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  • David Broad

2023 Honda Civic Type R

With the last of the Megane RS rolling off the line is this a chance for the Civic to reclaim the hearts and minds at the Nordschleife?

The new Type R is lower and wider than the standard Civic, with a new rear spoiler design accentuating the sleek roofline and contributing to the car’s aerodynamic performance and muscular appearance.

Lightweight components and an increase in power from the 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine combine to create one of the highest power-to-weight ratio in its class. A revised rev-match system with auto blip ensures that gear changes with the six-speed manual transmission offer drivers a rewarding experience.

Inside, the Type R features the evocative red interior, lightweight sport seats and driver-focused controls that distinguish all performance Hondas. In addition to pre-set driver modes, a new Individual mode enables new levels of customisation for drivers, enabling them to personalise vehicle characteristics such as throttle response and steering feedback. The onboard Honda Log R datalogger has improved monitoring and an innovative scoring function to help drivers improve their performance on the track.

As with all Honda Type R models, the Civic Type R wears the brand’s iconic crimson red ‘H’ badge that is inspired by the spirit of Honda racing. This stretches back to 1965 with the success of the RA272 Formula 1™ car at the Mexican Grand Prix, which sported white livery with a red rising sun on the nose. Honda continues to push the boundaries of performance in motorsport, with the latest generation Type R recently setting a new lap record for a front-wheel drive car at the world-famous Suzuka Circuit in Japan.

Powerful aerodynamic exterior design

  • Exterior design enhancements bring new aerodynamic benefits

  • Wider track and flared wheel arches create a muscular stance

  • Sleek new rear spoiler design contributes to negative lift

  • Offered in a range of colour choices: Championship White, Rallye Red, Racing Blue, Crystal Black and Sonic Grey Pearls

  • Unique Type R wheels are fitted with bespoke compound 265/30R/19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres all round.

A driver-focused cockpit experience

  • Performance-orientated cabin promotes driver engagement and concentration

  • Low mount lightweight sports seats provide exceptional support and comfort

  • Evocative red trim for the carpet and front seats follows Type R tradition

  • Bespoke graphical meter display relays focused performance driving data

Engineering the ultimate Civic Type R

  • Power is increased, thanks to the strongest VTEC Turbo in Type R history

  • Optimised six-speed manual transmission with a revised rev-match system

  • Refined chassis details offer improved handling and ride comfort

  • High levels of crash protection carried over from Civic e:HEV

The most powerful VTEC Turbo ever

Since the first generation launched in 1997, the Civic Type R has become renowned for its powerful, highly responsive, and high revving engines. The latest iteration continues this dedication to performance excellence that has made the Civic Type R so popular with driving purists for 25 years.

The new Civic Type R is powered by a revised 2.0 litre VTEC four-cylinder turbocharged engine, which features the application of several motorsport-derived technologies. These further improve the output, torque and response beyond the capabilities of even the lightweight Limited Edition version of the previous model.

The development team have redesigned the turbocharger to improve its efficiency. By reducing the number of turbo blades and optimising their shape and diameter, inertia within the unit has been reduced. A redesigned housing shape is smaller and more compact than its predecessor and further contributes to the higher output and responsiveness of the turbocharger.

A straight exhaust system increases the exhaust airflow rate by 13% over the previous model, reducing back pressure and allowing the engine to perform more efficiently. The system is finished with a newly designed triple-exit backbox that has an active valve to further increase exhaust gas flow. Enhancements to the sound modulation also improve the aural sensation to increase driver engagement.

The new car features enhanced temperature control and air-cooling through an upgraded radiator, ensuring sustained, optimal performance during heavy use thanks to the 48% larger opening offered by the new grille and front bumper design. A revised air intake is larger in diameter allowing for a 10% increase in intake flow rate.

All of this is managed by a revised engine control system, which has been updated by further increasing the resolution of the ignition timing control and tuning of the VTC (Variable Timing Control), to improve overall throttle response under acceleration.

The overall effect of the engine upgrades is higher performance at high revs and lower fuel consumption at low revs, and the highest power-to-weight ratio in its class. The engine produces 329PS @ 6,500rpm, whilst 420 Nm is available at just 2,200 rpm, and remains available up to 4,000 rpm, with the engine revving freely all the way to 7,000 rpm. The result is the Civic Type R can sprint from 0 – 100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds, and on to a top speed of 275 km/h.

Helping achieve these figures is a revised six-speed manual transmission, that has a number of new features designed exclusively for the new Type R which significantly improves the smoothness and shifting load. A new lightweight flywheel is 18% lighter than the previous generations, reducing inertia by 25% helping the VTEC Turbo be even more responsive.

A revised rev-match system with auto blip ensures perfectly paired rev-matching when shifting down through the gears, helping balance the car on corner entry. Particular attention has been paid to the 2nd to 1st gear shift. The high-strength gearbox has also gained a high-rigidity lever, an optimised shift gate pattern as well as a unique to Type R shift link mechanism to improve shift smoothness. Feel has also been improved with an optimised spring rate for faster gear changes with more satisfying weighting.

