For us enthusiasts, the clutch pedal of a manual gearbox is where we get half the engagement from. But for normals, the whole thing probably seems a little laborious. Hyundai, however, has come up with a way of combining the simplicity and fun of a manual with some of the convenience of an automatic.
You might have already heard of the new intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT), which is being fitted to a bunch of different mild hybrid Kia and Hyundai models. This uses a hydraulically-actuated clutch that automatically disengages the engine when you’re coasting, and on most cars with it, there’s still a clutch pedal - it’s merely a by-wire operated affair. But on the Indian market version of the Venue, the iMT does away with the third pedal entirely.
The system isn’t actually that complex. Each throw of the ever activates an ‘Intention Sensor’, which triggers a hydraulic actuator. The increase in hydraulic pressure allows the slave cylinder to control the clutch and pressure plate, engaging and disengaging at the right moment for the next cog from the six-speed gearbox to be slotted in by the driver.
This not only makes life easier for the driver - it’s also, Hyundai says, more efficient, presumably since every actuation of the clutch will be perfectly executed. The enjoyment factor is what the company seems to be focusing on most, however. “Hyundai has announced the introduction of yet another industry first Innovation that offers customers the convenience of two-pedal clutch-less technology combined with fun-to-drive elements of a manual transmission,” it said in a press release.
The two-pedal iMT joined the Venue range at the beginning of the month, available on vehicles powered by the 1.0-litre ‘Kappa’ T-GDI petrol engine. From the sounds of it, the unusual transmission has replaced the conventional six-speed manual on the model outright.
Developing the system won’t have been a small undertaking, so it’s surely only a matter of time until this gearbox makes its way to other markets and other vehicles. Would you have one instead of a conventional manual, or an automatic?