Honda Is Putting a CVT Into The Civic Type R, And No We're Not Joking

Continuously variable transmissions are usually reserved for horribly dull eco-boxes made for efficiency rather than excitement, but Honda says efficiency doesn't have to preclude speed

Remind me later
Honda - Honda Is Putting a CVT Into The Civic Type R, And No We're Not Joking - News

Grab your pitchforks, light some medieval torches and head to your nearest Honda dealer, because it looks like they’re about to fit a CVT transmission to the Civic Type R.

Initially reported by the likes of Autocar and Car in their printed editions about a week ago, before being picked up online, interviews with senior Honda/Civic Type R staff have revealed that as well as the standard six-speed manual, the engineers have kicked a dual-clutch option to the kerb in favour of – shock, horror – a CVT.

Honda - Honda Is Putting a CVT Into The Civic Type R, And No We're Not Joking - News

Not exactly famed for their wondrous driver involvement, you’ll find CVTs in the likes of the Toyota Prius and automatic versions of the Honda Jazz. Hmmmm, now there’s a couple of encouraging signs.

But, in theory at least, CVT transmissions are the most efficient way to get the most power to the wheels, most often. They enable the engine to stay at peak power and/or torque, and that could make them faster pretty much everywhere. Whether we like it or not, that matters to some buyers.

Williams F1 were developing a CVT in the early 1990s

More specifically, it matters to buyers with lots of money to spend. There aren’t many manual gearboxes left in the world of widely-available high-end sports and supercars, because buyers want automatics, either through laziness or a desire for outright speed (at least on paper).

For proof of the CVT’s performance potential, Formula One went so far as to ban the technology over two decades ago, branding it an unfair advantage – and probably too boring to listen to.

Honda - Honda Is Putting a CVT Into The Civic Type R, And No We're Not Joking - News

Honda is claiming that the system will be optimised for low-end acceleration and could even shave a few seconds off the car’s Nurburgring lap time, suggesting that it’s going after the VW Golf GTI Clubsport S’s new record of 7mins 47.19sec.

That won’t solve the nagging issue of noise, though, and how Honda plans to get around the droning, mooing, God-awful racket CVT-equipped cars create. We’re all ears, Honda.