Next-generation Civic model’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 235kW of power.
What Honda describes as the most powerful model in the 30-year history of the Type R brand – its next-generation Civic – opened for reservations in New Zealand at the start of this month.
It means the marque in this country is one of the first worldwide to officially open its order books.
The hot hatch combines “potent” dynamic performance with a next-generation immersive cockpit experience and a muscular design.
Now entering its sixth iteration, the more powerful 2023 Civic Type R recently set a new front-wheel-drive production-car track record at Japan’s Formula One Suzuka circuit.
By advancing the concept of its predecessor, the Ultimate Sport, the all-new model has been developed to achieve “pure sports performance”. The value proposition of the Civic Type R is to realise speed and driving pleasure.
Honda’s engineers have conducted extensive development in Japan and rigorous testing at tracks around the world to further improve the Type R’s chassis, including at Germany’s infamous Nürburgring.
Under its vented aluminium bonnet is a more powerful version of the marque’s award-winning K20C1 engine. Power, torque and response are improved by a redesigned turbocharger, increased air intake flow rate and a more efficient exhaust system that features a straight-through design and active exhaust valve.
The turbocharged two-litre four-cylinder now produces 235kW of power and 420Nm of torque – improvements of 7kW and 20Nm over the previous model.
A larger grille opening, bigger radiator and a large-diameter fan improve engine cooling to ensure sustained and optimal performance during extreme driving. The active exhaust valve opens at higher rpm to heighten and enhance engine sound.
The smooth and precise six-speed manual transmission is further improved for an “even more intimate and rewarding connection” with the driver. A lighter flywheel and a revised rev-match system ensures “perfectly paired” rev-matching when shifting down through the gears to help maintain stability on corner entry. The gearbox has gained a high-rigidity lever and optimised shift-gate pattern for hyper-precise changes.
Based on the 11th-generation Civic hatchback, the sharp responses of the Type R have been increased by a significantly more rigid body structure, which supports improved dynamics and refinement. The wheelbase has been extended compared to the previous Type R for a smoother ride and greater stability, while the front and rear tracks are significantly wider.
Together with a retuned dual-axis strut front and multi-link rear suspension, these changes improve straight-line stability and steering feel.
The Type R boasts two-piece front-brake rotors to reduce unsprung weight. Brake cooling has been improved, while a retuned brake booster enhances feel and control.
Drivers can switch between four pre-set performance settings, selecting different modes for the engine, steering, suspension and engine sound. In addition to comfort, sport and +R, a new “individual” mode enables customised motoring.
The integrated advanced aerodynamics give the new Civic Type R a sleeker, more sophisticated and muscular look. Its exterior is also more aerodynamically efficient, generating significantly more downforce improving high-speed stability.
The body features integrated flared wheel-arches over wider tracks and lightweight 19-inch matte black alloys wrapped in wider Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres. The new wheels use a special “reverse rim” design that improves the tyre contact patch’s stability under load.
All body panels forward of the A-pillars are unique to the Type R, including a new more aggressive front-bumper. Its lower stance is accentuated by wider rear doors and a reshaped rear bumper that reveals its updated, signature three-round exhaust outlets. A redesigned rear spoiler with aluminium stanchions and a rear diffuser to intensify downforce and reduce drag.
As for exterior colour options, in addition to championship white, which has been an iconic Type R color, the full international line-up of five colours will be available in New Zealand.
Cockpit features include branded red seats, carpet and trim, a redesigned aluminium shift knob and a serialised build plate on the dashboard.
The driver sits lower than before in lighter and body-stabilising sport seats, yet with greater visibility courtesy of the thinner pillars, relocated side mirror and lower bonnet. The new lightweight, heavily bolstered front seats with suede-effect upholstery offer support and comfort on-track and on long drives.
To better support performance driving, the Type R’s digital meter display features clean graphics and an extensive selection of displays. The design features a large tachometer, and gear-position and multi-information displays.
A second new meter design is exclusive to the +R mode. This allows the motorist to obtain necessary information instantly with the engine’s rpm and gear position placed at the top.
Exclusive to Type R, an enhanced version of the Honda LogR performance data logger combines the onboard computer and sensors with a built-in vehicle app. This helps to monitor and record performance parameters in real time when driving on the track or other closed courses.
Getting the ‘feel’
Honda’s development team set three goals for the dynamic performance of the all-new Civic Type R. The first was “fastest”, representing the pursuit of “overwhelming” speed and being the fastest FF – front engine and front-wheel-drive – vehicle out there by refining and perfecting every aspect of its driving feel.
Next up was “addictive feel”, which represented the aim to achieve dynamics that make the driver feel addicted to driving the Type R by offering a thrilling driving experience. Thirdly, there was the “secure feel”, ensuring high-speed stability and a complete feeling of trust.
The Civic Type R is priced in New Zealand from $69,000, plus on-road costs.