Last year today, at the very same venue, Honda wowed the crowd with a controversial take on the all-new Civic Type R Concept. Say what you want, because the teams at Honda have certainly outdone themselves, going from concept to ‘road going race car’ in just a year’s time.
Seen here in pictures is the production version of the most feral Civic Type R to date, following many teasers including a very clever video advertisement. The numbers we were previously informed – all 280 horsepower of it – proved to be far from the 2.0-litre VTEC’s limit. There’s an old adage saying that we should save the juicy bits for last, so we’ll get to that in a bit
As per our previous report, the red-badged Civic has looks with function, and all of its exterior design elements have been put through extensive aerodynamic optimisation. This includes numerous wind tunnel testing and computer-based modelling in Sakura, Japan, which also happens to be Honda’s Formula One engine development hub.
No Civic Type R is complete without its rear wing. Forgive me for this cliché, but the downforce is strong in this one. Parts that work in tandem to keep the car sucked to the ground includes the wide front bumper and splitter, deeply cut side skirts, almost full-flat underbody, rear spoiler and rear diffuser. These parts have been carefully engineered to optimise downforce without causing drag buildup at higher speeds.
With its turbocharged engine comes great speed and heat – lots of it. To counter this, Honda made the upper and lower front grilles larger to allow greater volume of cooling air into the engine bay.
The latest Type R moniker sits on 19-inch highly rigid alloy wheels, wrapped in a set of slim 235/35 R19 profile tyres that were specifically designed for it. Stopping this hasty front-wheel drive are a pair of Brembo high performance brakes, with the front fitted with four-piston calipers clamping the 350 mm ventilated discs.
New to the Type R is its suspension setup, as it benefits from the brand’s four-point Adaptive Damper System. It enables continuous independent control of each wheel whilst limiting wheel-load transfer during acceleration and deceleration, making your daily drive more comfortable. So they say.
The front axle is suspended by an advanced dual axis strut suspension that helps to reduce torque steer by as much as 50 percent, while the rear gets an H-shaped torsion beam setup, capable of improving rear roll rigidity by 180 percent. That directly translates to better overall handling, if we are to put it simply. Oh, also expect the road feel to increase by a considerable margin too, judging from how it’s sprung.
Inside, the Civic Type R gets a raft of aesthetic and functional upgrades. The gear lever knob, like its predecessor, is entirely machined from aluminium. The sports bucket seats here are trimmed in a combination of black and red suede-like fabric, finished in double red stitching. They really do look comfy as far as pictures can tell. More red can be found on the gear knob and steering wheel, which is home to some of your dedicated function buttons.
Now for the exciting bit. Under the hood rests the newly developed 2.0-litre direct injected turbocharged VTEC engine. The engine is also part of Honda’s next-gen Earth Dreams Technology series, though it’s most unlikely to debut in voluminous cars like the CR-V or Accord. The numbers it makes – 306 hp at 6,500 rpm and 400 Nm of torque from 2,500 rpm; all-time high figures as far as Type Rs are concerned.
This front-wheel drive Civic redlines at 7,000 rpm, and through its six-speed manual gearbox, the car will sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 270 km/h. Honda claims that the sprint time is the fastest of any FWD hatchbacks, trumping Renault’s Megane R.S 275 Trophy-R’s 5.8-second century sprint time. If this gives you any indication, the Civic Type R lapped the Nürburgring in 7:50.63 seconds (video below), a good 4 seconds faster than the comparable Megane R.S 275 and 8 seconds quicker than the Seat Leon Cupra 280.
That laptime should rightfully earn the Civic Type R the ‘King of the Ring’ title, but looking at the growth rate of super fast hot hatches, it could be anyone’s game now. Having said that, what are your thoughts on the new Civic Type R? Did Honda get it right by going down the turbocharging route, and the all-important question is, will it ever find its way to Malaysian ground?