2015 Honda Civic Type R details
The 2015 Honda Civic Type R is back. Boasting 228kW and 400Nm, Honda says its a ‘race car for the road’.
HONDA HAS DETAILED its 2015 Honda Civic Type R ahead of it going on-sale across Europe in July. After a five year absence, Honda claims this new Civic Type R “is powered by the most extreme and high-performing Type R engine ever built, and will set new standards in the high-performance front-wheel drive hatchback segment”.
And that’s potentially quite true given that a pre-production Civic Type R lapped the 20.8 km Nürburgring Nordschleife in a record-breaking 7 minutes 50.63 seconds. If Honda can replicate that lap time with a production version it’ll make the Civic Type R the fastest front-drive hatchback around the Nürburgring. Challenge. Accepted?
Available only as a five-door model with two trim grades to choose from, Honda says the “new Civic Type R has been engineered to deliver a dynamic, class-leading performance whether on fast roads, winding roads or the circuit. At the same time it delivers the ease of use and practical packaging expected of a Civic”. Sure sounds good.
Under the bonnet is an all-new, direct-injected turbocharged 2.0-litre VTEC TURBO petrol engine, which thumps out 228kW at 6500rpm and 400Nm of torque at 2500rpm, both higher than for any previous Honda Type R model. This is mated to a six-speed manual only. Why, only a manual? Because wanted “to safeguard an intimate, rewarding connection with the driver while making the most of the engine’s high output, strong torque and high revs”. Bless them.
Red-lining at 7000 rpm, the engine – part of Honda’s next-generation Earth Dreams Technology series – features a new turbocharging system which incorporates Variable Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) technology to “boost low-end torque while delivering sustained acceleration”. Honda says it’s fitted an electronic wastegate to further improve throttle response, thanks to it offering a “higher degree of freedom in induction pressure control”.
Geek alert. Because the Type R’s new engine runs a high compression ratio of 9.8 and is turbocharged, thermal management was vitally important. As a result, the boffins incorporated numerous cooling technologies, such as cylinder head and piston cooling, sodium-filled exhaust valves and a high-capacity air-to-air intercooler. The cylinder head has a two-piece water jacket, lowering exhaust gas temperature and effectively lowering the combustion chamber temperature, while each piston individually features a cooling channel to provide increased oil flow. Together, these technologies ensure the engine always delivers a high output even under high load, high speed driving conditions
The new Civic Type R goes from 0-100km/g in 5.7 seconds and top speed, where permitted, is 270km/h. Despite this, the Civic Type R achieves low CO2 emissions of just 170 g/km and returns 7.3L/100km.
Beyond the engine, aerodynamics were of vital importance, Honda says. Development work was validated through extensive prototype testing on road and track: at Suzuka, the Nürburgring Nordschleife and at the Takasu test facility.
The result was a new, almost completely flat underside aids airflow under the vehicle and combines with a rear diffuser to optimise downforce – effectively ‘sucking’ the car onto the road. A wide front splitter and deep side skirts also manage airflow to generate downforce on the front axle and reduce lift, while the front bumper has been designed specifically to inhibit air turbulence around the front wheels, enhancing high-speed stability and further reducing lift forces.
The new Civic Type R’s front and rear wheel arches are widened to accommodate an increase in front and rear track over the standard Civic. The integrated arch extensions are in aluminium, providing a 42% weight saving over a conventional steel panel. The vents in the trailing edge of the front wheel arch extension also improve heat dissipation from the brakes.
New lightweight, high rigidity 19-inch alloy wheels, unique to the new Civic Type R, complement the visual changes. They fill the enlarged wheel arches with 235/35 R19 rubber developed by Continental especially for the Civic Type R.
Inside, the seats, steering wheel and gear stick are all unique to the Type R model and “take into account driving position, visibility of key information and driver control requirements”. According to Honda, “an important factor in providing a suitable driving position for the new Civic Type R is the seat height. By reviewing the density and height of the urethane foam used in the seat, engineers were able to make the front seats 20% leaner, while maintaining comfort for day-to-day driving. This translated into a structurally low seat and enabled a hip point that sits 20mm lower in the seat than that of the standard car. The floor was also lowered by 10mm, meaning the overall hip point is fully 30 mm closer to the road than in the standard car”.
