Published on March 7th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Honda Civic Type-R NÜRBURGRING Video Run
It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 years since the last Civic Type R came and left. Over here, it was one of the defining front-wheel drive performance cars- taking over from the Satria GTi, and eventually giving way to the Megane RS250 when it departed. Of course overseas, it had tougher competition, being grouped with cars like the Golf GTI and other hot hatchbacks- basically against any other high performance front-wheel drive machine. But now it has returned, purely in hatchback form; the previous Civic Type R came in either sedan or hatchback flavour, with the hatchback being more for the European market.
The Civic Type R is an important model for Honda. While the NSX is arguably their ultimate achievement, the Civic Type R is a more accurate halo car for the brand, aggressive and accessible in the same breath. It represents what Honda stands for- in their spirit of racing, and their belief in pushing the limits of engineering. Throughout the years, the number of Type R variants in Honda’s stable has diminished, but the Civic has remained.
Let’s get down to the specs. This time around, the Civic Type R is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre VTEC motor, being the first force-inducted Honda motor. Honda has long said that they believe they can extract more power from their engines without the need for forced induction, and for the most part they’re right- their motors are staggeringly powerful. But in today’s world of emission and efficiency regulations, turbocharging is necessary to meet standards.
Of course the performance benefits are clearly evident- the motor produces a staggering 310 PS at 6,500 rpm and 400 Nm at 2,500 rpm. It may not be the screamer that you would expect of Honda, but the sheer power and torque output and an adjusted final drive can more than make up for the lack of soundtrack. Thankfully the Civic Type R retains a 6-speed manual transmission, as opposed to other hot hatches that are progressing towards dual clutches. The century sprint is dispatched with in just 5.7 seconds.
In terms of overall chassis design, the Civic Type R runs on the same platform as the Honda Civic hatch, designed for the European market. But there are some stark differences to the sedan- for one, the rear suspension uses a H-shaped torsion bar, which is a similar concept to the HR-V’s H-shaped torsion bar for their all-wheel drive system. Torsion beams are proving to be very popular amongst hot hatchback manufacturers, as they can deliver the necessary characteristics for a performance application, with far less complexity. This was the same case with the previous generation Civic Type R hatchback as well.
An ‘Active Damper System’ is also included, which actively varies damping across each of the wheels to maintain maximum contact. The front end has a ‘Dual Axis Strut’, which is said to cut understeer and torque steer significantly. If the name is anything to go by, this is a similar system to Renault’s Megane RS250 and the second generation Ford Focus RS.
The last of the serious performance engineering for the Civic Type R lies in the aerodynamics. Whether you’re a fan of large wings or not, the Civic Type R’s wing is entirely functional, working in tandem with a near flat underbody and a proper rear diffuser. The front bumper, splitter, and side skirts have all been designed carefully to minimise turbulence and enhance stability at higher speeds. Downforce figures haven’t been provided, but it shows that Honda is really throwing everything they have at the Civic Type R in order to make it the fastest on the market.
Everything else is as you’d expect. A racier interior, more aggressive styling, larger brakes, better cooling for the engine bay- all the modifications you would want for a hot hatch. The ‘+R’ mode is said to make the car even more aggressive, perhaps for track use, but chances are it will be too harsh for road applications- especially with our roads. Championship White makes a return in the paint lineup for the Civic Type R, along with Crystal Black (pearlescent), Polished Metal (metallic), Brilliant Sporty Blue (metallic) and Milano Red. It’s got some large shoes to fill, but given that it’s cleared the Nurburgring in a startling fast 7 minutes and 50 seconds, it should be competent enough.