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2 Aug 2017

Is the FK8 Type R a great Type R ?

Here it is, it's been a while since the whole earth gave its opinion on the new Civic Type R (FK8), technical specifications are everywhere on the Internets, now it's my turn to give my humble thoughts about on the beast. (Clicking on links in red you will be able to see what I'm talking about in the video especially in the driving chapter) Pour mes amis les Français, rendez-vous dans les pages d'Autoworks n°53.

Exterior :

What instantly chocs is that you can actually find a hood on this Civic, I mean Honda has dropped the diving profile and frankly it's much better as it is now. This characteristic had forced the engineers to put an air intake on it.




The front face really makes me REALLY think of a Mecca (or Gundam) and, I think I like it a lot, one thing is sure, pictures and videos of the car do not do it justice, you have to meet her in the wild to really apreciate her. 




Whatever you like or not all these aero devices, the latter are all functional except the side skirts. All this beautiful world coupled to the flat bottom even smoother than previously helps to create negative lift, only car of its segment to achieve this prowess.

Interior:

You feel at home for the regulars Honda owners, the ass on the ground ! The driving position has droped by 25mm from its predecessor. We owes this progression to the fuel tank position that had migrated to the rear, contrary to its predecessor that housed it under the front seats. The bucket seats are lighter than before and just as enveloping. For sportiness and quality, nothing wrong.


The driving : At last ! So what is it like ? The first wheel revolution I did, made me completely seduced ! And it was on paving stones, the same exercise in the FK2 and you loose few centimeters of vertebrae. This FK8 is even comfortable in the default mode, ie the "Sport", knowing that you still have a "Comfort" one says a lot about the versatility of the car.

The controls are super precise, including this damned shifter that gets even more precision ! The steering wheel no longer hides the Shift light (the latter is lowered in the dashboard) and the pedals are propitious to the heel-toe ... An exercise that the "Rev Mach Function" will avoid you to do... GREAT [Loads of sarcasm here] ! Fortunately this gadget is completely dis connectable. So I wonder if Honda added this trick to save the transmission organs, the latter being now deprived of the bi-mass Flywheel (25% lighter now).

On highway, you will be surprised to comfortably cruise at 220km / h while on winding roads you will be surprised of the confidence you get diving from corners to corners, something you didn't get in the FK2.

My test on track took place at the Lausitzring, a technical circuit combining fast and tighter corners. + R mode on, and WOT ! The K20C1 and its new gear box (final gear ratio 7% shorter) make us forget the 36kg weight gain of the FK8 to propel us to more than 200km / h at the first braking, Without browsing, the 4 piston calipers bite the new 350mm discs while the rear axle still waddles a bit until you mark it in curve.

Then comes the re acceleration  ... And it is at this precise moment that you feel the goods made by the new rear damping configuration (independent multi-link rear suspension) ! We actually feel the rear end gripping, taking some roll and talking to you by the butt how it feels, where it goes and how it goes there. It is no longer this piece of wood miserly in information that made the reaccelerations awaiting longer than a call to Orange customer Hotline Service. (French communication service make).

An exacerbated behavior you can feel in tights parts of the track in which after having taken a little too much confidence I found myself in a huge understeers. A situation that in the previous model would have forced you to almost stop before you could get back to the clipping point. Now, just slightly releasing the throttle aiming to the clipping point is enough to correct the shot. This behavior is partially the result of the AHA (Agil Handling Assist) a "torque vectoring system" whose principle is to apply a slight braking force to the inner front wheel thereby helping the work of the limited slip differential. A discreet device you don't even feel working.

And here we go for the long fast curves... The old one already had a formidable efficiency in these conditions, this last iteration is even more flattering your ego by allowing you speeds of which you would not have felt able to reach And if any once this excess of confidence had proved a bit abusive, no worries, quietly release the throttle a bit, and the car will forgive you safely, impressive ! This behavior is also due (again) to the design of the rear axle whose independent character allows a gain of "Toe In" under load for greater stability.


 More predictable, easier but also, and above all, faster, this Type R jumps from one turn to another, even allowing slight rear axle drifts. The ESP is only disconnectable
 in + R mode, it reveals a welcomed attention from the engineers to make the car exhilarating. A laudable intention that I would have liked to find in the hand brake, becoming electric only ... Too bad for the mountain hairpins!

In terms of driving pleasure Honda has really worked on the exhaust acoustics to eliminate certain frequencies that can be exhausting on long constant speed paths, which explains 3rd exhaust exit. That said, I would still have liked a bit more character, NOISE, at least in + R mode as it is the case with other manufacturers where just pressing a switch, bypasses a few silencer to release the engine voice.

To summarize, this car has simply just matured without without being wiser at all. It seems that Honda has the recipe to transform a simple hatchback into weapon to worry a few GT's ...

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Welcome to the Papot's world ! I'm a track addicted driver, Motorsports enthusiast and traveler. You can follow here my evolving oldschool Honda Civic and my trips with it around the world on Papots-Garage blog. You can also follow the last Motorsports news or appreciate Motorsports stuff I like mainly focused about Japanese brands and scene on Papots Motorsports blog. #Enjoycarlife