engineers significantly reduced the size of the oil pump to evenly distribute fluid throughout the transmission efficiently. This enabled Kia to reduce the number of control valves. Kia says this results in quicker gear shifts, a more direct mechanical link to the engine and improved packaging.

The new transmission paired to Kia's 3.3-liter Lamdba V6

The new front-wheel drive 8-speed automatic will be making its global debut in the 2017 Kia Cadenza which was revealed weeks ago. It will also come as standard on Cadenza models powered by the 3.3-liter V6 gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine. In the future, it will be made available across select global markets starting this year.

In the next few years, Kia plans to use the new transmission to selected mid-sized and larger front-wheel drive models which will serve as a stepping stone in developing future advanced transmissions.