What the Man Behind the Civic Type R Told Us – Drive Safe and Fast

Automotive

Published on August 12th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair

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What the Man Behind the Civic Type R Told Us

After the Civic Type R (FK8) launch at the Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS) 2017, we had the opportunity to sit down for a very special interview. It was with Chief Engineer and Assistant Large Project Leader of the Civic Type R, Mr Hideki Kakinuma. Mr. Kakinuma has been working for Honda since the early 90s and has worked on many aspects of vehicle development throughout his career.

This new Civic Type R is a particularly special one. It’s the first time Honda has made a Type R variant for the global market. For decades, this was a vehicle reserved only for certain markets. Creating a practical pocket rocket for the world presents many immense challenges, especially with environmental and safety regulation being as stringent as they are in 2017.

 

After picking Kakinuma-san’s brain for half an hour, here are some interesting facts about the FK8.

There Will Be No AWD Version of the Type R

The principle of the Civic Type R has always been centred around ‘front-engined’, ‘front-wheel drive’, for maximum weight savings and lower complexity.

The ‘transmission tunnel’ in the centre is for the exhaust system

Honda didn’t put it there to test out an AWD variant. They put it there to keep the exhaust system in the centre. The previous Civic Type R featured a fuel tank that was carried forward. This meant that the exhaust had to be routed around the thing. For the current Civic, this central bulge serves to hold the exhaust components as well as provide some structural support.

The triple exhaust isn’t for show, it’s for sound.


Or at least, to reduce it.

A common, but almost-unspoken reason why even practical sportscars aren’t popular is because on long highway drives, the exhaust noise can be quite… well, exhausting. Sure, every speed freak wants to be noticed on the road, but it can be very boomy in the cabin. On the FK8 Type R, you’ll find a funky looking triple exhaust design. The two on either side are just regular exhaust pipes, but the one in the centre works as a resonator. This ensures that drivers get the great exhaust notes that they want at certain RPMs, but reduces the boominess in the cabin.

The engine is tuned to the kind of fuel that’s most widely available

Honda built the Civic Type R to work in many markets. The Japanese version was tested for RON100, and is tuned specifically for that fuel. Our version is similar to what the U.S. market has. It is made to work with RON95 and generates about 10PS less power than the JDM spec car as a result. Not a significant tradeoff, and we doubt filling it with locally available RON100 blends will give you those lost horses back.

There will be no sedan variant of the Type R

This current Civic will only be produced in 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback variants. Honda knew early on that the 4-door sedan would make up the bulk of buyers, so the hatchback version was always marketed as the sportier alternative. Thus, the Type R was built on the hatchback’s body style.

That being said, there are plenty of changes

A 2-litre VTEC Turbo Engine, a 6-speed manual, lots more aero and downforce, bigger brakes, much more sophisticated suspension, advanced structural adhesive to improve rigidity, a lot much sportier interior and exterior, various driving modes (including +R) along with loads of other features unique to the Type R. Yes, it looks like a Civic, but the Type R is from another plane of existence.


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