The Specs

8000rpm out, 400Nm in

Motor (Australia) - - FIRST FANG -

De­spite the looks this is a car Honda’s built with its head, rather than its heart

trans­mis­sion, and even more com­plex dif­fer­en­tial de­signs, to pri­ori­tise weight and balance. They also moved the fuel tank aft, at the ex­pense of IKEA friendly ‘Magic’ fold­ing seats, to again shift its cen­tre-of-balance rear­ward. Now, 62.5 per cent of its 1380kg lies over the front treads, while 37.5 per cent of it is car­ried on the rear.

The big­ger foot­print al­lows the Civic Type R to tackle long ra­dius bends at more than 160km/h with rock solid di­rec­tional sta­bil­ity. It’s also helped brak­ing. Even though huge four-pis­ton Brembo front calipers slow the car like para­chutes have de­ployed, it doesn’t twitch ner­vously into cor­ners.

Honda’s white coats tweaked the dual-axis sus­pen­sion sys­tem that splits the steer­ing and damp­ing axes like in a Me­gane RS or pre­vi­ous-gen Fo­cus RS with a new alu­minium lower arm. Re­nault Sport or Ford might find more turn-in with their ar­range­ments, how­ever, the Honda feels more sorted af­ter the apex. The com­bi­na­tion of in­side wheel brak­ing, a he­li­cal LSD, and ex­tra toesta­bil­ity give it phe­nom­e­nal trac­tion, and pre­ci­sion, un­der full throt­tle at cor­ner exit. With no push or torque steer what­so­ever.

What lets the pack­age down is that dual-pin­ion elec­tric steer­ing rack. The weight­ing feels ar­ti­fi­cial, and darty off-cen­tre gear­ing re­quires quick cor­rec­tions to keep a smooth cor­ner­ing arc on high­ways. There’s not a whole lot of feed­back, ei­ther.

In­side, the rear seats are a bit drab, there’s no sat­nav avail­able on Aussie mod­els, and we’d ap­pre­ci­ate elec­tri­cally ad­justable front seats. But the in­te­rior feels solid, for­ward vi­sion’s great, and the Type R-spe­cific seats are ex­tremely com­fort­able and well bol­stered.

You won’t dread in­ter­state trips, ei­ther. A shorter fi­nal drive in the trans­mis­sion means revs are still rel­a­tively high at 100km/h, hum­ming along at 2450rpm in top gear, but it doesn’t feel like it’s go­ing to shake it­self apart. The ex­haust sys­tem’s been up­graded, and thanks to a new cen­tre pipe that cuts boom­ing noise at mid-range rpm, you can qui­etly yarn with pas­sen­gers at any cruis­ing speed. Although we can’t vouch for speeds near­ing its 272km/h V-max.

Those po­lar­is­ing, ju­ve­nile looks might say dif­fer­ent, but this is a car Honda’s built us­ing its head, rather than its heart. If you didn’t know there was a red Honda badge on the front of it, you wouldn’t pick it. There’s a broad range of ride com­pli­ance, a quiet tractable en­gine, an in­su­lated in­te­rior, un­flap­pable chas­sis, and lots of elec­tronic as­sis­tance. Not VW Golf R lev­els of plush­ness, but dif­fer­ent to a Fo­cus RS or WRX STI dayto-day, then.

Such char­ac­ter­is­tics make it an ac­com­plished car, ad­dress­ing all the flaws of Honda’s orig­i­nal Type Rs. Although they re­place the fre­netic red­line-chas­ing, vis­ceral feed­back, and tac­tile han­dling that made its fore­bears equally as pop­u­lar. How­ever, we’re not go­ing to let rose-tinted glasses cloud Honda’s ef­forts here. No way. In fact, not only does it make the Civic Type R an all-rounder, it also leaves room for Honda to in­ject old-school mon­grel back into the mix. We’re al­ready sali­vat­ing at the idea of a stripped-down model with more power. And there are whis­pers such a thing lurks some­where down Honda’s prod­uct time­line.

It’s just fit­ting Dres­den was cho­sen as the launch lo­ca­tion. The small city in Ger­many’s south was its cul­tural jewel be­fore al­lied air forces lev­elled it in World War Two. It re­mained in ru­ins un­til, over the past 30 years, Dres­den ci­ti­zens re­built it to for­mer glory. So maybe that’s what hap­pens when you re­build some­thing from the past. You must lose its orig­i­nal foun­da­tions to make it bet­ter.

Europe will of­fer two spec­i­fi­ca­tions of Civic Type R, but Aussies will score just the one. It’s stuffed full of safety tech, yet misses out on sat-nav and high-end au­dio

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.