2016 Honda Civic Type R set for European launch
The early anticipated 2015 Honda Civic Type R bowed in Geneva, but unfortunately for American enthusiasts, this one's for Europe only. With its aero-optimized body, upgraded suspension and brakes, competition-inspired cabin and packing a new 306-horsepower engine, it's simply the most performance-focused production Civic ever created by Honda. Here's a quick rundown of what we'll be missing.
While its development wasn't quite as intensive as Honda's Formula One effort, the new Civic Type R benefitted from the same kind of racing-derived engineering and wind tunnel work before its final design was settled. That recasting starts with a redrawn front fascia that features a deeper front splitter and larger, more efficient air intakes which work with the Type R's extended side skirts. Out back, the large rear spoiler teams with a highly effective diffuser as well as a full underbody fairing to keep this hot Civic more confidently planted at speeds of up to 167 mph.
New 2.0-liter engine
Helping the new Type R reach that velocity and sprint to 62 mph in 5.7 seconds is an all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged/direct-injected VTEC 4-cylinder engine backed by a quick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission. Part of automaker's Earth Dreams family, this latest VTEC powerplant backs its 306 horses with a stout 295 lb-ft of torque, record stats for any Type R model. Honda says it signals the start of a new era of performance for the brand and recently lapped a prototype version of the car around Germany's fabled 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in 7 minutes 50.63 seconds, the fastest time ever for a front-drive performance hatchback.
To prevent the kind of potential control issues that can occur when shipping that level of power to just the front wheels, Honda engineers reworked the chassis on the Type R, replacing the standard front underpinnings with a new Dual Axis Strut system that cuts torque steer by 50 percent. The improvements also enhance high-speed stability, cornering agility and steering feel. Honda also swapped the existing H-section torsion-beam rear axle for a "crushed pipe" alternative that improves roll rigidity by 180 percent and also helps the Type R's high speed cornering stability. The Civic Type R further benefits from a new 4-point Adaptive Damper System, as well as new Dual Pinion Electric Power Steering that provides a more linear feel and positive feedback. The package also includes upsized Brembo brakes and a set of bespoke 235/35 performance tires wrapped around super-stiff 19-inch alloy wheels.
As with previous Type R offerings, the cabin displays a decidedly high-performance character that starts with torso-hugging sport seats trimmed in black and red suede-style cloth and a unique array of primary gauges and supplemental readouts plus a machined-aluminum shift knob. Also new is a dedicated +R button that when engaged, tweaks the engine power/torque mapping, steering feel and damper firmness to higher levels of enthusiast-pleasing intensity. Buyers also will be able to opt for a GT Pack that adds Garmin satellite navigation, Honda Connect Infotainment, 320-watt premium audio package and a full set of advanced driver safety/assist technologies that include Forward Collision/Lane Departure Warning and Honda's City Brake Active systems.
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