Imagine this, over 60 units of the Type R has been booked since its Malaysian preview just last month, but none of these buyers had a clue what the final selling price was, until last weekend. That’s how die hard the Type R following is.
Now, the most awaited 2018 Civic Type R is finally here, it’s caused quite a stir as well with a retail price of RM320K. Now that’s serious money, AMG money, or some might say, used GTR money. But to each his own, because Honda’s Type R is ultimately one of its kind and is currently the world’s fastest FF hatchback money can buy, that must count for something, right? Not forgetting the sweet, sweet manual box. Which is a true rarity in our current Facebook era.
Tag your R squad! Here’s an up close and personal moment with the new Type R at MAEPS, first drive impressions coming, stay tuned! This exact Sonic Grey shade won’t make it to Malaysia unfortunately. Only the Championship White will be available via Honda Malaysia #civictyper #fk8typer #hondamalaysia #sonicgrey #k20c1 #malaysiaautoshow #gopromy #zerotohundred
Feast your eyes on this Sonic Grey example, bearing the serial number Type R: 0000. This specific new Civic Type R is exclusively used for development, product training and such. It was made our faithful test unit last afternoon.
But the bad news is, we won’t be seeing this exact Sonic Grey shade in Malaysia anytime soon, because you can only buy the Type R via Honda Malaysia in Championship White. So, no red, blue or black here. Just like old times, back in 2009 when the FD2R was officially retailed by Honda Malaysia and even then, the only colour you can buy was Championship White.
Prior to its official launch, I had the extreme pleasure of attending an exclusive day out with the Type R which included:
- Meeting Hideki Kakinuma-San, the Assistant Project Leader of the Civic Type R
- Greeting the all new Type R, then getting acquainted with its new talents and iconic 310hp (320hp for other regions) K20C1 I-VTEC Turbo engine.
- Interview with Honda Malaysia which was chaired by Shugo Watanabe (Executive Coordinator Honda Malaysia), Hideki Kakinuma and Akkbar Daniel (Group Vice President, Honda Malaysia)
2018 HONDA CIVIC TYPE R (FK8R) SPECIFICATIONS
Engine: 2L Turbo 4 cylinder
Zerotohundred: 5.7 seconds
Top Speed: 272km/h
Transmission: 6 speed manual
Website: Honda Malaysia
Type R in depth facts:
Since the Type-R’s sneak preview in October last month at the Malaysian F1 GP weekend, Honda Malaysia has received over 50 customer bookings for the 2018 Civic Type-R.
Honda Malaysia says they plan to order 150 units by March 2018
Father of Type-R showing us how it's done! Watch as Hideki-San demos the agility of his creation through the short course! Check out our in depth detail and first impressions of the FK8R if you haven't already, link to story in profile! #fk8typer #civictyper #fk8r #hondamalaysia #honda #hidekikakinuma #sonicgrey #zerotohundred
Customers are expected to wait a handful of months before taking delivery of their Civic Type-R due to popular demand worldwide.
Even Hideki Kakinuma-San, the Assistant Large Project Leader (ALPL) of All-New Civic Type R has to wait 6 months for his.
Hideki-San ordered his in black.
Apparently Hideki-San has owned a range of European cars but not the Type R until now. When asked why? he answered, “I’ve finally created the car I want.”
Rev Match function is said to work with experienced drivers and not against them. Should the discerned driver prefer to perform heel and toe on his / her own, they can. The rev match feature does not intervene, as long as the said driver executes H&T before the Type R does. Sounds fair enough. Nevertheless, one can easily disable the feature if they wish.
From my past experience driving the 6 speed manual Nissan 370Z, which featured a similar rev match function, I found it to be extremely accurate and dummy proof. I realised the auto throttle blip moment actually happens just before the shift lever enters its next gear. For example, with the clutch in, you can even take your own sweet time to downshift from say, 4th to 3rd gear and the system will blip the revs right when the said gear engages and just enough for a perfect match. I would think it’ll work the same in the new Type R, or better, considering the 370Z is almost 10 years old now.
Type R Steering Rack
ALL window glasses on this current FK8R are identical to the regular Civic, no special thin or lightweight glass here. Hideki-San says, “we felt we’ve achieved the minimum weight we wanted so we did not want to compromise on sound dampening especially during high speed driving, wind noise and such. The Civic Type-R is made for everybody so it needs to be practical as well”
The new Civic Type-R is now 16kg lighter than its predecessor. It is based on the current Civic hatchback platform and is said to possess supreme body rigidity. Despite that, Honda Type-R engineers went one step further to stiffen things up a notch with what’s called Adhesive Jointing. It is an application of a special glue whereby it is “painted” directly onto the seams and joints throughout the Civic’s bare body. Adhesive Jointing is said to improve chassis rigidity during dynamic driving conditions.
Type R 6 Speed Transmission
+ R Mode
More Power than Before
The new Type R is also a touch more powerful than before at 320hp in the new FK8R, from 310hp in the old FK2R. Although the version we get in Malaysia is rated at a lower 310hp, yes it’s sort of a detune but I’ll get to that later.
