Kia will introduce a breakthrough technology this year. The South-Korean manufacturer decided not to pay for a technology already existent on the market and develop it in house. We are talking about a new eight-speed automatic transmission (8AT), engineered for use in front-wheel drive vehicles.
 
Kia’s new front-wheel drive 8AT has been developed in-house and occupies the same space as a conventional six-speed automatic transmission, and weighs 3.5 kg less.

Kia’s engineers already have experience of developing eight-speed transmissions for rear-wheel drive vehicles, mounting the transmission longitudinally and sending power to the rear axle. 

However, incorporating the same number of gears into a front-wheel drive car is challenging, due to packaging constraints and the need to mount the transmission transversely, competing with the engine, suspension and auxiliary components for space under the bonnet.

Under development since 2012, the development program for the transmission led Kia to patent 143 new technologies. Kia’s new front-wheel drive 8AT is making 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’s new eight-speed automatic transmission will be applied to a number of mid-sized and larger front-wheel drive models.