Honda has revealed not one, but two new Civic Type Rs. Spoiling us rotten are a version that’s even more extreme than the car we already know and love, plus a softer and subtler option for those who want a bit more daily comfort in their 316bhp rocket-hatch.
Starting with the stunning Sunlight Yellow Type R Limited Edition, we can confirm just 100 will be built for the European market. The colour is unique to the variant. It’s not clear at this stage how many will be right-hand drive, but since the UK is a strong market for Type R we should get some in correct-hand drive.
It weighs some 47kg less than the regular Type R GT thanks to a host of changes. Flow-formed 20-inch forged BBS alloy wheels look the absolute stuff and save a few kilos. Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tyres add to the track-biased edge while a complete re-tune of the dampers and power steering make the most of the lighter rims.
There’s no air-con or infotainment here. Your focus should be the racing line, and who gives a stuff about refinement on track? As such there’s less soundproofing in the roof, tailgate, front bumper and dashboard. Bizarrely, in the context of track-biased flab loss, Honda has elected to keep the rear seats in place. At least it really is a practical five-seater.
Its engine is unchanged, so you still get an explosive-feeling 316bhp and 295lb ft. The 0-62mph launch is done in 5.7 seconds. We don’t have prices for the highly-limited car yet, but sales will begin in the summer.
All Civics have, happily, regained physical button controls for the air conditioning and infotainment. The switch back away from solely touch-screen interfaces will be sweet music to anyone who has ever tried to change the settings on a bumpy road. Also new is Active Sound Control, which boosts engine noise through fakery in the Type Rs’ Sport and +R modes; suppressing it with counter-frequencies in Comfort mode.
The mid-range, normal Type R has a new suspension tune with updated compliance bushings and lower-friction ball joints. Honda says it feels stiffer and more direct on turn-in. Braking for the hot Japanese hatch is taken care of by new two-piece floating front brake discs and new pads. They save 2.5kg in total and help reduce pesky brake fade. The feel is sharper too, through a pedal that has 15mm less travel. Another sweet detail is a 90g internal counterweight in the gear knob that apparently improves shift feel and accuracy. The colour you see here is Racing Blue; new for 2020 and yours on either the Type R GT or its new, softer sibling.
Speaking of which, it’s called the Civic Type R Sport Line. It’s built for those who want the brilliant engine and dynamic attitude of the Type R GT but swapping some of the lairy styling for extra soundproofing and an easier ride. Michelin’s Pilot Sport 4S tyres replace the usual fare, and with softer sidewalls offer a more compliant edge to proceedings. There’s extra sound-deadening material in the tailgate and boot area, enhancing refinement.
The usual red seats are swapped for restrained black ones, although they’re still buckets. There’s red stitching to remind you you’re in something potent, there’s a new teardrop-shaped gear knob and this model naturally gets the seven-inch infotainment system that incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.