The Honda Civic Type R gains mechanical and cosmetic upgrades, while hotter and more restrained versions join the line-up
We got a glimpse of a revised Honda Civic Type R earlier this year but now the covers have come off completely, revealing a range of mechanical and mild cosmetic upgrades, plus two new variants that are set to take one of our favourite hot hatches in both more extreme and understated directions.
The previous Type R and Type R GT have been subjected to a series of minor changes. From the outside, the front and rear bumpers have been tweaked; each gets a colour-coded “styling blades” that sweep through the mock grilles on the bumpers’ outer edges, while at the front the overall look has been tidied up slightly, thanks to more neatly integrated fog lights.
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The air intakes are larger, too, but this isn’t just for styling; the opening is 13 per cent larger than before, allowing more air to cool the radiator behind. ‘Racing Blue’ is a new exterior colour added to the Civic Type R pallette.
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Inside, the Type R’s round gear knob has been replaced with a teardrop design, said to take inspiration from the original Integra Type R. The steering wheel is now trimmed in Alcantara.
The engine’s stats are unchanged from the previous model. That means 316bhp and 400Nm from a 2.0-litre turbocharged unit, which sends its power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. However, this time around, Honda has equipped the Civic Type R with a sound augmentation system which pipes engine noise into the cabin through the speakers.
Various changes under the skin should make the latest Civic Type R sharper to drive, too. At the front, new front steering bushings and lower-friction ball joints are claimed to improve steering response, while rear lower-arm bushings are eight per cent stiffer, allowing a more stable response under heavy cornering loads. The adaptive damper software has been tweaked to better control pitch and roll when braking and turning through a corner.
The brakes have received attention, too. New calipers grip two-piece ‘floating’ discs; not only does this result in less of a dead travel in the pedal and reduced brake fade, it also weighs 2.5kg less.
Honda has also introduced a new data-logging smartphone app. Called LogR, the app lets owners log performance functions like G-force, speed and oil and water temperatures, as well as recording lap times and giving scores for acceleration and braking.
Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition
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Meanwhile, Honda also revealed two new Type R versions. The hottest variant of the 2020-model Civic is known as the Special Edition, and production will be limited to 100 units – with just 20 coming to the UK. Like the Renault Megane Trophy R, it achieves its performance gains not by adding power, but by saving weight. Honda ditches the air conditioning and infotainment systems, and sound deadening has been removed from the roof lining, rear hatch, front bumper and from behind the dashboard. Combined with new forged 20-inch BBS wheels which save 2.5kg per corner, the Special Edition’s diet results in a 47kg weight loss compared with the Type R GT.
The Civic’s adaptive dampers and electric power steering system have been recalibrated not only to take into account the reduced unsprung mass of those wheels, but also because they are now wrapped in high-performance Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. It takes 5.7 seconds for the Limited Edition to cover the 0-62mph benchmark.
Cosmetically, it’s set apart from other Civics most obviously by the bright Sunlight Yellow paint finish – a nod to the likes of the first Civic and Integra Type R models. The look is completed by a black roof, door mirrors and central bonnet vent. Each model comes with a numbered plaque behind the gear shifter.
Honda Civic Type R Sport Line
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Honda has also answered criticisms from some circles that the Civic Type R’s styling might be a little too overbearing for some, with the introduction of a new Sport Line trim. The most significant change is at the back, where the huge rear wing is swapped for a much more subtle spoiler. The regular red strip around the lower edge of the bumpers and side sills is now finished in dark grey, which is matched by the 19-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the usual red seats are swapped out for black items which feature contrasting red stitching.
Not only does it look more subtle, but it’s also set to be more refined. Honda has added extra soundproofing under the boot and in the tailgate, while the floor carpet is thicker than in other versions. The Sport Line’s wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres and their thicker, softer sidewalls should result in a slightly more forgiving ride.
Sales for the revised Civic Type R are expected to begin in the second half of 2020, with the Limited Edition following a couple of months later. Prices have still to be confirmed, though the Type R and GT’s price shouldn’t vary drastically from their current £31,870 and £33,870.
Do you prefer the look of the Honda Civic Type R Sport Line over the standard model? Let us know your thoughts below…