A buck eighty ... in a Civic?

Much has been said about the Honda Civic Type R, usually about its handling characteristics. Front-wheel-drive cars typically aren’t known for such things, but Honda engineers have the hot hatch dialed in nearly to perfection. The downside is that the Civic’s straight-line guff often goes unnoticed, but not by the folks at L’argus.

We actually covered one of their videos back in 2017 when the Civic Type R was fresh and new. Honda lists the official top speed for the Type R at 169 mph – not at all shabby for a car with humble econo-hatchback roots. That run saw the Civic exceed its rating by few clicks to 174 mph, but now the figures are even higher – 180.2 mph (290 km/h) to be exact.

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Let that sink in for a moment. 180 mph … in a factory stock Honda Civic. Yes, the car featured in the video is stock, but it’s also not a typical model. This is the new Limited Edition, which rides on special lightweight wheels, tweaked dampers, and incorporates a recalibrated steering system. It’s also 28 pounds lighter than the standard Type R.

Those changes certainly help with handling, but curiously, engine output is unchanged. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder still develops 306 horsepower (228 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of twist, frantically turning the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. The weight reduction certainly helps with acceleration – the Limited Edition jumps to 124 mph (200 km/h) in 18 seconds, and terminal velocity is achieved in a little over one minute. A lack of weight doesn’t necessarily help the Honda push through high-speed air, however. It takes more power to overcome such drag.

Does this mean the Type R Limited Edition actually has more power than advertised? Not necessarily; there are numerous reasons why this particular car reached the 180-mph mark, not the least of which being speedometer error or a tailwind. Regardless, it’s more proof that the Type R isn’t just a corner carver, but a properly fast machine that can certainly surprise people.

Gallery: 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition