Enter R Engineering
Located just off Pasir Gudang highway and a stone’s throw from Permas Jaya, who are without question Johor Bahru’s premiere tuning and motorsport outfit. The go to place for mid to high end cars and customers seeking maintenance, power or race engineering. After all, R Engineering has clinched numerous top honours at Sepang and bagged Champion at the MMER 12 hour race in 2014.
So why are we here?
This is the first and only Turbo Type-R in the country, which R Engineering has just acquired from the UK. For the same reasons why you won’t be seeing this exact car on the roads in the near future is precisely why it was brought into Malaysia this soon.
In a matter of days, this baby will be stripped, cut and caged to be made R Engineering’s current touring car candidate and a new contender at the upcoming 2015 Sepang 12 Hour Race (Previously MMER 12 Hour) in December. R Engineering is also likely to contend this Civic Type-R Turbo for 2016’s season of the Malaysia Championship Series (MCS). So watch out my racing buddies, the Touring Production grid at MCS 2016 is set to see some reshuffling.
Plot change: R Engineering terminated their plans for Sepang 12Hr last weekend
The Gundam Type-R
This being my first impressions, I’ll focus on the obvious. In the flesh, the new Turbo Type-R which I will now refer to as FK2R looks every bit as menacing as the published press pictures and reviews from Europe and the UK. The Gundam styling takes time to settle in and is likely to get conservative people whispering. I relate the FK2R styling to Gundam for its obvious and abundant use of out-of-this-world styling, everything from the massive fenders, wings, air inlets and outlets. It’s definitely the wildest Type-R in the history of Type-Rs.
Facts about The 2015 Honda Civic Type-R Turbo (FK2R)
- Zerotohundred: 5.7 seconds (claimed)
- Top Speed: 270km/h
- Engine: Turbocharged 2L i-VTEC
- Power: 310hp
- Torque 400nm
- Weight: 1378kg
I won’t comment on the aspect of beauty but I’d say it’s necessary. With today’s top hot hatches edging supercar performance, It’s only right that manufacturers push the boundaries of their engine and aero capabilities. If you notice, there are plenty of details to digest from on this FK2R.
The front section especially, mostly dedicated to cooling their first ever 300hp / 400nm turbocharged Type-R engine. The front air dam now house a gigantic intercooler, likely the biggest I’ve seen on a production hatch.
For the first time, a Type-R with keyless start. Bliss. Press the start button, the engine comes to life and from the inside it sounds just like the older K20 powered FD2R or FN2R. Typical instrument cluster dials dance to what Japanese calls the opening ceremony. Everything from the gear knob to the foot pedals look and feel familiar.
I was expecting a difference here but I suppose if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. No complains whatsoever, the Type-R has always offered great tools of the cockpit and gearshifts retain the same snick snack, short and accurate throws. But the wonderful floor-mounted throttle pedal from the FD2R is missing here.
Moving off, creeping out of the parking lot before heading onto the main roads, the Type-R sensation is pretty much similar. However there’s a certain degree of maturity from the underlying low end torque that wasn’t there in the previous super sensitive K20A. Making it even easier to drive now. That’s about it. It is not until you engage the gears and hit 3000rpm before you feel something different. 4000rpm onwards, okay wow. Continue to floor and cycle 3rd through 5th, damn this new Turbo Type-R is brutal!
The new Honda K20C1 2.0L Turbo engine is highly responsive, spot on and in the right gear at the right RPM range, lag and throttle elasticity is simply non existent. If anything, it feels almost like a huge NA.
The newly adopted soundtrack and attitude the FK2R emit is likely to turn many purists off. Gone forever is the music. That distinct howl of the 9000rpm NA is replaced by 2 very audible turbine whooshes and wastegate kapishes. Also gone forever is what used to be an imminent VTEC-just-kicked-in-yo zone. That sudden second stage kick-in-the-chest sensation has been replaced by an impressively linear, yet mighty mid-range force fed gravity pull. Operating the new Turbo Type-R at full acceleration, there is virtually no torque steer even with its monstrous 300hp thanks to Honda’s new Dual Axis Strut, not dissimilar to current Megane RS’s Perfohub, which cleverly eliminates camber change during hard acceleration.
I have to say character wise, there’s little to appreciate from this new K20C1 engine other than brute power. Sat in the new Turbo Type-R with eyes closed, one might mistake it for an Evo 7/8/9. Yes, the massive heart of this new beast has become a bit conventional. Yet, plain it is not. One thing is for sure, there isn’t a production 4-cylinder Type-R of before that can ever come close to the sort of pace this monster builds. Credentials wise, It’s right up there with sworn enemy Megane RS 275.
