Trevor Collett | Sep 7, 2016

Kia has developed its own new eight-speed automatic transmission for its range of front-wheel-drive models.

The carmaker says 143 patents were filed as the transmission came to be, and its key features include a lightweight design, intelligent dimensions and an overall size close to that of a six-speed auto - but the new transmission weighs 3.5kg less.

Buyers won’t have to wait long to sample Kia’s new eight-speeder, with the large-sized 2017 Cadenza set to debut the new automatic.

The Kia Cadenza is not currently offered for sale in Australia, and the similarly-sized Genesis from sister company Hyundai already features an eight-speed automatic. The Genesis, however, is rear-wheel-drive, while Kia’s FWD unit is designed to overcome the challenges of mounting the transmission transversely.

Kia says buyers can expect smooth gear changes, smooth acceleration, frugal fuel use and impressive NVH (noise, vibration and harshness).

The ratio between top gear and first gear has increased 34 percent over the equivalent six-speed unit.

While Australia is unlikely to see the Cadenza in Kia showrooms anytime soon, watch for the new eight-speed auto to debut in mid-cycle updates of other, larger models available in FWD - such as the Optima, Sportage and Carnival.

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