Launched: Honda Civic Type-R (FL5)

Dagger 1 to 5, up and ready…!

That is the only vocabulary that came to mind, when my wingman and I headed out of Cape Town from a hangar full of aeroplanes… in a car that felt more like a weapon than anything else with four wheels and a lightened fly-wheel.

I really felt like a boy being handed a jar full of candy, when I got a call from Honda SA one morning, saying that they’d like us at Galimoto Media / NamWheels to join the launch of the much-anticipated FL5 Civic Type R. The question for me really was, can Honda make a better car than their already record-breaking FK8 Type R?

The answer simply is: they have built a car that literally has only one comparison, and that is the same car in a different colour, next to it. This lingo was heard from many journalists, that there is no real comparison for this car. It simply came from another planet, and has absolutely no respect for any forces of nature.

The price tag of just below a bar should really be seen in context, because the intentional buyer will have a good idea of what they’re getting. He or she should be applauded with a unique call-sign under the seat, because they are buying a car that could have more value than the most popular crypto currencies one day.

The FL5 really felt like it was designed next to a race track, and that’s exactly where it’s most comfortable, coming from me who can barely spell ‘heal and toe’, never mind executing it in real life. The rev-matching function is absolute genius. Even my wing man next to me, who initially detested the idea, changed his mind about it.

“The rev-matching function is absolute genius.”

Our trip around Clarence Drive, and then through Houwhoek Pass, mostly took place in “Plus R” mode, for obvious cornering reasons. The thing that really set this car apart from the previous FK8, is the individual set-up mode. We had most functions set to Plus R, but then kept our suspension in “Comfort”, to make up for the imperfections of the passes we were carving through. Thank you to Kyle Kock for the genius set-up!

Our day ended in Franschoek with a very special track experience, which I’m not allowed to share the coordinates of, as it’s privately owned. I personally did eight laps with a racing instructor next to me, and the nature of the FL5 over the older EP3 and FN2 type R’s certainly is more mid-range torque orientated than high revving, keeping the power up there at stratospheric rpm’s.

I personally owned two K20 Honda’s. The first was a UK-spec 2004 EP3, and the second was a pure 2003 JDM import Euro R Accord, that red-lined at 8500 rpm. You could easily shift at 9000 rpm and yes, it was glorious to stay up there in the rev range. I quickly learned that I had to recalibrate my instinct towards the blown K20C1, having been used to the legendary K20.

The new Civic Type R is available off the floor with 235 kW of power and 420 Nm of torque, plus an audible exhaust change in Plus R mode. This is already aftermarket territory. Honda has listened to enthusiasts throughout most generations of Type R’s and they have put the cherry onto the cake with individual mode in the FL5.

Some say that the gasoline hot hatch is heading for extinction. Honda’s reply with the FL5: “Not today!”

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