After a five-year hiatus, the all-new 2015 Honda Civic Type R is back. Unveiled in full for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show, Honda’s latest performance icon sees the first application of Honda’s new 2.0 litre VTEC Turbo four-cylinder engine, aggressive function-led styling, and pioneering new chassis technologies that the Japanese firm says are set to deliver one of the most immersive and rewarding driving experiences available in any sector.
Exterior wise, the Civic Type R has been toned down a few notches compared to the striking Type R concept showcased exactly a year ago. Nevertheless, the Civic Type R’s unique styling changes still give the car an aggressive, purposeful stance, with new front and rear bumpers, pumped up wheel fenders, side skirts, rear diffuser and a prominent rear wing.
The focus on aerodynamics means the new Civic Type R gets a new, almost completely flat underside that aids airflow under the vehicle. Combined with the rear diffuser, downforce is optimised – effectively ‘sucking’ the car onto the road.
The rear wing has been reimagined from the Type R Concept. The structure of the airfoil – its angle, height and shape as well as its vertical end plates – have been carefully engineered to optimise downforce without causing a significant increase in drag at higher speeds. This helps improve road-holding abilities, particularly through high-speed corners.
A wide front splitter and deep side skirts also manage airflow and reduce lift, while the front bumper has been shaped specifically to inhibit air turbulence around the front wheels, enhancing high-speed stability and reducing lift forces.
Heat management was another major focus for the design team. Enlarged upper and lower grilles in the front bumper direct more air into the engine bay. The airflow is channelled to outlet vents above the wheels on the front quarter panels and vents at the trailing edges of the widened front wheel arches to provide greater cooling and ventilation for the high-output engine.
New lightweight, high rigidity 19-inch alloy wheels, unique to the Type R, complement the visual changes. They fill the enlarged wheel arches with 235/35R19 tyres that were developed specially for the Type R.
At the heart of the Civic Type R is an all-new, direct-injected turbocharged 2.0 litre VTEC Turbo petrol engine, which Honda says is the most extreme and high-performing engine in the 22-year history of the red ‘H’ badge. Peak power is rated at 231kW, accompanied by 400Nm of torque, both figures are higher than for any previous Honda Type R model.
Red-lining at 7,000 rpm, the engine motivates the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. The launch from zero to 100km/h is covered in 5.7 seconds, making it the fastest accelerating performance front-wheel drive hatchback. The Civic Type R maxes out at 270km/h.
Stopping power is provided by a set of Brembo brakes, developed specifically for the car. At the front, four-piston calipers act on 350 mm drilled discs.
Agile handling is taken care of by a new suspension system with adaptive dampers and a Dual Axis Strut Front Suspension system that helps to reduce torque steer by 50 per cent compared to the standard Civic’s suspension set up. At the rear, Type R’s H-shaped torsion beam suspension is constructed with a bespoke ‘crushed pipe’ which improves rear roll rigidity by 180 per cent.
The new Civic Type R also debuts a new ‘+R’ mode, which when activated, sharpens engine response, reduces steering assistance and stiffens up the adaptive dampers for even better handling and performance.
A range of aesthetic and functional upgrades within the cabin reinforce the Type R’s sporting character. As with previous Type R models, the gear lever knob is made from machined aluminium alloy. The driver and front passenger are supported by high-backed sports seats, trimmed in suede-effect black fabric with red double stitching.
Matching red double stitching also appears on the black leather-clad steering wheel and blackgear-lever gaiter. The roof-lining is trimmed in black fabric, augmenting the focused ambience.
The all-new Honda Civic Type R will go on sale across Europe from mid 2015. with Australian introduction slated to follow shortly after.