Owners of the legendary Honda Civic Type R FD2 will tell you all about their car’s appetite for high octane fuel. Its high-revving naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre K20A engine is well-known for its requirement of RON 98 fuel, meaning nothing less than Shell V-Power Racing or Petron RON 100 fuel would do.
The recently-launched all-new Civic Type R FK8 will have no such problems, however, with Honda engineers having tuned the 2.0-litre VTEC Turbo engine to accept RON 95 petrol.
The compromise of being able to accept lower octane fuel, however, is that Malaysians will have to live with slightly detuned 310 PS outputs from the 2.0-litre engine versus the European model’s 320 PS.
Speaking in a special interview session with the Malaysian motoring media, the FK8’s Assistant Large Project Leader Hideki Kakinuma clarified that the difference between the 310 and 320 PS is purely on software tuning. Both versions of the engine share identical hardware.
Whilst it was not explicitly stated, strategies employed to counteract the potential knocking when used with RON 95 are likely to include retarding the ignition timing and adjusting the air-fuel ratio to run a slightly richer mix.
The 310 PS engine setup is offered in markets where low octane fuel is not available in abundance. Even in the United States, where this engine is made, the FK8 is offered with the lower engine tune.
According to Kakinuma-san, the reduction of 10 PS adds less than 0.1 seconds to the 0-100 km/h times of the Type R, which is quoted at 5.8 seconds for the European version – might add a few seconds to its Nurburgring time though.
The benefits of enabling the Civic Type R to accept RON 95 fuel is less to do with cost than it is to allow the car to be more easily refuelled when driven in rural areas.
A Type R owner who just blew RM300k on a hot hatchback is not likely to worry about fuel costs, granted, but could conceivably want to take the car on a spirited back road drive, and not many stations in such locations offer Shell V-Power Racing or Petron RON 100.
This compromise in set up is also in line with the new FK8’s brief to improve its long-distance touring credentials whilst preserving the quintessential Civic Type R characteristics.