Revealed: Honda hoping to win Nürburgring war with ultra hardcore Civic Type R
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The tussle between Renault and Honda for Nürburgring Nordschleife supremacy looks set to continue, following the latter's unveiling of a hardened, go-faster Civic Type R variant.
To compliment its subtle 2020 Type R update, Honda has whipped the covers off not one but two new red-badge Civic hatchbacks.
Depicted here in Sunlight Yellow, the Civic Type R Limited Edition does all it can to sharpen one of the sharpest front-driven platforms in the game. Around 1000 of them are set to be produced, but 600 going to the United States, with 200 claimed to be going to Japan, and 100 each to Canada and Europe respectively. More on these numbers later.
Depending on which side of the pond you occupy, the Limited Edition will come with different amounts of weight savings. The American model has 20.9kg shaved off its total weight thanks to a new lightweight BBS wheel and the removal of a bunch of sound deadening material. The rear wiper, tonneau cover, and rear heater ducts.
The European version of the Limited is somewhat more extreme. It adopts all of the above changes, but adds (or subtracts?) a delete on the infotainment system and air conditioning. That might sound extreme, but on the flip-side it at least retains its rear seats unlike its Renault Megane RS Trophy R rival.
Along with ripping out of a bunch of creature comforts, the Limited also features a raft of mechanical updates. The steering has been recallibrated for improved feedback and sharpness, and the chassis has received a tweak with the addition of new tuned dampers.
There's also a new gearknob for those with wedding rings to scratch up into oblivion.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder VTEC turbo is unchanged, but that's hardly a disaster. Its 228kW of power and 400Nm of torque still holds up handily against today's hot hatch elite. As before, it's supported by a slick 6-speed rev-matching manual and a limited-slip differential.
The second Civic Type R is, as you can see above, a much more restrained affair. It's called the Type R Sport Line, and — to the happiness of some of the hot hatch's biggest critics — the first thing it does is remove the enormous rear spoiler.
As you can probably guess, the Sport Line is intended to be a more sensible entry to the hot hatch game. The small replacement spoiler is complimented by a delete of the standard model's garish red pinstriping, and some new 19in wheels (one inch smaller than the standard 20s, and paired to a softer Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyre).
The sensible styling tilt continues inside, with suede seats that are no longer a retina-searing red and a new gearknob similar to that on the Limited. It also gains an Alcantara-lined steering wheel.
It's unlikely that we'll see either of these on New Zealand roads, but it has been confirmed that a small volume of Limited models will touch down in Australia in 2021. Regardless, the duo only serve to encourage current FK8 owners to do a bit of 'weight reduction' of their own ...