Lightweight, rigid chassis tuned for addictive performance

The latest generation Civic has been engineered to ensure that its chassis, steering, and suspension deliver superior levels of performance, dynamic response, and feedback in all driving situations. It was developed with a particular focus on precise steering feedback and a more planted ride, to increase the driver’s sense of connection with the car – an effect that is heightened in the all-new Type R.

The 35mm longer wheelbase, compared to the previous Type R, and multilink rear suspension of the base car are paired with a significantly wider rear track to offer improved cornering stability over its predecessor. This has been refined through repeated testing on both the Autobahn and the Nürburgring.

The dual-axis front suspension, a configuration to minimise torque steer, has been revised with new lower suspension arms optimised in shape and rigidity to achieve a 16% increase in camber rigidity over the previous generation Type R. The front also features millimetre revised geometry to accommodate for the 265/30R19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres and increased engine torque.

The adaptive dampers have been retained from the previous generation but feature a revised control logic for roll and pitch control.

A 15% increase in rear body rigidity over the previous Civic model further improves stability when cornering. To help realise the stiffer body, Honda has significantly increased the application of structural adhesive throughout the chassis. 3.8 times the amount of adhesive has been used in comparison to the previous Type R, with engineers applying the coating around key areas such as the bulkhead, door apertures and rear suspension turrets.

Honda Log R 2.0: Performance data in real-time

  • Data and unique scoring provide instant analysis for track and road driving

  • Driving performance is evaluated using Honda’s R&D evaluation algorithm

  • Information accessed in-car or remotely via the Honda Log R smartphone app

  • Smartphone app allows users to review the data and share with other Type R owners

When developing the new Civic Type R, Honda engineers set out to provide drivers with a wealth of data, presented in an easy to interpret way, to ultimately help improve and refine driving skills on both road and track. This has taken the form of the new Honda Log R 2.0 app.

Heavily revised for this generation Type R, the app is now built into the infotainment system and no longer requires hosting via a hardwired smartphone*, offering users an improved and more stable connection. The app also features a number of improved screens and graphical readouts, for both the smartphone screen and the data relayed through the new infotainment touchscreen.

Enabling all of this is a powerful data analysis system, which uses multiple datum points captured through the car’s internal sensors. This allows the Honda Log R 2.0 app to provide users with two in-depth features; a ‘Performance Monitor’ function and a ‘Scoring’ function.

In Performance Monitor, 12 separate items of vehicle information can be selected from and relayed to the driver including engine, water, and oil temperatures as well as steering angle, brake pressure, accelerator pedal angle and yaw rate. The display also shows driver’s operation and how the vehicle behaved.

One of the new functions introduced to Honda Log R 2.0 is a digital tyre friction circle, which calculates and displays the maximum tyre friction force of each of the four tyres that can exert at the moment, as well as the value of both longitudinal and lateral magnitude of the actual tyre force being used as a vector. This is calculated from the vehicle acceleration and tyre load information and displays in real time on the display monitor.

The Scoring function allows users to review their driving to help improve skills behind the wheel. This function is capable of delivering two further functions; Auto Score and Data Log. Auto Score function evaluates driving performance on the public road in everyday situations, whilst Data Log function allows owners to record and analyse track driving data.

The Auto Score function operates whenever the Honda LogR 2.0 app is running, tracking and logging inputs in five key performance areas: acceleration, deceleration, turning, straight-line driving and combination. A score for each of the inputs is generated by benchmarking the user’s driving against the Honda R&D database-derived algorithm built into the app, helping to determine where improvements can be made. Drivers can also delve into previous journeys to assess how their driving style has improved over time. This mode is designed to encourage efficiency and smoothness improvements in routine daily driving.

In Data Log mode, acceleration, braking and cornering G forces data is collected and combined with GPS location mapping to provide a comprehensive lap overview. The colour coded lap trace allows users to recognise, and improve on, their braking points and throttle position at all points of the circuit. The GPS locator can also be used to set start and finish line markers for timed laps, with all data saved for comparison with previous and future laps.

Feedback is offered through an innovative scoring system as a part of Data Log function, which helps drivers pinpoint where they can improve their skills. The unique scoring function within Data Log mode awards up to 100 performance-based points per lap. The system follows the same C, B, A, S, and S+ driver ranks as Honda’s R&D evaluators, offering easy to interpret data inspired by professional motorsport coaching for continual on-track improvement.

To further help drivers get more of Type R performance on track, other features built into Honda Log R 2.0 include a stopwatch to record and log lap times. ‘VS Mode’ also allows drivers to compare and contrast a multitude of parameters and track records by enabling the Data Log function.

Using the Auto Score and Data Log functions, driving data stored in the vehicle's local storage is automatically uploaded to the server and can be viewed anytime, anywhere using the Honda Log R 2.0 app installed on a smartphone. Another new feature of the Honda Log R 2.0 app is the ability to transform a smartphone’s video function into data laden onboard camera. This captures onboard footage and overlays synchronised live streams of data for a number of performance parameters. Lap count, lap time, real-time vehicle and engine speed, tyre friction, registered G forces and more are all overlaid in clear, easy to read formats.

Customisable Type R experience

  • ‘Individual’ set-up mode features for the first time in Civic Type R

  • Opportunity to tailor responses for the engine, steering, suspension, and sound

  • Pre-defined drive modes of Comfort, Sport and +R optimized

  • Track-focused +R mode for the most extreme performance

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