TYPE R EP3 VS FK2As the car skipped over a hump mid corner - front wheels excitedly scrabbling for grip in the process - I confidently mashed my right foot into the floor, feeling the mechanical limited-slip diff put the demands of an angry turbo engine into action. The new Civic Type R’s shift light flashed red, telling me I needed to slide into the next gear using the oh-so sweet six-speed manual gearbox.
The first thing we noticed when getting these two together was the sheer size difference. The 2015 car is 183mm wider, 250mm longer, and 26mm taller. This is part of the reason it’s also a lot heavier: the EP3 tips the scales at just 1204kg, compared to 1382kg for the FK2. But, it’s worth bearing in mind that a bigger body gives you a hell of a lot more interior space, plus 200 litres more boot room. The EP3 feels cramped in comparison.
“In terms of straight line performance, the 2015 car well and truly trumps the old one, despite the hefty weight disadvantage”
The aero kit - which reduces drag as well as lift - plays a part, but it’s mostly down to a substantial increase in power. Over 100bhp more, in fact, and double the torque thanks to the shift from a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre to a turbocharged unit of the same size. The FK2 kicks out 306bhp and 295lb ft, compared to 197bhp and 145lb ft for the older machine. And don’t forget, the FN2 produced around about the same as its predecessor, so that’s a huge bump in poke from one generation to the next. The EP3 doesn’t have a limited-slip differential, which his something the FK2 can’t really do without. As such, it has a mechanical LSD, plus a ‘dual axis strut’ suspension system which separates the steering and suspension forces in order to quell torque steer. On the subject of the suspension, the older car has an independent rear suspension set-up, while the newer one has a torsion beam arrangement. It’s made from crushed pipes rather than a solid block, upping the rigidity by 177 per cent, and negating the need for a rear anti-roll bar. All that technical stuff is nice to know, but what about how the cars feel? Happily, after extensively driving the pair on the same bits of road, we have our answer….
The chassis continues to work amazingly well during demanding cornering. Dramatic changes in camber, tight corners, crappy road surfaces… it copes with the lot of them without so much as a shrug. Body roll is barely achievable unless you’re really trying/driving like a tool. It’s a relentless battering ram for the road that’ll stop at nothing in the quest for going mind-bendingly quickly.