Powertrain and chassis
Not a great deal is carried over from the previous Type R, but the engine, transmission and brakes are. Honda could not simply drop the old engine into the new car, however, so the 2.0-litre VTEC turbo unit has been ‘optimised and refined’. This means an extra 19 horses, now putting out 320hp with peak torque of 400Nm.
The six-speed manual transmission has been improved too – a switchable ‘rev’ match’ system added. As its name suggests this precisely aligns engine speed to transmission to ensure the most efficient shifts and no ‘shock’ through the gearbox. And the Brembo braking package boasts bigger discs.
Possibly the most visual aspect of the powertrain changes are the triple tailpipes of the exhaust, looking for all the world like some weapon pointing at following vehicles. Exhaust flow is improved by 10% while the smaller central pipe performs multiple functions, both improving efficiency and that essential element, the sound the car makes!
All of which contributes to a 5.7-second 0-62mph time and a 169mph top speed. The Civic Type R claims the title of fastest-accelerating car in its class. It also – currently – holds the title more manufacturers these days appear to be chasing, as the fastest front-wheel drive car ever around the daunting 14-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife track in Germany.
Honda also dubs the Type R’s chassis as the most sophisticated in the model’s history. Allied to the platform and rigidity improvements is the significantly revamped suspension. The front MacPherson struts use a lot of aluminium and a bespoke ‘dual-axis’ setup which cuts torque steer – the tendency of a powerful front-wheel-drive car to want to go sideways when the power is put down.
The rear suspension is completely new too, a multi-link system designed to improve stability under braking. But just as important are the revisions to the adaptive dampers, both improving performance at pace but adding ride comfort in normal use.
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