Honda updates Civic Type R

Honda has confirmed the introduction of an updated 2020 Year Model (20YM) Civic Type R for the Australian market, ahead of its official October 1 on-sale date.

The new 20YM model brings a number of changes and improvements, including upgrades to ride and handling, braking performance, and engine cooling, freshened exterior and interior design elements, plus Honda’s first-ever performance data-logging application, exclusive to the Civic Type R.

The suspension has been upgraded for more responsive and sharper handling. The control software for the Adaptive Damper System (ADS) now evaluates road conditions 10 times faster (2Hz to 20Hz), resulting in improved damper reactions for better handling response and ride quality.

Rear bushings for the lower B-arm have been stiffened for an eight per cent improvement in lateral loads, resulting in better toe-in characteristics when cornering. At the front, updated compliance bushings (10 per cent stiffer longitudinally) and new lower-friction ball joints result in sharper steering feel for better control.

For improved brake performance, the 2020 Civic Type R features an upgraded braking system, with new two-piece floating front brake discs and new brake pads with a more fade-resistant pad material. These enhancements improve thermal efficiency, increasing braking capabilities during high intensity driving.

Under heavy loads, the brake stroke has been reduced by up to 15mm (approximately 17 per cent), which results in the brake pedal delivering a more immediate feel compared to the outgoing model. In addition, the new front brake system reduces total unsprung weight by around 2.3kg to aid both ride and handling characteristics.

Engine cooling performance has been improved by a new larger grille and thinner grille beam, which delivers a 13 per cent larger air intake opening. Combined with an updated radiator core, this decreases coolant temperature by up to 10 degrees (under Honda internal testing) in high-demand situations, such as during track driving.

A small reduction in front downforce resulting from the new larger grille opening was countered by a redesigned front under-bumper air dam, which was made slightly deeper and modified to include new ribbed sections on each end to create negative pressure on the front tyres.

For the new model year, Civic Type R receives a number of styling and design enhancements to both exterior and interior. The lower fog light surrounds feature a new symmetrical design, incorporating smooth surfaces and sleek styling blades.

The body-coloured blades are also a feature of the refreshed rear bumper design, bringing Type R in line with the rest of the Civic hatch range, which was updated at the beginning of 2020.

A bold new paint colour helps mark the introduction of the updated Civic Type R – called Racing Blu. The new pearlescent paint finish joins Rally Red, Crystal Black, and Championship White, which have all been carried over from the existing colour range.

Inside, the Civic Type R gains a new Alcantara wrapped steering wheel for improved grip, a new shift lever with restyled knob and the same Alcantara finish for the shift boot. The new teardrop-style gear knob is reminiscent of those found on earlier Type R models and includes a 90g internal counterweight to help improve shift feel and accuracy.

A revised seven-inch Advanced Display Audio touchscreen with integrated ventilation system controls is part of the 20YM package, with hard key for the most commonly used functions, along with a dedicated volume control knob.

Also new for the updated Civic Type R is the addition of Active Sound Control (ASC), which works to enhance the engine sound during aggressive driving in Sport and +R modes, while refining it further in Comfort mode.

Debuting for the first time in any Honda is a new performance datalogger, exclusive to Civic Type R. Known as Honda LogR, the system combines the Type R’s onboard computer and sensors with a smartphone app to help drivers monitor and record a variety of performance parameters.

2020 Honda Civic Type R LogR Performance App

It also helps improve their driving skills both on and off the track through the use of a driving-smoothness algorithm. With access to the onboard computer, Honda LogR can deliver much more detail than third-party performance data logging applications.

Honda LogR features three main functions: a Performance Monitor, a Log Mode, and an Auto Score Mode. Performance Monitor provides vehicle information to the driver on the Display Audio screen while the app is functioning. Log Mode records lap times on the track, allowing drivers to improve their driving skills in a circuit environment. The Auto Score function encourages smooth day-to-day driving by monitoring braking, acceleration, steering and straight-line driving, and generating a score based on the smoothness algorithm.

While driving, all interaction with Honda LogR is through the Display Audio screen. Log Mode and Auto Score both offer more in-depth analysis through smartphone including previous drives, performance traces and replays using Google maps, along with detailed vehicle information.

When connected to the app-equipped smartphone, the Type R’s centre screen displays a Performance Monitor, which allows the driver to see vehicle functions in real time, including gear position, coolant and oil temperatures, oil and atmospheric pressures, and engine intake air temperatures. Drivers can also choose between a ‘G-Meter’ view that indicates acceleration, braking and cornering on a ‘bowl’ graph, or a ‘3D’ view that provides a bird’s-eye visual of the car’s cornering, braking and acceleration behaviour. Additionally, the Display Audio screen shows the current drive mode – Comfort, Sport or +R.

Log Mode is designed to help drivers achieve the best possible lap times on the track. The program uses GPS to monitor and map the vehicle’s location, along with the car’s internal sensors to gather data on acceleration, braking, cornering G and other parameters. The app encourages smooth, controlled driving through the use of a colour-coded trace of each lap. The goal is to encourage smooth inputs to the clutch, gear shift, steering, brakes, and accelerator to keep the car balanced and thus improve overall driving skills, not just the skills required for a particular track. Users can save their lap times to compare their improvement over time.

The Auto Score function operates whenever the Honda LogR app is in use, monitoring the driver’s behaviour over time by tracking inputs for acceleration, deceleration, turning and straight-line driving, and generating a score for each; it also generates a combination score of those four parameters.

The score is generated against the same expert driver baseline that is built into the app and used in the Log Mode function. However, the Auto Score encourages smoothness of inputs to help improve routine daily driving, rather than seeking faster lap times. Similar to the Log Mode, Auto Score also keeps a historical record that ties in with the GPS function to show driving improvement over time.

Under the bonnet, the 20YM Civic Type R retains the 2.0-litre VTEC Turbo engine, which produces 228 kW of power at 6500 rpm and 400 Nm peak torque from 2500-4500 rpm. The engine is matched to a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching function.

Specifically engineered for direct injection and turbocharging, with an ultra-lightweight forged steel crankshaft and forged steel connecting rods, the Type R powerplant is designed to offer maximum torque output in the mid-rpm range to provide instantly accessible power. Offered exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, the high-strength gearbox offers a short-throw shift action and closely spaced ratios tailored to suit the power delivery of the 2.0-litre turbo engine.

A driver-selectable rev-matching feature ensures smooth high-performance downshifts, while a helical limited-slip front differential helps the Civic Type R transfer its power to the ground. As before, the driver can choose between three driving modes – Comfort, Sport and +R – that vary damping force, steering assist, and throttle mapping.

Type R’s selectable drive modes and sophisticated design make it both a thrilling companion on a winding mountain road and a remarkably civilised daily driver with a high degree of flexibility.

Civic Type R will officially go on sale in Australia on October 1, 2020, with a Manufacturer’s List Price of $54,990.

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