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Honda's Civic Type R FK2 and FK8 are prime examples of why turbochargers are the way to go

2020-02-21 04:30

Robin Classen

Image: Newspress

Japanese manufacturers was at the peak of its powers in the '90s giving petrolheads of the time overflowing luxuries of speed and performance.

Yes the Supra, GTR and RX-7 are legends cut of a different cloth, but what the engineers at Honda did with the Civic Type R is something special and will likely never be repeated.

A racecar bred for the road

How Honda managed to extract 136kW from a 1.6-litre engine still trumps most feats to this day while at the same time showed that the technology was way ahead of its time.

LISTEN | The 2018 Honda Civic Type R at full blast

Since the EK9, there have been five Civics to grace the heralded Type R name but in recent years Honda went back on what they steadfastly never did all those years ago - they went the turbo route.



Do you think Honda should revive other Type R models or does the Civic suffice? Email us.

As the noughties rolled in and the Germans started tinkering with forced induction, it was the Golf V GTI that completely changed the game in 2005. Never-mind a revolutionary DSG transmission, it had a 2.0-litre engine that kicked out 147kW. The bar was officially raised.

Turbo the way to go

At the time, Honda still had 'R' representatives, the FN2 and EP3, all of which made good power but with a manual gearbox and minuscule torque, it was no match for not only the GTI but newcomers like the Ford Focus ST and Opel Astra OPC. One thing they all had it common - they were powered by turbochargers.

Type R interior

                                                                            Image: Joao Melo

At this time, the Japanese manufacturers had to answer to what their rivals were doing. What they did in the 90's was now a mere candle in the desert leaving a huge scape that others had now long surpassed.

With the emergence of even faster hot hatches like the Golf R and Focus RS, it was at this point that Honda had enough and the decision to cross the 'forbidden' turbo threshold came fruition.

Finally..a worthy rival

After much scrounging around the rumour mill, word officially dropped on the FK2 Civic Type R and going down in the history books as the first-ever Civic to come out of the factory with forced induction.

                                                                             Image: Newspress

Power from its K20 engine was drastically improved to 228kW and after about 3 years, Honda once again dropped another Civic, this time the FK8 which used the same engine as the previous generation.

Honda would never have attained or let alone competed with its rivals had they not made the move to turbos. Times and technology have changed rapidly, leaving little room for traditions of 20 years ago.

The move to turbos now makes sense even though it means following a trend and changing with the times.

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