The rear seat has been redesigned and will hold two passengers and, although the tip up function of the seat base has been deleted the seat back offers a 60:40 split fold function and flat loading space when folded. The modifications result in a weight saving of 17% compared to the standard Civic five-door while retaining the same maximum load volume.
An intelligent Multi Information Display (i-MID) includes display information specific to the Civic Type R. Additional information screens unique to Type R can be individually selected by the driver and include:
• G-meter and brake pressure / accelerator pedal position;
• Boost pressure, water temperature, oil pressure and oil temperature;
• Lap time;
• Acceleration time (0-100km/h); and
• Acceleration time (0-100 m or 0-1/4 mile).
The Civic Type R gets a clever new four-wheel Adaptive Damper System which was developed specifically for the Type R. Honda says it “enables continuous independent control of each wheel (the system monitors the car’s status every 1/500th of a second) to deliver exceptional road holding performance, limit wheel-load transfer during sharp acceleration and deceleration, and maintain a stable, flat ride. It also means that the ride is more comfortable and supple in everyday driving and cruising”.
The Type R’s H-shaped torsion beam rear suspension has been made of crushed pipes rather than a solid block (as on the garden-variety car) which improves rear roll rigidity by 177% and removes the need for a rear anti-roll bar, thus saving weight. Very high resistance trailing arm bushes also help to improve lateral rigidity, allegedly.
The car also gets Agile Handling Assist which operates through the Vehicle Stability Assist system and applies a light braking force, imperceptible to the driver, to the inner wheels when the steering wheel is turned. The result is increased vehicle responsiveness and stability.
Ensuring the Civic Type R can stop is a Brembo brake package developed specifically for the thing. At the front, four-piston calipers clamp 350mm discs – the largest ever to have been installed on a production Type R model – which are drilled to aid cooling under extreme load. The diameter of the rear discs was increased by 20mm, as well as the thickness, in order to increase heat capacity and improve performance.
The new Civic Type R debuts the new ‘+R’ mode that “increases the response of various chassis and drivetrain systems. This delivers an even more intense driving experience which is ideal for the track”. Located to the left of the steering column for left-hand drive cars, and to the right for right-hand drive cars, when +R mode is activated a number of visual changes alert the driver. The floating dial surrounds in the instrument binnacle change from glowing white to glowing red. A +R logo is displayed to the left of the rev indicator and the Idling Stop system is disabled.
With +R mode selected, several dynamic changes are activated within the Civic Type R’s powertrain and dynamics systems:
“Engine responsiveness is heightened, with torque-mapping changed to a more aggressive and performance-focused setting allowing more of the available torque to be unleashed at lower engine speeds. The electronic power steering becomes shorter-geared with reduced power assistance to provide a heavier and tighter steering feel.
“Basic damping force from the new four-point Adaptive Damper System is increased by 30% making the behaviour of the car firmer and more agile for high-performance handling. The Vehicle Stability Assist programme is adjusted to focus on acceleration and performance, allowing a greater yaw and slip rate before intervening.”
The all-new Honda Connect infotainment system is standard to the new Civic Type R. Honda Connect runs Android only, and employs the familiar ‘pinch, swipe and tap‘ functionality of a smartphone to access its features. The new system’s functions include: internet access, pre-installed apps, Honda App Centre, AM/FM/DAB and internet radio, phone interface and Bluetooth connectivity and steering wheel controls and rear-view parking camera with dynamic guidelines. Sound is fed through a six-speaker 320-watt sound system.
At the time of writing Honda still hadn’t publicly announced it would import the Civic Type R into Australia. Despite speculation back in December the car would be coming to Australia, Honda Australia boss Stephen Collins told Practical Motoring back in March the thing was on a wish list with plenty of local demand, but that there was no firm decision yet. We’ve asked the question of Honda Australia now that the Type R has been launched in the UK and we’ll update this story when we hear back.