Honda Civic Type R
Honda Motor Europe Ltd today announced the eagerly awaited new Civic Type R, the successor to a model whose unique blend of affordability, exhilarating driving characteristics and everyday usability resulted in sales that exceeded all expectations.
There will be different levels of equipment available, ranging from a fully equipped car to one that even has the rear parcel shelf removed. With these variants, the new Civic Type R therefore looks set to endear itself to a whole new wave of enthusiasts and to repeat the cult success of the first ‘CTR’ which exceeded all sales predictions. The new Civic Type R will receive its international show debut in Paris during September and sales are expected to begin in 2007.
Given the outstanding performance credentials of its predecessor, Honda saw little purpose in increasing engine output. The new Type R therefore continues to be powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.0 litre DOHC i-VTEC engine with similar output, but reworked for greater refinement and responsiveness thanks to a new balancer shaft and a drive-by-wire throttle. The 201 PS maximum power output is now reached at 8,000 rpm (previously 200 PS at 7,400 rpm).
While the headline performance figures are expected to be virtually identical to the 6.6 second 0-100 km/h time and 235 km/h top speed of the Type R in its previous incarnation, the engine enhancements mean the new car is more responsive generally, while improved aerodynamics ensures the new car cuts through the air more cleanly. Slightly lower gearing compensates for a small increase in kerb weight.
VTEC variable valve timing and VTC variable inlet camshaft technology continue to underpin the engine architecture. Its exhilarating, high revving nature is retained, but the switch to high lift, long duration valve timing now takes place at a lower 5,200 rpm, and continues all the way to the 8,000 rpm red line. There is a new i-VTEC indicator just to the right of the digital speedometer which is illuminated within this rev range.
Widely praised for its ride and handling balance, the chassis of the Civic 5-door forms the basis for all 3-door models and provides an ideal platform for a high performance derivative. Building on the Civic Type S suspension which is fine-tuned for sharper chassis dynamics to match its sportier profile, the Type R takes those modifications on to the next level. Like the Type S, its rear track is 20 mm wider than that of the 5-door model, but otherwise damper, bush and spring characteristics are all unique to Type R.
225/40 ZR18 tyres provide added grip, while the 15 mm reduction in ride height further reduces body roll. What’s more, the fuel tank’s central location beneath the cabin floor lowers the centre of gravity and the body’s inertia moment. Firmer steering, a quicker ratio and stiffer steering box mountings in combination provide pin-sharp responses to steering wheel input.
The Civic 5-door already offers one of the stiffest body structures in the C-segment; and the Type R’s body is further enhanced, playing a key role in the particularly responsive chassis dynamics. Extra strengthening has been introduced into the floor cross member just ahead of the central fuel tank, around the upper front suspension mountings, while the lower cross member just ahead of engine bay provides greater rigidity. The overall result is a chassis offering more predictable characteristics than the old model, with levels of responsiveness and stability that are some of the best in class. At the same time, the damper settings deliver enhanced ride comfort in keeping with the increased refinement of the new Type R.
The new Type R’s bold styling is undeniably assertive in its appearance. The aggressive looking body has a series of fully integrated aerodynamic parts that together with a 15 mm reduced ride height – compared to 5-door and Type S models – and standard seven-spoke 18” alloy wheels, are a clear indication of the car’s potent nature. The deep front spoiler incorporates a larger air intake as well as triangular foglamps whose shape mirrors the large exhaust tailpipes at the rear. There’s a distinct body coloured tailgate rear spoiler for added downforce that splits the rear tailgate glass rather than the raised glass profile featured on Civic 5-door and Type S models.
Other identifying features are deliberately discrete: Type R logos feature on the front brake callipers and the glass panel grille of the Civic Type S is replaced with a honeycomb mesh and central red ‘H’ logo.
Step over the stainless steel door sill inserts, complete with ‘Type R’ logo, into the cabin, and again there is no mistaking that this is a car developed for driving excitement. Front seat occupants are gripped by bucket seats with large black Alcantara bolsters with red stitching and red fabric seat cushions and backs. Two distinct rear seats repeat the same colour coordination. The highly effective and strikingly stylish Dual Link concept fascia common to other Civic models naturally features in the Type R, but with red illuminated dials set off by gun metallic switch panels on either side of the meter display. The driver grips a black, perforated leather covered steering wheel with red stitching and central ‘H’ logo, while the matching gear shift knob with aluminium-finish has a black boot with red stitching.
And, as a finishing touch and for added exclusivity there is a plaque engraved with the car’s unique serial number placed just ahead of the gear lever.
For those customers who want added convenience and an enhanced specification, there will be a fully equipped version available. Additional features include curtain SRS bags, cruise control, fog lights, automatic lights and wipers and dual zone air conditioning. A state-of-the-art Navigation system, with voice control functionality as well as RDS traffic monitoring, is offered as an option.
Taking the Type R philosophy to its logical conclusion, a lighter Civic Type R will be available. The deletion of items such as the audio system, rear load cover, engine under cover and reduced noise insulation material brings weight down by 40 kg. This version forms the basis for receiving FIA Group A homologated prepared parts. In addition, the Civic Type R itself will be homologated to FIA Group N and Group A as well as the forthcoming Group R.
All the range of Type R and Type S, are to be built exclusively alongside the Civic 5-door range at the Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd. (HUM) in Swindon.
Source: Honda press