The most extreme ever made. This is the best way to synthesize the essence of Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition, protagonist of our test drive today: the declination devoted to performance that enriched the restyling of the Japanese hot hatch. A car optimized in every aspect, which fully embodies the racing soul of Honda, produced in only 100 units for the European market. What better way to get to know Civic Type R than to test it on the track and then here we are at the Vallelunga circuit for a preview test between the curbs of Piero Taruffi behind the wheel of the Japanese extreme sports car.
Before we get behind the wheel, however, let’s take a look at what are the news of this restyling. In particular, on the new Civic Type R you can see some differences in the front, with the new symmetrical fog lights and a thinner grille, with wider air intakes. The increased space between the radiator fins involved a work of aerodynamic optimization to compensate for the decrease in downforce which results in a new stiffer front splitter and a redesigned air intake hidden by the bumper. On the new Limited Edition, the vent for the air flows on the bonnet stands out, made with a different shade than the bodywork and the new 20 ”black forged BBS forged light alloy wheels, the same ones mounted by the NSX, embraced by specific Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. The other differences compared to the GT and the Sport Line are the exclusive livery, which for the Limited Edition is Sunlight Yellow, the contrasting black roof, revived tone also for the mirror caps and finally the chrome badge with the Civic logo on the rear.
Civic Type R, Honda wastes no time
The interior fully reflects the racing soul of this car, with an Alcantara steering wheel and red sports seats. At the center we do not find the now usual multimedia audio system: on Civic Type R Limited Edition there is no infotainment (-5.4 kg), just as there is no air conditioning (-10.4 kg). Two targeted choices that, together with the elimination of other superfluous elements, led to weight decrease of 47 kg compared to the GT and Sport Line versions, bringing the scale needle to 1,358 kg (dry weight in running order). In this way it was possible to make the Limited Edition an even more dedicated road to performance. This is also due to the VTEC Turbo 2.0 which delivers 320 HP and 400 Nm of maximum torque and which allows very respectable performance: the sprint from 0 to 100 km / h is consumed in fact in 5.7 seconds (5.8 s for GT and Sport Line) and the maximum speed is over 270 km / h. All combined with the front-wheel drive and above all the six-speed manual gearbox that we had already had the opportunity to appreciate on the previous generation. In this case the knob has a specific teardrop design, another element that contributes to the structural lightening and which has been studied to further improve the shifting. There are three driving modes, Comfort, Sport and R +.
And so the time finally comes to get behind the wheel. The heat of July makes itself felt immediately, with the asphalt reaching high temperatures from the early hours of the morning, considering that the mercury column already indicates over 30 degrees shortly after 9. Getting behind the wheel of the new Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition is a pleasure even when the car is stationary, with the driving position and the ergonomics of the seat that allow you to immediately find the right feeling. Ready to go and immediately after exiting the pits you can begin to become familiar with the manual gearbox, a transmission with short and precise gearshifts that transmits that feeling of analog that is increasingly rare in modern sports cars. Shaking off a little dust (we hadn’t tried our hand at the curbs of Piero Taruffi for almost two years), you can start putting the Limited Edition to the test on a track that thanks to its two souls, the technical and the fast one, it is the natural habitat for this hot hatch. Out of Rome the gas opens wide and you launch yourself for the first real lap of the track, with the long straight that descends towards the big curve that you face at a constant speed, accelerating progressively up to the Cimini, where you climb quickly and you can appreciate the composure in exit, when you start to open the throttle again and the sound of the VTEC reaches the passenger compartment. This is thanks to the Active Sound Control which knows how to modulate the voice of the Type R with significant differences when switching from one driving mode to another and the absence of some sound-absorbing panels. A real panacea for the ears of the most racers.
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Up to the Campagnano you can slip away in an adrenaline-fueled crescendo that you would not want to end given the speed with which you can exceed 180 km / h without even realizing it. Before tackling this curve, however, it is necessary to ask for the help of the braking system: the new two-component calipers with 350 mm discs at the front and 305 at the rear guarantee greater efficiency at a lower risk of deformation, at the same time allowing to slow down without jerks thanks to a perfectly modulated pedal. The rigidity of the frame and the work of refinement of the suspension is even more evident when you pass the curbs of the Soratte, with a feeling of constant control. Front and rear are perfectly balanced, with the powerful wing that hides those essential vortex generators that tame the flows and distribute the load in an optimal way, especially when exiting the most demanding curves, such as between Semaforo, Tornatino and Esse where sudden changes of direction they can easily be accompanied with precise and direct steering.
Honda Civic Typer R Limited Edition, record at Suzuka
Time to try your hand in Rome that the lap is already over. A whirlwind of emotions discharged on the asphalt in a skilful way by Honda who knew harness power and tradition of Civic Type R in an extreme road but also suitable for those who were not born with a helmet. If the goal was to create an extreme car that could be driven by everyone, we can only confirm how the Japanese car manufacturer has succeeded in its intent. We conclude with prices: the range opens at 42,400 euros for the Sport Line and goes up to 50,000 euros for the Civic Type R Limited Edition.