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July 23, 2020

Don't Let Your Eyes Fool You: This Manual Transmission Doesn't Have a Clutch Pedal

Don’t let your eyes fool you: this is indeed a manual transmission car without a clutch. Hyundai thinks its iMT or Intelligent Manual Transmission is the future of the manual because it combines the directness of a row-it-yourself 6-speed, but without the hassles of a clutch.

Launched for the Indian market Venue Sport, Hyundai’s iMT technology features a Transmission Gear Shift (TGS) Lever with Intention Sensor, Hydraulic Actuator, and Transmission Control Unit (TCU).

According to the Korean carmaker, the system has been designed to offer a seamless drive by incorporating a “cohesive logic” between the various components found on manual gearboxes. Here’s how it works:
  • Transmission Control Unit receives signal from TGS Lever Intention Sensor, indicating driver’s desire to change gears.
  • TCU sends signal to engage Hydraulic Actuator forming Hydraulic Pressure
  • Hydraulic Pressure is then sent to Concentric Slave Cylinder (CSC) through Clutch Tube
  • Concentric Slave Cylinder uses this pressure to control the clutch and pressure plate, thereby engaging and disengaging the clutch.
  • Driver is able to seamlessly shift gears without the need to mechanically operate clutch pedal
Since the tech is new, the verdict is still out on whether it’ll truly replicate a feel of a manual gearbox. It must be noted that more enthusiastic drivers still note the limitation of computer-controlled components such as the Civic Type R’s rev-matching system.

Regardless, the Hyundai iMT could be a good way to keep driver engagement up while providing an avenue for those who’re too lazy to learn or drive with a clutch pedal.

For its first application, Hyundai has chosen to mate it to the 1.0-liter turbocharged Kappa engine. Kia is also expected to launch its own version of the iMT, and this one will be found in the refreshed Rio. Hyundai hasn’t mentioned if they plan to incorporate the technology on high-performance models in the near future as well.

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