U.S. Spec Civic Type-R to Have Less Horsepower than International Version
There is a 10 horsepower penalty for CTR owners living in the U.S.
In case you have been living under a rock: Honda is bringing back the Type-R name to the United States, with the introduction of the FK8 Civic Type-R. It utilizes a modified 2.0L K-series engine, with direct-fuel injection and a turbocharger, resulting in 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.
That is a lot of power for a front-wheel drive hot hatch. However, it’s not quite as much power as what Honda enthusiasts abroad will be getting. Curious? Don’t be, here is what you need to know:
Let’s talk octane, and what it means for the Civic Type-R.
Rather predictably, it’s the quality of fuel available in the United States, versus what is available in Europe or Japan. Throughout the country, pump gas is usually capped at 93 octane. However, in certain areas, even that is a pipe dream and the highest octane rating available at the pump is 90/91. Conversely, in much of continental Europe for example, their high-octane fuel is roughly equivalent to 94/95.
In short, the higher the octane rating, the greater resistance to detonation the fuel has. Running too low of an octane fuel can cause pre-detonation (knock) on highly-strung engines. Turbo cars in particular are very picky when it comes to fueling as there is a much greater risk of detonation when boost is added into the mix. N/A cars have to worry about the air-to-fuel ratio (AFR) and timing. Turbo cars have AFR, timing and boost to contend with when it comes to the engine management side of things. With that in mind, Honda detuned the CTR by 10 horsepower to account for the variance in available fuels across North America.
How did Honda detune the Civic Type-R?
I understand the reasoning, however, when it comes to turbocharged engines, 10 horsepower is easily lost or gained with an extra PSI of boost, or an extra degree or two of timing. It simply isn’t much of the difference in terms of engine calibration. This brings me to an important question: will the CTR is maxed out in stock trim, or is Honda just being cautious? Will that small measure be enough for the stock CTR to run “right” in stock trim?
For example, with Subaru and the WRX/STi models, those cars have issues with knock in stock form. It is quite common for those cars to experience knock because the factory tune can’t deal with the fuel available. Part of the issue is the fuel mixture is too lean (more parts air than fuel), to reduce emissions. Tuning is a fine balance: Enriching the AFR to compensate for increased timing advance and boost is a general rule of thumb.
I have faith in Honda, for the most part, they produce bulletproof powerplants. However, having been around and tuned a bevvy of turbocharged engines from different manufacturers, the basic rules still apply. While 10 horsepower won’t be noticed by most, a loud bang when a piston goes through the block certainly will be. Just ask those aforementioned Subaru owners who are now in line to buy the CTR. We shall see come this Summer when we get behind the wheel of the Type-R.