The EK9 Civic Type R was preceeded by two previous generations of unofficial Type R's - the EF9 SiR I and EG6 SiR II. The EF9 was the first ever Civic to be bestowed with the 'Racing' moniker, in the form of the top of the line SiR trim featuring state-of-the-art racing technology available in a production car. With Honda now well into the 5th version of race-derived Civics, the EF9 is still revered by enthusiasts for its performance, simplicity and no-frills approach. The Civic SiR was also the first to utilize the venerable B16 engine, helical LSD, 4-wheel independent double wishbone suspension with uprated bound/rebound rates, and have semi-bucket seats mounted low in a stripped out interior devoid of luxuries such as power windows, sunroof and power steering. This inaugural top-of-the range Civic marked Honda's successes in Formula One with the Marlboro McLaren Honda team led by Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. The later EG6 SiR II used the same stripped out formula, with a 10ps hike for the B16 engine, marginally stiffer chassis, better brakes, and revised undercarriage settings in a slightly larger and heavier body shell. The first Civic to officially receive the Type R badge was introduced in 1997 as the EK9. As a hatchback which continued the 'R' philosophy from the 2 previous SiRs, the EK9 shared many characteristics with the Integra Type R DC2 such as omission of sound deadening and other weight-reduction measures, a hand-ported B16B engine, front helical limited-slip differential and close ratio gearbox etc. The B16B engine boasted one of the highest power output per litre of all time for an NA engine with 185ps from a 1.6L sump. For the first time, a strategically seam welded monocoque chassis was used to improve chassis rigidity. The interior featured red Recaro seats, a titanium shift knob and a Momo steering wheel. In 1999 the Type Rx was introduced featuring a CD player, body colored retractable electric door mirrors, power windows, auto air conditioning, keyless entry unlock system, aluminum sports pedals, and a carbon type center panel. The SiR badge from the previous 2 generations was ceded to the EK4 Civic as a mainstream sedan and hatchback which was sold in huge numbers across the globe due to its relatively low cost, practicality and everyday useable street performance/driveability.
In 2001 Honda introduced the next generation of the Civic Type R (EP3) as a unique 3 door hatchback to the UK market, which was manufactured in Swindon, England. This EDM Civic Type R featured a 200ps 2.0L i-VTEC engine (K20A) and the regular Type R treatment of seam welding, close ratio transmission and uprated brakes, but did not include some of the other higher-end features, such as the helical LSD and Recaro race-seats, that were standard in the previous generation EK9. However, Honda Japan still developed a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) version of the EP3 (which was also manufactured in Swindon, but shipped to Japan for finishing touches), which retained the highly renowned helical LSD similar to that of the EK9. Other differences included a more track-oriented chassis/undercarriage settings as compared to the EDM, as well as a 215ps engine with different camshafts and ECU programming. The JDM EP3 was also available in the traditional Type R championship white while the EDM was not. The EDM has more relaxed gear ratios and some high rpm horse power traded for low rpm torque compared to the JDM .
The EDM EP3 Civic Type R was much acclaimed by motoring journalists across the UK, winning 'Hot Hatch of the Year' awards more than once from Top Gear, Fifth Gear and What Car?. The Civic Type R became a popular alternative for mainstream drivers clocking huge sales numbers. The 2001 release of this CTR, as it is commonly referred to, also indicated Honda's return to Formula One after almost 10 years as an engine supplier to the Jordan and BAR teams - this eventually led to the full-fledged comeback as a dedicated F1 works team in 2005 with Honda gaining full ownership of British American Racing.
2004 saw this successful CTR updated with many improvements - revised EPS with quicker steering, revised suspension settings, HID headlamps (JDM only), lighter clutch and flywheel assembly etc; based on Honda literature, this facelifted (FL) model was targeted at addressing customers' and critics' feedback such as understeer on the limit (due to the front Macpherson strut setup), numb steering response and lack of low end torque.
Performance (all figures are Manufacturer Claims)
0-60mph in 6.6/6.8secs (JDM/EDM pre-FL), 6.2/6.4secs (JDM/EDM FL) 0-100mph in 15.1/16secs (JDM/EDM FL) Top Speed and 152 Mph Jdm
The Japanese market Civic Type R (FD2) went on sale on March 30 2007. For the first time, the JDM Civic was sold as a four door sedan rather than a three door hatchback. The new Japanese model's engine output is higher than the European version's, with 225ps being developed at 8,400 rpm and ft (215 NM) of torque peaking at 6,100rpm (versus 201ps at 7,800 rpm and ft at 5,600 rpm for the European model). Drive is fed through a close ratio six speed gearbox, and a limited slip differential is fitted as standard. The front brake discs are fitted with four pot Brembo calipers, and the car runs on 225/40 R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tyres. A Type R aero kit and trademark black and red bucket seats complete the package for the Championship White version, and black-on-black seats with red stitching for the Vivid Blue Pearl and Premium Silver versions.
Honda claims the body is 50% more rigid than the previous Japan-only Integra Type R, and the new model features an independent rear suspension rather than the torsion beam configuration used on the latest European Civic Type-R. To save weight, aluminum is used extensively and bonded with adhesive instead of welded.
In a back to back test on the UK TV program 5th Gear, the FD2 Type-R was 3 seconds quicker than the equivilient FN2 UK version around Castle Combe Circuit in the wet.
The FD2 Civic Type R was officially launched in the Malaysian market on August the 2nd 2007. It was the first time that any Type R JDM model was launched outside of Japan.
In addition to Civic Type R, 300 Honda Civic Mugen RR cars had also been produced for Japanese market, which reduced weight to 1255kg (2733 lbs), while the engine is rated 177kW (240ps) at 8,000 rpm and 218Nm (22.2kgm/160 lb-ft) torque at 7,000 rpm. This version cost 4,777,500 yen ($38,750 USD).
Mugen also debuted Civic Type-RR Experimental Spec concept car in Tokyo Auto Salon, which features 2157cc K20A engine rated 260ps and 173 lb.-ft. of torque. Weight is further reduced using aluminum hood (4.6 kg), as well as the new titanium exhaust system (7.6 kg). Interior was replaced with more carbon fibre parts. The car also features Intelligent-Tire Condition Monitoring System (i-TCMS) and Recaro Seats.
The European market Civic Type R is offered only as a three door hatch back and uses a different chassis and internal layout (notably tank placement below the driver's seat), which will serve as base for the next European Jazz. The rear suspension formerly a double wishbone set up has been changed to a less complex torsion beam axle. The drive train is largely the same as the out going model offering 201ps at 7,800 rpm and ft of torque at 5,600 rpm. It runs on 225/40 R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tyres. The new European Civic Type R has, despite some negative reviews - most notably from Jeremy Clarkson, been acclaimed in the motoring press with Top Gear Magazine awarding the European Civic Type R its 'Hot Hatch of 2007', praising the car's controls and comparing it favourably as a driver's car to its rivals, the Stig qualifying it as 'an utter gem'. The car has met with criticism from Evo Magazine, however, who complained that it falls short dynamically when compared to rivals like the European market Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTi particularly in the areas of steering and chassis balance, although the magazine has praised the improved steering feel and more evenly distributed torque of the FN2 compared to the previous EDM EP3. Nonetheless, the FN2 has outsold the Focus ST and Golf GTI during its first year of availability.