Honda has treated its Civic Type R hot hatch to a mid-life update, and introduced two special variants. Meet the track-focused Limited Edition and wingless Sport Line.
While the Type R range gets a mild visual update, these new versions expand its appeal. At one end of the scale, the unmissable Limited Edition is the most extreme Type R yet. At the other, the Sport Line offers a more subtle take.
Civic Type R Limited Edition: not-so-mellow yellow
The Limited Edition has been developed with track performance firmly in mind. As the name suggests, it’ll be limited, to just 100 examples for Europe. That’ll make this Civic hot property, but will it be worth getting into scraps over it at your Honda dealer?
Potentially, although we don’t advocate that kind of behaviour. The LE adds lightweight BBS alloy wheels, Michelin Cup 2 tyres and modified dampers. On the inside, the Alcantara-trimmed wheel, bucket seats and classic Type R metal teardrop gear shifter spice things up. As will a 47kg saving made by removing the infotainment system, air conditioning and a chunk of sound deadening.
Honda takes a dig – presumably at the very expensive Renault Sport Megane Trophy R – by saying ‘unlike other brands’ track-focused performance hatchbacks, the Limited Edition retains its rear seats’.
The Type R Limited Edition gets to 62mph in 5.7 seconds. Finally, the colour: it’s called Sunlight Yellow, presumably to remind you of what will be cooking you with the lack of air conditioning.
Civic Type R Sport Line: wingless wonder
The Type R Sport Line takes a different tack to the hardcore Limited Edition. Most obvious is the absence of the huge rear wing, for added slipperiness and subtlety. Honda also says the Sport Line offers a more refined ride.
Extra refinement comes courtesy of new 19-inch alloy wheels with soft-sidewalled Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, designed to combat noise vibrations and harshness. The Sport Line adds sound deadening, too.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a ‘diet’ version of the Type R. All the important stuff remains, like the VTEC turbo engine and bucket seats. The old-school EK9-style shift knob also features on the inside.
Given it’s the softer sibling, the Sport Line also retains the infotainment system, which, for this update, spans seven inches and incorporates DAB, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
New Civic Type R: overall updates
The whole Civic Type R range has been breathed on for 2020. Those subtly updated looks aren’t just for show. The intake has a 13 percent larger opening, which helps toward a 10-degree reduction in coolant temperature. If you’re worried how this affects the Civics famed functional aerodynamics, the downforce deficit has been countered with a redesigned air dam.
Subtle updates to the suspension should make it a sharper, more responsive steer, while updated brakes reduce unsprung weight at the front by 2.5kg. The brake pedal also has 15mm less travel, for more precise control.
Finally, the infotainment now includes the Honda LogR data-logger. It works with the car’s sensors as well as an app on your phone to record your performance driving, and help improve it.
Performance Monitor allows you to monitor key vehicle parameters, like coolant and oil temperatures, oil pressure and air intake temperature. It can also display a G-force meter or a 3D view of the car’s on-road behaviour.
Log Mode will help you get the best lap times. It uses GPS to track you, in combination with the car’s sensors. It can then encourage you with colour-coded racing lines, not unlike on a racing game. The aim is to improve driving smoothness, both on a circuit and on the road.
Auto Score mode takes that performance, as well as your driving habits over time, and compares it with an ‘expert driver’ baseline.