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Kia Revealed Its New Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT)

Hyundai’s sister concern Kia has introduced a new manual gearbox, interestingly it uses an electronic link replacing the conventional mechanical linkage for its upcoming hybrid models. According to Kia’s claims that this new Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) will not only offer improved fuel efficiency but also a greater driver engagement.

kia iMT

How Does The iMT System Works?

The modern system has replaced the conventional mechanical linkage for the clutch with an electronic wired connection (Clutch-by-wire), which will be integrated with the 48V MHEV (Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle) powertrain system.

The power hybrid system will work with the system’s starter generator to switch the engine off while taking the foot off the A-pedals. During Idling, it will activate the start-stop system. To pick again, once the driver will press either the A or B pedal, the car will pick on the engaged gear with the help of starter generator. Kia claims that it will help in boosting the fuel economy and even reduce the CO2 emissions.


Hyundai motor’s technical centre in Germany has developed the iMT gearbox system. The continuous increase in the popularity of manual gearboxes in Europe means that this technology has been developed keeping largely the European car market in the minds. 

kis's new intelligent manual gearbox (imt)

Which cars will be the first to get the iMT gearbox? 

The Ceed hatchback and the Xceed crossover will most definitely get the iMT manual gearbox which will come paired with the 1.6L 48V mild-hybrid diesel power mill on offer on the successful Kia offerings.

Also, the highly anticipated Kia hatchback which also happens to be one of Kia’s most successful offering across the globe, the refreshed Rio as announced will get the iMT gearbox which will come paired with the 1.0 L mild-hybrid petrol engine.

The other Kia models that are launched with a 48V mild-hybrid system in the future will also get the iMT gearbox.

What did the company officials say?

Kia’s powertrain division head, Micheal Winkler asserted that manual gearboxes have accounted for more than 50% of their sales, which has compelled the company to work upon a mild hybrid system paired with manual gearbox.

“Manual gearboxes are a real driver for Europe, so we wanted to look at how to electrify a manual transmission,” said Winkler. “When we look at the global picture we still see a real demand for manual gearboxes, and we saw a real benefit to being able to offer a manual transmission on a 48V electrified system.

“While the system does boost real-world economy it’s not all about efficiency but comfort for drivers: the 48V system offers a smoother stop-start system, for example. The benefit for customers is they don’t have to do anything different: the system does it automatically.” Winkler added

India bound Kia Sonet also expected to get the iMT system

kia sonet concept

The compact SUV Sonet which in all likelihood will reach the Indian dealerships later this year (around the festive season) is expected to get the iMT manual gearbox. However, there is still no confirmation regarding the Sonet getting the 48V Mild hybrid which means we have to wait till Kia makes an official announcement regarding the same.