News: Honda Civic Type R - Japanese crackers

Honda sends the Civic Type R into the race

For most of the car community, this newcomer is probably the prototype of a thunderbolt, rioter and a ridiculed instrument for dealing with personal attention deficits. For real fans, however, the Honda Civic with the addition "Type R" represents the ultimate in roadworthy racing cars in compact format, whose engine sound is like a Nürburgring sonata and whose bone-hard chassis puts the fitness of the intervertebral disc to the test. Anyway, after a long break there is the strongest Civic again, with its 310 PS the currently sportiest way to move a Honda. At least until the NSX super-racer, which is certainly three times as expensive, ventures onto the German roads in autumn. With its price of 34.000 Euro, the Japanese is an announcement to the few European competitors such as the Seat Leon Cupra or the Opel Astra OPC.

Of course, the top version is immediately recognizable as a descendant of the normal Civic. However, its bold sheet metal dress has so far not really met the taste of German interests in the golf class. Today's Civic is far from the sales figures of previous years. Although it is definitely an eye-catcher and a one-of-a-kind that stubbornly opposes the trend towards the easily confused form of Golf, Astra, Peugeot and Co. The grim look from narrow headlight eyes, the downward drawn air intake, the dome-shaped passenger compartment, the choppy rear part - everything is a bit different with the Civic. In addition, a futuristic interior with three round instruments directly behind the steering wheel and the digital speedometer just before the windshield.

The hallmark is the large rear wing
The hallmark is the large rear wing

In the "Type R" the letter does not stand for "Rabauke", but very simply for "Racing". It was adorned with various attachments that make it look really fast even when it is stationary: a narrow lip around the bow, air outlets on the sides, wheel arch extensions and a huge rear spoiler. Some things appear to fit harmoniously into the familiar Civic shape, while some are simply printed on, such as the widening of the rear wheels. "Everything is important to give the Type R more pressure at high speeds," explains project manager Hisayuki Yagi from the Honda development department. By this he means above all the smooth underbody, which is responsible for the design that the Civic literally sticks to the asphalt.

Naturally, this effect does not occur on the first stage of the test drive around the Slovakian capital Bratislava, as it only starts at higher speeds. But the Honda also reveals its strengths when it comes to cornering in everyday traffic out of town. The two-liter turbo engine hangs excellently on the right foot of the driver, the shift paths of the 6 gearbox are only four centimeters shorter than in any other compact sports car. Up to the number 7.000 on the rev counter, the Civic takes the hunt without complaint. Then flashing LEDs ask for upshifting. The steering is crisp and direct, but when accelerating it has to cope with the powerful pulling power of the engine with 400 Newton meters. In contrast to rivals like the Golf R or the upcoming Ford Focus RS, the Type R has no all-wheel drive, but lets the 1,4-ton car pull from the front wheels.

Sports seats give good support
Sports seats give good support

Despite sophisticated electronic aids, the well-known tugging of the many horses at the steering cannot be completely avoided. Especially when accelerating out of bends, the electronic front passenger has to intervene so that the power lands on the ground. However, this does not in any way spoil driving pleasure if you are traveling within the permitted limits of public transport. Since the engine makes it difficult to talk to the front passenger thanks to its loud presence, the entire attention can also be devoted to the operation of the Japanese floor. A fun mobile all around.

Especially on the racetrack, in this case the Slovakia ring. Here the "R button" is pressed, which colors the otherwise white backlighting of the instruments in bright red. This mode ensures a more aggressive interpretation of the already hard, electronically controlled suspension tuning, mitigates the punitive measures of the watchful electronics and simply switches off dispensable systems such as the start-stop. The Civic masters the course with flying colors, shows the fine work on the front axle and the aerodynamics. Developer Yagi proudly reports that his test drivers completed the dreaded Nürburgring lap faster than their colleagues in all other compact power front-wheelbikes. A big step for Honda, a much smaller one for the world of the car itself.

The red marking shows that the wheels are pointing straight ahead
The red marking shows that the wheels are pointing straight ahead

Because power packs like this Civic will remain rare exceptions in the street scene. With all the fun they can bring to their owners when they want to demonstrate their skills on a closed slope. You could also drive the Type R to the supermarket or daycare. Many fine extras are standard, with the additional package "GT" navigation, internet connection and much more are added. Disadvantage of the role as an everyday car: The many horses want to be fed. During a quick but not brute test tour on speed limited country roads, the previously zeroed on-board computer reported a consumption of 10,6 liters per 100 kilometers. The standard value is 7,6 liters.

The first Type R will be on German roads from September. A total of 600 should be there by the end of the year. Quite courageous by the Honda planners: 2014 just sold around 6.500 units throughout the year from the civilian Civic.

Author: Peter Maahn / SP-X

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