Easily my top favourite feature here. Far from the usual practices, this new Type-R has electronic damping! At default non +R mode even on the FK2R’s excessively specced 235/35/19 Contisport Contact 6 tyres, the ride is plush, well damped and drives just like say a Golf GTI. It’s comfortable with a touch of firmness and will likely be the preferred mode for most scenarios where the electronics actively alters suspension damping. It handles undulating roads brilliantly too. The roads in the Permas Jaya vicinity is littered with dips and bumps, yet the FK2R manages to impress with its ability to soak them and keep itself incredibly well leveled at all times. Truly a never before seen feature in Type-Rs of before or most Hondas for that matter. This aspect alone trumps the Megane RS equipped in either Sport or Cup chassis.
The +R Mode
Hit the +R button and the FK2R turns into a monster. Instrument cluster lighting glow from white to sinister red and Idling revs immediately jump a notch signifying its change of character. Drive by wire system reacts much more eagerly to every touch of the throttle. Electronic stability control loosens itself to submit to your demands and the engine adopts its extreme ecu map to provide maximum response and power. Power steering is less assisted thus an increase in feedback. This change of mode is felt substantially throughout the FK2R and during actual drive.
The +R Mode on the FK2R also alters its electronic damping pretty aggressively. Where at the press of the said button the suspension goes full hard and whatever I’ve just mentioned above about how magically compliant the suspension at default goes out the window. It’s as if the suspension were replaced with those from the previous NA FD2R. If you’ve owned or driven one of, you’ll know what I mean. There is zero comfort in this mode and every dip and bump is a jolt to your body. Chances are you’ll land on a piece of road on the highway that’ll send the FK2R into a frantic up/down rhythm and your boobs, man or woman jiggling till end of time.
Yet it is a good thing. I’m a loyal supporter of electronic damping and having double mode suspension at a flick of a switch can only provide double the driving pleasure. Almost like 2 cars in one. A proper daily road weapon fit for work or shopping and upon aggression, simply unleash full ferocity via +R. What’s there not to like? The previous FD2R can get rather nervous on the road with its concrete suspension but is supreme at the limit on touge and track. Now with e-damping, expect this new FK2R to surpass its predecessor in any given situation.
Yes there’s keyless entry here. Open the rather heavier than usual door and you’re greeted by a pair of all-new Type-R seats. I’ll talk about these babies in bit. First impressions of the cockpit? Definitely a vast improvement over previous Type-Rs. There’s a noticeable sense of European input here, after all, it’s where the FK2R was developed by and for.
The seats in this new R is a winner. Familiar red stitching on black suede-ish material matched with red fabric remain, although it’s taken an all new form. These are the best they’ve put into the Type-R. Likely some of the most desireable in class as well, with faultless ergonomics and adjustability fit for long hauls or competitive driving. Polished metal finish on the aftermarket harness support exudes quality.
There is also a centrally positioned independent digital display for on-board telemetry that includes boost readings, throttle input, brake pressure and such, also a first for any Type-R ever introduced. Definitely something awesome to have but I’m unsure about actual operation since it is pretty small. Multi function steering wheel controls this feature and allows you to flip through the functions and other pages as well.
Honda’s all-new Turbo Type-R is their meanest, fastest and most controversial edition yet. Many will frown at the excessive styling, impractically huge wheels and most of all, the absence of NA VTEC amusement. But in reality, the FK2R is truly special. The Jekyl and Hyde +R mode button provides best of both driving worlds and when I say best of both worlds, it really is world’s apart. No gimmicky Sport Mode wordplay here. This extreme change of character is second to none and makes all the difference between a great daily car and a track car.
Judging where the automotive industry is heading with double clutch transmissions, the FK2R may just be some of the last remaining exciting manual hot hatch cars to own. All current Type-Rs offer quality shifts and well thought foot pedals. If like me you appreciate a good manual transmission, you’ll like this new FK2R. Although built quality may not look at all impressive, It still is best in class.
The engine is without a doubt lacking in character and disappointingly conventional in acoustics. But it does bring the FK2R into the new and competitive 2L Turbo hot hatch world. As boring as the engine may sound, in reality the K20C1 engine is a true performer. It is also Honda’s first step into new battlegrounds and I must say it is a good first try and well worth the shot.
All in all, the FK2R got all my boxes ticked. It drives beautifully, has impressive daily driver qualities and posses an extreme double personality. It’s bleeding with new tech, functions and build quality the previous iterations never had. It’s got an awesome cockpit and is the greatest Type-R cockpit ever. I cannot wait for my next opportunity with another FK2R when it becomes more available. This time it will be at the circuit for a full impression.
But right now, I truly madly deeply want one.
As part of our recent feature “Conquering the hills in a Clio RS armed with a phone camera and an oil change” where I dedicated a full feature on our hill drive thrills after a Shell Helix Ultra oil change, I hope you enjoyed this Turbo Type R feature that was also shot mostly via a Samsung Note 5.