Signifying 22 years of experience developing high performance cars, this is the latest masterpiece to come out of Honda that wears the iconic red ‘H’ badge, the 2015 Civic Type R. Now on production, now on sale, and now ready to terrorize the roads.
Think about it. Honda spent a good 5 years developing this hot hatch, which they billed as a ‘race car for the road’. So, just imagine how good it’ll be with you sitting behind the wheel.
A lot of those years in R&D were spent in Honda’s dedicated automotive motorsports facility in Sakura, Japan. There, they sculpted the latest incarnation of the Civic Type R through computer-based CFD modeling and a wind tunnel, making sure it stays glued to the ground especially at high speeds. That explains the need for a large front splitter, deep side skirts, a flat underbody, and rear diffuser. Also, the huge rear wing isn’t just for show. It was ‘re-imagined’ from the Type R Concept so that the airfoil’s angle, height, and vertical end plates optimizes downforce without increasing drag.
The huge intakes on the front bumper, on the other hand, allows more air into the engine bay to cool the new Earth Dreams 2.0L 4-cylinder VTEC TURBO engine that’s connected to 6-speed manual transmission. This monster peaks at 306 hp and 400 Nm of torque, while the red line goes all the way to 7,000 rpm. At best, it allows the Type R to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in a hair raising 5.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 270 km/h.
The engineers at Honda HQ also geeked out on the suspension, developing gizmos such as a 4-point Adaptive Damper System, Dual Axis Strut Front Suspension, and an H-shaped torsion beam suspension. These enable the car to control each wheel independently, reduce torque steer by 50%, and improve rear roll rigidity by 180%. Also do care to notice the lovely Brembo brakes and 19-inch alloys fitted on all 4 corners.
With the collection of all these parts, the pre-production prototype was then tested and developed on several circuits such as Suzuka, Honda’s Takasu test facility, and the legendary Nürburgring. And as a testament to Honda’s mastery of building the ultimate front-engined front-wheel-drive hot hatch, the Civic Type R managed to lap the Nordschleife in 7 minutes 50.63 seconds.
This makes it quicker than a Ferrari F430, Porsche 997 Turbo, and what used to be the quickest FF around the ‘Ring, the Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy R.
For something as uncompromising as this in terms of performance, the Civic Type R surprisingly does have a rather plush interior. The sports seats are trimmed in suede black fabric with red stitching, while the flat bottom steering wheel is clad in leather. It also has a shift knob machined from aluminum alloy to add some ambience.
Honda definitely took their time developing a quality race car for the everyday driver. And what they ended up with made all those 5 years worth the wait.