The new R being more powerful has to do with its exhaust system, says Hideki San. The torsion beam in rear axle of the predecessor FK2R was the hindering factor of an ideal flow. That has since been solved in this new FK8R bearing independent suspension.
The rear track of the FK8R had also been widened from before to increase rear stability, which is the defining factor of good handling performance cars. It also improves high speed stability, and that contributes to the Type-R’s new approach – to be fit for a daily performance car, such as to commute on the European highways at over 200km/h continuously.
Still sticking to 2WD?
Honda Type-R engineers didn’t want to explore 4WD to keep to their philosophy of simplicity where light is fast. After all they have managed to build the fastest FF today
Honda these days prefer to build Type-R cars based on their C segment Civics not just because it is their best selling Type-R, but it is also the best platform for the Type-R to shine, considering their prowess in formidable 4 cylinder engines.
The famed Lap Record in the FK8R’s Nurburgring run was achieved on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, one of the best road tyres available off the shelves.
The entire internet had noticed and pointed out that the FK8R had been outfitted with a roll cage during its 7:4X Nurburgring run. So what was that about?
Hideki-San had then clarified that the roll cage were sitting on rubber mounts instead of being directly bolted or welded to the car’s floor. So no part of the roll cage was integral to the FK8R’s structural rigidity, thus not cheating in any way.
3 Exhaust Tips
Why 310hp in Malaysia and not 320hp?
Okay here goes. Hideki-San says it all has to do with our region’s available fuel quality and not the hardware. Honda had actually considered the average fuel quality of the entire Malaysia and subsequently tuned the Type-R to not just accommodate but still perform on low quality / low RON fuel. The changes are mostly software based fortunately.
The good news from all of these effort and not so preferred detuning? One can actually pump as low as RON 91 as the majestic Type-R is made for it. Hideki-san says owners should choose RON95 because it was the fuel type used for its 310hp rating. RON95 will be just as good as RON97 or higher. Having said that, Using higher RON fuel will not harm the Type-R nor will it improve power much in default tune.
Honda Malaysia prepared a bite sized autocross arena for the Type-R test drive. It consists of a braking zone, a slalom sector and finally a reaction left / right zone. It was just long enough for the Type-R to max out in 2nd gear. The tarmac was in poor condition and littered with sand, so not the most ideal way to savour the new R but that would do for now.
Taking off at standstill, the Type-R felt large, a little reluctant in the beginning but then the surge of power comes. Does it feel like 310hp? Maybe yes but it was incredibly civilised. The pull from gear to gear felt so long, it’s as though they’d taken gear ratios from a BMW M3 instead.
The Type-R felt:
- A lot more mature in general
- Very easy to drive, clutch is light and gears just slot in like magnets
- Much more forgiving than previous Type-Rs for sure
- So refined, the car just drowns out all driving mistakes, such as potential bad manual shifting and such.
Despite the appalling tarmac conditions, and the FK8R running on 20″ wheels with 30 series tyres, the ride felt very refined – for a civic that is, and a Type-R at that. It is honestly well tuned for for a hot hatch and is one that could even beat the current Merc C Class in ride quality as a comparison.
Speaking of Mercedes, just in this teaser drive alone, I could tell instantly, that this new Type-R is more livable than any AMG today. It feels very ergonomic, the cockpit design is on the dot, spot on. Since it is based mostly on the outgoing Civic, you can bet it is a near perfect execution. But don’t expect any bling, expensive materials or luxury in the Type-R. The minimalist interior pales in comparison to the AMG.
What’s different here in the new R are anodized red + faux CF accents, Type-R specific instrument cluster, and the all important red sport seats. Type R Engineers have put a lot of thought into developing these pair of thrones which totally adds to the entire Type-R experience, or rather defines it.
Pretty awesome pair of seats to be honest. Best in class? Likely. Comfort wise, these totally trump those in the Megane RS and AMG 45, which are benchmark seats in their own right, yet have always felt hard or less cushioned. Type-R Seating position is second to none, in here it sits lower than before. But let’s just say they work better than they look.
In terms of operating the new R, this one is definitely the easiest, most forgiving of the entire Type-R generation and of all hot hatches in town right now for that matter. Everything from the gear lever to the pedals to the steering feels more heavy duty yet light to use. Maybe a little too light but it’s a refreshing change.
It’s not as direct as the FD2R and it’s not as bang, bang, bang quick as before either. It’s as though Honda’s added an extra joint in between the line somewhere, diluting the intensity somehow. Despite that, doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to drive.
Its hard to sum up the new FK8R from this short drive in the said terrain, not being able to extract its full potential especially in the handling department. But just based on this short course alone, it is obvious how mature the Type-R has become.
Yes it has lost all of the NA fireworks and “purity” that were the highlight of the previous FD2R generation. It is no longer as hard or dramatic, nor does it scream and shout like a teenager.
Much like a grown up in its 20’s, it is no longer interested in skipping around. It is now wiser, more composed and purposeful. This new R has buffed up quite a fair bit and there’s no denying how big its new found muscles have become, having gained considerable power and torque. The FK8R is definitely here for the long haul, no longer living a quarter mile at a time.