Honda Civic Type R is a name deeply embedded into the history of hot hatches. However, at some point in the timeline Type R lost its magic, it looked like its creators didn’t really care anymore. While second generation of Civic Type R was extremely fun to drive, third one was slow, big and annoying. It even went back a step in terms of technology – independent rear suspension was changed into a torsion bar, which made handling worse. However, fourth generation came back violently and fifth one barely came out but already claimed Nürburgring front-wheel drive record.
Fourth generation Type R was not universally adored either. It was much different than the Civics we remember (and still had that torsion beam). The entire philosophy behind it changed. It used to be light, easy and fun to drive little car, with no real performance ambitions. Second generation of Civic Type R was not that fast, you had to rev the hell out the engine to get the best out of it. Fourth generation, which came out only in 2015, was very fast though.
It was powered by a 2 litter turbocharged engine, producing 306 bhp and 400 Nm of torque. It had a mad aero package too, it kind of looked like a teenager had a go at it already. And it was so fast, it soon became the quickest FWD car round the Nürburgring. It didn’t hold that record for that long, as Renault, SEAT and eventually Volkswagen got involved in the chasing of it.
Car Throttle video about the new Civic Type R
Now the fifth generation of Honda Civic Type R is out. It looks much different, has better aerodynamic properties, more aggressive gearing in the six speed manual transmission, is lighter, more rigid and torsion beam is gone. It produces the same amount of power, however, which makes its new record even more impressive somehow. Honda says that quicker time is the result of “wider track and tires, a longer wheelbase, a new multi-link suspension in the rear and optimized aerodynamics that improve stability”. So the gain came from higher cornering speed and stability.
Get this – the new Civic Type R is nearly 7 seconds quicker round the Nürburgring than the previous generation. It recorded a time of 7 minutes 43.80 seconds, which is also 3 seconds quicker than the previous FWD record, held by Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S. But there is a little bit of controversy here.
You will notice that the car in the video has no infotainment system and has a massive roll cage. What you don’t see is the lack of rear seats and the type of tires it is using. Furthermore, this Civic Type R is a pre-production development model, which makes people a little angry.
However, Honda says that the roll cage was installed to make car safer in case of an accident – it is a floating kind and does not add rigidity. Seats and display audio system were removed to compensate for the added weight of the cage. And tires – well, they are street-legal, but owners of the new Type R will have to install them by themselves.
But it doesn’t matter. Controversy followed previous Volkswagen’s achievement too. No one really cares about these times, as long as the car is good. And just by watching the video you kind of want to drive it, so hopefully it is.