GKN Driveline has developed a new family of lightweight constant velocity joint (CV joint) systems that enable rear-wheel drive platforms to save more than 4kg of weight. Higher performance drivelines with less rotating mass are a key element in auto industry CO2 reduction strategies.

Karl Berger, GKN Driveline senior director of constant velocity joints, said: "GKN innovations make vehicles better to drive and more efficient. For premium rear-wheel drive programmes seeking CO2 emissions reductions, this system represents a step forward in weight, efficiency, performance and refinement for premium rear-wheel drive cars."

GKN's new VL3 CV joint increases torque capacity by up to 27% with no increase in packaging size. Available in four sizes, the VL3-33ISM variant now has a torque capacity of 3300Nm in a package previously capable of delivering only 2600Nm. The VL3 CV joint system can also maintain performance while reducing package size by approximately 7%. Overall, the sideshaft system offers weight reduction of up to 4.2kg per vehicle set.

With a plunging distance of 18mm, the VL3 is the best choice for a rear constant velocity sideshaft for medium working angles with low axial forces and best in class minimum backlash. It uses a Monobloc Tubular Shaft and Face Spline connection to the wheel hub to achieve significant packaging and weight advantages as well as noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) behaviour benefits. The result is a more refined driving experience.

GKN pioneered the highly-efficient CounterTrack principle on fixed joints starting in 2009 and the VL3 joint further builds on this success. The VL3 Monobloc joint uses a new and innovative track geometry with four pairs of opposed ball tracks instead of three, which enables it to transmit more torque to wheels within the same packaging space. The joint is further enhanced through the use of a diaphragm boot sealing system, instead of a standard boot and cap, which helps reduce axial packaging, grease volume and weight.

Berger added: "GKN has pioneered the development of CV joints for more than 60 years.  These latest innovations offer improvements in every area of importance for automakers, including strength, endurance, efficiency and weight, helping to produce a dynamic driving performance and optimising power delivery from the engine to the wheels. We have also minimized backlash, which leads to a refined driving experience."

The VL3 joint has entered series production and will be on the road in new vehicles from 2016.