Hyundai iMT: How it works & Advantages Explained

Sankul Nagpal BUYING GUIDE 6 Comments

When it comes to automotive technological innovation, the transmission is one area that has seen significant development over the years. A variety of automatic transmissions have emerged which differ in their functionality but work to make your driving experience more convenient. The latest innovation to be introduced is Hyundai’s iMT or intelligent Manual Transmission, which is also available on the new 2020 Hyundai i20, Hyundai Venue, and the Kia Sonet.

Hyundai Venue

As a pinnacle of research and development, intelligent Manual Transmission is a key development in transmission development in India and is one of the most sophisticated yet efficient transmission systems currently available. Therefore in this article, we will see what makes the Intelligent Manual Transmission a truly remarkable piece of engineering.

What is iMT?

For those wondering what the intelligent Manual Transmission actually is, it is in the simplest of words a clutchless manual transmission. Yes, you heard it right. It indeed is a clutchless manual transmission as it continues to offer a 2 peddle system consisting of the brake and accelerator, along with a conventional manual gearbox. Now, this might seem confusing, but this is where the ‘Intelligence’ comes in. The iMT sits somewhere between the AMT gearbox and the classic manual transmission. With the iMT gearbox, gears are changed seamlessly without the need of pressing the clutch paddles, through intelligent software and actuators that virtually press the clutch paddle, while you manually shift the gear. To summarize, Hyundai’s latest iMT is indeed the best of both worlds!

The Intelligence behind the iMT

Now that you know what an iMT basically is, the next question is how exactly does the system work? Well, we’ve got you covered.

To understand the working of the iMT, let’s first understand its basic components. Firstly, there’s a ‘transmission gear shift lever’ or TGS, which is joined by an intelligent intention sensor, hydraulic actuator, and an (electronic) transmission control unit (TCU). All these components work together with a conventional manual gearbox mated to the engine.

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Now, to drive a car with iMT, the ‘intention sensor’ on the gear lever senses when you are about to shift gears. These intention sensors then send a signal to the transmission control unit or TCU as to when the gears are changed. Then, the TCU sends a signal to the hydraulic clutch actuator to engage or disengage the clutch plate depending on whether the gear is shifted up or down. Here, the work of the actuator is to build up hydraulic pressure and transfer the same via a concentric slave cylinder (CCS) which in turn engages or disengages the clutch plate. Thus, while an automated manual transmission (AMT) and an iMT are both regular manual gearboxes, in an AMT, software governs when and how the shifts happen, while in an iMT the control is in your hands.

The Advantages of using an iMT

It is clear that with the iMT, the driver is surely relieved of clutch operation especially in bumper to bumper traffic in the city, thus making your drive comfortable and hassle free.

Another added advantage for people who love an engaging drive is the fact that even though the iMT gets rid of the clutch paddle, it still provides the driver with control of shifting gears at will. This directly translates to freedom from a loss of desired power that is often experienced in software gear shift in AMT cars. Moreover, Hyundai also claims that the iMT doesn’t “compromise on fuel efficiency and performance” since it uses a conventional manual gearbox underneath. Thus, Hyundai’s iMT gearbox is indeed the best of both worlds.

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Hyundai iMT

For those looking to buy the all-new Hyundai Venue iMT, driving the vehicle at first will surely feel different as you might not be accustomed to shifting the gear lever manually without a clutch pedal action. But over time this technology will prove to be a blessing that can actually offer control of a manual and convenience of an automatic transmission.

The Future of iMT in India

Kia Sonet

With the Hyundai Venue already available with an iMT transmission, the future of this clutchless automatic looks bright and promising. In fact, the recently launched Kia Sonet also comes with an iMT variant. As a technology, iMT has come a long way since it was first introduced aboard the Toyota Fortuner back in 2016. 

Talking about 2 of the hottest vehicles on sale, here’s everything about the iMT variants of the Venue and Kia Sonnet:

VehicleEngineTransmissionPrice (ex-showroom)
Hyundai Venue1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine6 speed iMTSX iMT (₹10 lakhs)
Sports iMT (₹10.25 lakhs)
SX(O) iMT (₹11.14 lakhs)
Kia Sonnet1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine6 speed iMTHTK Plus Turbo iMT (₹4.49 lakhs)
HTX Turbo iMT (₹9.99 lakhs)
HTX Plus Turbo (₹11.65 lakhs)
GTX Plus Turbo (11.99 lakhs)

FAQs about iMT Transmission

Does the iMT match the thrill of a manual?

Can you stall an iMT enabled vehicle?

No, you cannot stall an iMT enabled vehicle. This is because after bringing an iMT vehicle to a halt in first gear, the intelligent sensors automatically disengages the drive and depresses the clutch for you.

Can you start the car in higher gears?

In an iMT equipped car, the clutch does not engage if you are at a standstill in higher gears. In such cases, the driver is prompted by on-board systems to shift down to the appropriate gear. If the car is parked, the driver must engage first or second gear to get moving.

Are iMT gearboxes reliable?

With regard to reliability and long term durability, iMT vehicles are equipped with the same components as a regular manual set-up, with the only difference being the addition of an actuator that’s operating the clutch. The clutch life, therefore, might be 10 or 15 per cent less than a regular one, but that’s an acceptable difference considering the gain in comfort.

Does the iMT gearbox get hill hold system?

The iMT gearbox does get a hill hold system that prevents the car from rolling back when you are driving from a standstill on a steep slope. There are sensors that detect the incline angles and apply the brakes, thus the handbrakes are rarely required.

Is the iMT worth buying?

iMT transmission are ideal for new drivers, who will appreciate the ease of driving an iMT car while more experienced drivers can take advantage of the improved control over an automatic transmission.

Comments 6

  1. Deekshith

    Without the hil assist the is the possibility of vehicle moving backward or front when u engage a reverse gear or first gear in the slope or steep how could we resolve it?

    1. Mark Sanyal

      The Hyundai iMT automatically applies the clutch for you. When you wish to move on a slope, you only need to apply the brakes to stop the car. Once you release the brakes, the car will move in the desired direction, without moving backward first. In many ways, the iMT works like an automatic car.

  2. Shubham Nautiyal

    What happened if actuator has been failed in moving car. How we can change gear Upshift or Downshift? or Sensor is failed?

    1. Mark Sanyal

      The iMT gearbox works in the same way as an AMT gearbox. If the actuator fails while moving, the car will be stuck in the gear it was in. The clutch will still function, so when you brake, it will disengage the gear and keep you in neutral. As you won’t be able to change gears, it is recommended to visit the nearest Hyundai service centre to fix the issue.

    1. Mark Sanyal

      At the moment, Hyundai does not offer a factory-fitted CNG kit for iMT transmission cars. It is also not recommended to fit a CNG kit from a third-party as it is not known if the iMT will be compatible with CNG or not.

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