Celebrating 25 Years Of Civic Type R

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The story so far is just the beginning.

The R in Type R stands for racing, and the first car with the badge was squarely aimed at the racetrack. The first car to sport a Type R badge was the NSX Type R in Japan, with the weight reduction going as far as losing sound-deadening material, audio equipment, electric windows, and air conditioning. The second car with the Type R badge was the 1995 Honda Integra which was, again, a Japanese Domestic Market (JDM)-only vehicle. However, the 1997 Integra Type R became the first red-badged model to make it to the US and arrived with an Acura badge. The Integra Type R set the blueprint for all following Type R models with its weight-loss regiment not extreme enough to make it unpleasant as a daily driver. Power was improved, but the concentration is mainly on handling and grip and creating a fun and fast car to drive.

Since then, there have been Accord Type R models in other markets, but the Civic has become the champion of the Type R badge. The Civic is always built with driving dynamics in mind to start with, and makes for an affordable gateway into the world of performance cars. That began in 1997, meaning Honda is currently celebrating 25 years of the Civic Type R.


EK9 Civic Type R (1997-2000)

Honda took what it learned from the limited production NSX and Integra Type R models and applied it to Civic for the 1997 model. Part of the reason the Type R could be brought to the masses was due to Honda's increased focus on its versatile VTEC (Variable Valve Timing & Lift Electronic Control) engine. The 1.6-liter unit used in the JDM-only EK9 Generation Civic Type R was hand ported and made 182 horsepower at a high 8,200 rpm. As is the case with many of Honda's high-revving VTECs, torque was less impressive at just 118 lb-ft. The Type R's lightweight seam-welded shell helped bring its weight down to as little as 2,315 pounds, while performance parts were used in the double wishbone suspension and featured a helical limited-slip differential (LSD). It was small, agile, quick, and set the standard for the Civic Type R for years to come.

Honda Honda

EP3 Civic Type R (2001–2005)

In 2001, the Civic Type R went to Europe. Built in the UK, the next generation of Civic Type R introduced the quick and high-revving K-series 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC engine, making 197 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. It featured upgraded brakes and a close-ratio six-speed transmission. According to Honda, using high-tensile steel in the shell increased static torsional rigidity by 80% over the EK9. Dynamics were improved using reactive-link double-wishbone suspension at the rear and a new electric power steering system with a variable gear ratio.


FN2/FD2 Civic Type R (2007-2011)

The third generation of Civic Type R still didn't come to the US. It was available in Europe and Japan, but Honda decided to sell two distinctively different versions. Europe got a hatchback with the EP3's engine carried over (FN2), while the JDM version was a sedan with a newer and more powerful K20A engine, a helical LSD, and Brembo brakes. The European version used a new chassis with the fuel tank beneath the front seats to improve interior space and a torsion beam axle suspension system at the back instead of a double wishbone setup. The Japanese version, going against the grain, grew in size and weight, although the extra power, stability, and chassis stiffening made up for it.

Honda Honda

FK2 Civic Type R (2015-2017)

The Civic Type R, inevitably, got a turbocharger for the FK2 generation. It arrived in 2015 with 306 hp from its K20C1 turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and a trick suspension system working with the LSD to control torque steer. The lower-revving turbocharged engine with its extra torque (295 lb-ft) gave a different feel to the prior Civic Type R's drivetrain, but it made it faster with a 0-62 mph time of just 5.7 seconds. As a result of the extra power, the FK2 Type R came with large Brembo brakes featuring ventilated and drilled front discs. The FK2 was exclusively built in the UK as a five-door hatchback and was a return to form for European fans following the FN2 model.


FK8 Civic Type R (2017-2022)

Finally, Type R officially came to the US in 2017. Again, it was built in the UK, and the FK2 Generation Civic Type R became the fastest and most technologically advanced model yet. With clever new suspension geometry for its adaptive dampers and an LSD, Honda virtually eliminates torque steer from the Civic Type R generated by the improved engine and its 306 hp. It's also Honda's most ostentatious Civic Type R, with downforce introduced through its sharp-edged body kit and massive rear wing. It might not make much more power than the previous FK2 model, but the FK8 Type R set a Nurburgring time of 7:43.8 seconds in 2017 - at the time, this was a record for front-wheel-drive cars.

Honda Honda

FL5 Civic Type R (2022-)

The next generation Civic Type R has debuted and will be on the streets soon. It promises to be the greatest generation and likely the last before some form of electrification slips into the drivetrain. For now, though, the FL5 generation Civic Type R uses an evolution of the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine making 315 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Already, the all-new Civic Type R has begun breaking records, setting a new fastest time for FWD cars at the Suzuka circuit. It looks a bit more docile than its predecessor, but it's clear that its performance will once more set new standards. Due to Brexit, Honda has had to move Type R production and has chosen to take it back to Japan, but the engine itself will be built in the USA at the Anna Engine Plant in Sidney, Ohio, where the Acura NSX's power plant is built.

CarBuzz/Ian Wright

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