With this latest endeavour, Hyundai becomes only the third company in the world to develop its own six-speed automatic transaxle, behind Toyota and a GM/Ford joint venture.
The new transmission has been designed for transverse engine applications in passenger vehicles, and is 12kg lighter with 62 fewer parts compared to the current five-speed automatic transmission which it replaces.
The addition of a sixth gear enables closer spacing between ratios providing a better balance of performance and fuel economy, while the wide overall gear ratio helps deliver strong acceleration.
"The strength of our design is its completely unique layout, which makes it smaller, more compact and lighter than any other six-speed on the market today," said Hong-Min Kim, the project manager of the transaxle at Hyundai R&D Centre.
The new transmission will be rolled out on selected models in 2009 onwards, making its debut in the Hyundai Grandeur equipped with a 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine.
In this model, it delivers an aforementioned 12.2 percent gain in fuel economy, slashes the zero to 100km/h sprint by 0.2 seconds and offers better overtaking performance.
The transmission is also maintenance-free, needing no top-up of fluids over its lifespan, thereby reducing servicing costs.
A total of 16 petrol and diesel models in the Hyundai line-up will receive the new six-speed transmission, including a redesigned Santa Fe which is due to arrive in late 2009.