The new Honda Civic Type R can come with or without a wing
Always wanted a Honda Civic Type R, but thought that either a) it was a bit too wing-ey or B) there were too many of them on the road? Well now there are two special editions that should ease your worries.
The FK8 Civic Type R is one mighty hot hatchback, but compared to the Golf GTI, for example, it’s always been quite in your face when it comes to looks. Well with the model update for 2020 (which includes an updated normal Civic Type R and the Civic Type R Limited Edition) we now have the Civic Type R Sport Line. It offers something of a solution to the lairyness, with a toned-down exterior and a much more restrained interior, all “to appeal to a customer who seeks a subtler look”.
At the front of the Type R Sport Line you’ll spot the wider air intake, the new, tiny strakes in the bumper and the blanked off bumper grilles (before they were fake grilles), all updates applied as part of the FK8 facelift. At the back, however, the big rear wing of old has been replaced by a much smaller, much lower and much less overt spoiler. Air still channels underneath the spoiler, and there are still ridges at each end to create little vortices, but all in all it’s a much subtler look.
Climb inside and you’ll notice the updated infotainment system with actual physical buttons, again changes made as part of the model’s refresh, but the bright red Type R bucket seats are now black. There’s a tear drop gear lever, too, and an Alcantara steering wheel. A quick glance at the rear view mirror reveals a whole new world of rear visibility thanks to that smaller wing.
There’s more to the Type R Sport Line than black seats and a smaller wing, though. Honda promises “a more refined ride” thanks to exclusive 19-inch dark grey alloy wheels (that’s one inch smaller than normal) that are shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S with a softer sidewall. There’s more sound proofing in the boot floor and tailgate, too.
When asked if the smaller rear wing meant a lower top speed or a reduction in downforce, the Civic Type R’s project leader Hideki Kakinuma was keen to point out that the smaller spoiler really wouldn’t change things. Why? Put simply, the rear wing has always done more for stability than it has for downforce, and little aero tweaks elsewhere mean stability, downforce top speed and efficiency remain almost identical. Clever stuff.
What else is new? Well as one of the now three-model Civic Type R Range, the Sport Line features the Honda LogR data logger, which helps you get faster on the track and smother on the road. There’s also Active Sound Control, which uses the car’s speakers to enhance engine noise or noise-cancel depending on whether you’re in Comfort, Sport or Plus R mode. Moreover, there are now two-piece front brake disks that reduce weight, reduce wear and improve performance, and tweaks to the suspension, amongst other updates. For more info on all of that, read our more general story on the updated 2020 Civic Type R.
Does the subtler look work? Sort of, but in truth the rest of the car looks exactly the same. The dark seats, however, look superb, and it’ll be interesting to see how the comfort orientated tweaks change the Type R’s character.
Also joining the Type R lineup is the Type R Limited Edition. With “track performance as its core focus”, just 100 Civic Type R Limited Editions are coming to Europe, 20 of which have been allocated to the UK. How much they'll cost remains to be seen, but expect to pay a few thousand pounds more than the standard car – you’d expect as much for a car that’s been “designed and engineered to be the most dynamic front-wheel-drive hatchback available”.
What’s new? Well, like the Limited Edition is based on the facelifted 2020 Civic Type R, so there are slightly different front and rear bumpers, a better infotainment system, a different teardrop-shaped gear knob, tweaks to the suspension, two-piece front brake disks and a Honda LogR data logger system to mention just a few updates.
What sets the Limited Edition apart from the rest of the Type R family? Well that’s where things get interesting. There’s no more power or torque, but a total of 47kg has been stripped away. The most obvious omissions are that of the infotainment system (-5.4kg) and air conditioning (-10.4kg), but sound deadening has been stripped away from the engine bay, boot lid and boot floor, too, and the 20-inch BBS forged alloy wheels save a total of 10kg. Those lightweight wheels are clad with Michelin Cup 2 tyres, so the front end will feel pointier than ever. What’s more, the dampers have been modified to optimise the new wheel and tyre combo, and the power steering system has been recalibrated, too.
You’ll notice the new, and very, very bright ‘Sunshine Yellow’ paint, available exclusively to the Limited Edition, and the Civic badge at the back is finished in a dark chrome. There’s a contrasting gloss black paint on roof, wing mirrors and intake vent on bonnet as well.
It probably isn’t the most extreme FK8 Type R we’ll see – expect there to be a big, brash goodbye before this generation of Civic ends – but, all things considered, it’s a nice step beyond the standard car. We can’t wait to drive it.