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Dual-clutch set to lift Kia Pro_cee’d GT

All pro: Kia will roll out its new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to a number of new models, including the Pro_cee’d GT.

Kia’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission set for belated birth in Pro_cee’d GT

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Kia logo3 Oct 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON in PARIS

KIA’S Pro_cee’d GT hot hatch is in line to gain a much-needed automatic variant, with confirmation that the company’s new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will be rolled out across its model range.

The new DCT, which was detailed at the Geneva motor show earlier this year, will feature in many Kia models in Europe from next year, and will also stretch to some of sister brand Hyundai’s passenger cars.

Speaking with Australian journalists at the Paris motor show, Kia Motors Europe head of powertrain development Jurgen Grimm said two versions of the dual clutch would be produced for a wide range of models.

“One is mainly for gasoline applications,” he said. “It ends up in torque range of 270Nm, and another one is developed for diesel versions with a torque range 320-330Nm.

“We will have a complete roll-out for the complete platform. So that means it will come for the Cee’d, for the Optima and for the small cars like Rio.”

While Mr Grimm said the DCT would not necessarily replace the regular torque converter auto, it made sense for the new transmission to be the main unit for European-spec models to help reduce emissions ahead of strict 2020 targets.

“For Europe, we don’t think we need a standard torque converter-operated automatic transmission. Because the focus is so much on CO2 (emissions) and therefore the DCT from its CO2 benefit is unbeatable.”

Mr Grimm said models such as the Rio light car and Pro_cee’d GT hot hatch are likely contenders for the DCT.

Since its Australian launch in March this year, the Pro_cee’d GT has sold modestly because it has been a manual only, but this looks set to change with the development of the seven-speed DCT.

Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) media and corporate communications general manager Kevin Hepworth told GoAuto that the appeal of the Pro_cee’d GT would grow substantially with the addition of a self-shifter in auto-obsessed Australia.

“There is no question that the absence of an automatic in the Pro_cee’d GT is limiting sales in Australia,” he said.

 “The availability of the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in that car would produce an immediate and significant bump in sales.”

Since its launch, the Pro_cee’d GT has never been available with any automatic transmission for right-hand drive markets.

While the DCT will feature heavily in Kia’s European model line-up in the coming years, Mr Hepworth said it remains unclear, for now, what Australian-spec models will feature the new shifter.

The $29,990 Pro_cee’d GT is a three-door performance model powered by a 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine and is a rival for smaller hot hatches, such as the Ford Fiesta ST and five-door Volkswagen Polo GTI.

In Australia’s sub-$80,000 sportscar segment where the Toyota 86 rules with 2949 sales so far this year, the Pro_cee’d GT has shifted 260 units in the same period, just five units shy of the Nissan 370Z.

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