All posts in “Series Production Car”

Honda Civic Type R Sport Line: An In-depth Look


Now more than ever, I think it’s accurate to say that the “gentleman’s sports car” is in vogue. Made popular by the likes of Porsche – currently exemplified by the 911 GT3 Touring, in their case – there’s a growing call for performance models to start offering a less extroverted version of themselves. Of course, this does not have to come at the exclusion of automakers continuing to produce their more race-inspired cars, but rather as a complement to them. For an increasing number of car enthusiasts, less often means more, and subtlety is what makes the ultimate statement.

Let’s also establish the fact that the CTR is every bit as deserving as any other car that gets featured on our website. From a performance standpoint, the car is a proven winner: I continue to see this in person at just about every track day I attend where, when under the control of a capable driver, the Type R always gives exotic cars a run for their money and humbles more of their respective owners than they’d prefer to admit.

Honda Civic Type R Race Track

Now with that settled, Honda has followed a tried-and-tested formula with their latest rendition of the CTR – the Honda Civic Type R Sport Line. As the third distinctive variant (with the standard and Limited Edition models being the other two), the Sport Line model looks to scrap the boy racer image, with a more refined and grown-up persona to take its place. This is an evolution of visual details above all else, with the absence of a large rear wing being, by far, the most notable difference. Other relatively discreet changes – such as smaller 19″ wheels, plus the removal of most of the red exterior accents – collectively proclaim that the Sport Line is more about class than it is about sass.

Engine & Performance

Under the skin, the Sport Line shares all of the same underpinnings with the regular model. After all, the whole philosophy behind the “gentleman’s sports car” has never revolved around emasculating the car’s performance credentials. With all that being said, nothing has been changed in this department.

The CTR Sport Line continues to be powered by Honda’s most advanced K series engine to date – the turbocharged K20C1 – which sends up to 306 hp @ 6,500 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm to the front wheels. This allows the car to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 168 mph. Mated to the engine is the same super-slick-and-buttery-smooth 6-speed manual transmission, which continues to be one of the CTR line-up’s most defining and impressive features.

These figures are virtually identical to the standard model, suggesting that the larger rear wing produces no drag penalty (and likewise offers no advantages) for those popular (albeit not truly meaningful) performance metrics. The CTR Limited Edition, however, can hit a higher top speed of 180 mph thanks to its lower weight.

Chassis & Handling

One complaint I have about the pre-2020 cars is that the electric power steering felt a bit numb and was way too light for a sports car. While this probably encourages more swashbuckling inputs from the driver – which is sometimes good for getting the front-wheel-drive car to properly rotate during turns and even get the rear end to slide a bit – I would’ve preferred a more analog experience.

After being released in 2016, Honda presented an updated version of the CTR at the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon. Subsequent production models, including the Limited Edition and now the Sport Line, are based on that car, of which changes included a modified front suspension with new dampers. Honda claims that this should allow the car to handle more smoothly and steer with improved feel.

The most notable transformation for the Sport Line, other than the absence of the massive rear wing, would be the use of 19″ wheels (instead of 20″ as used on all other models). Not only is this a more understated styling cue, but it also gives the Sport Line an extra inch of tire sidewall, which helps improves ride quality and comfort on public roads. The chassis and suspension remain otherwise unchanged compared to the standard model; it’s hard to tell if the performance-related side effects from what effectively appears to be a cosmetic revision were intentional. Either way, it blends in well with the whole image of the car.

Honda Civic Type R Sport Line Rear

Feelings aside, the Civic Type R became the fastest front-wheel-drive car around the Nürburgring when it set a time of 7:43.80 back in 2017. So it is, by all accounts that matter, a legitimately fast car around the track. I would expect the newer versions of the CTR – particularly the Limited Edition model – to be even faster.

Design, Styling & Interior

Some other improvements to the 2020 CTR included a larger front grille being fitted to improve engine cooling, which the Sport Line is also the beneficiary of. Then, of course, there’s the aforementioned removal of the large rear wing, which is replaced by a much smaller decklid spoiler. The deletion of the red stripping normally highlighting the front lip, side skirts, and rear valance is a more subtle hint of the Sport Line’s pedigree, while the 19″ wheels provide the finishing touches on a more unassuming combination of form and function. Otherwise, the rest of the parts bin remains communal in all regards to exterior styling.

In terms of appearances, I’d like to think of the new Sport Line as what would happen if you gave a 20-year-old a $7,000 budget and a base Civic, then told them to option it using only OEM Honda parts (and that the standard rear wing was no longer available). That is neither a compliment nor a dig at the car’s subjective styling but more of an observation.

Inside, extra sound-deadening materials have been installed to enhance the grand touring experience, while black fabric seats replace the more popping red ones. The only immediately identifiable traits which suggest that the Sport Line is indeed still a Civic Type R are quintessential and iconic red Honda badges on the front grille and rear bumper, as well as the red Brembo brake calipers.

Honda Civic Type R Sport Line Seats

In the end, the more indistinct styling of the Sport Line won’t prevent the latest Civic Type R from remaining a polarizing figure amongst the car enthusiast community. Those who love it love it, but overall the CTR has never been overwhelmingly popular for its looks. In a way, this speaks volumes about how great of a performer it has to be in order to continue garnering the huge amount of praise it receives. So, did the Sport Line transform the CTR from a lively teen heartthrob to an introspective silver fox? Perhaps not, but overall, its intentions are completely transparent, so mission accomplished, I suppose.


The Honda Civic Type R Sport Line will have an MSRP of £34,450 in Europe, though it will not be available in North America, at least for now. With the closure of the UK-based Swindon plant in 2019 – where the vast majority of CTRs were produced – there has been a much lower supply of new examples worldwide. This has been reflected in the soaring values of CTR models on the used market. Dealers were often seen listing brand new examples for way above their sticker prices, although Honda’s corporate branches have been cracking down on this practice as of late. Still, getting hold of a brand new CTR remains more challenging than it was in the past.

Verdict – 9/10

Honda Civic Type R Sport Line Side

For the US marketplace, it is clear that Honda is happy with keeping the status quo of this “hot market” for CTRs, though Honda North America executives have not ruled out the possibility of bringing the Sport Line to our shores. For now, the company believes that the current roster of the standard car and Limited Edition model provides a happy medium for both the company and its loyal customers. I have to say, I agree with this decision; as much as I’d like to see the Sport Line over here, I think the “gentleman’s sports car” concept is more openly embraced on the other side of the Atlantic.

Objectively, the Honda Civic Type R Sport Line is a transparent, if not outright gimmicky, attempt at giving Honda’s popular sports car broader appeal. Aimed particularly at what looks to be an older and more mature customer base, the Sport Line ticks enough of the boxes that you’d expect; however, it ultimately falls short of shaking its reputation of being a predominantly younger enthusiast’s kind-of-car, even sans the massive rear wing. The upside? It’s still very much the Civic Type R we’ve come to love – and that’s not a bad thing.

What Other Experts Are Saying

Top Gear – 9/10

Honda Civic Type R Sport Line Top Gear

The most powerful BMW M is the four-door, four-seat M5 CS

We all love those BMW M models, from the smallest, right up to the largest, they are all masterpieces of German Engineering, and the CS models mark the most sporty of them all, with bespoke, lightweight modifications to create the ultimate M-series version … now BMW took the already impressive M5 to the next level … the BMW M5 CS limited run, exclusive special-edition. To be launched in the spring of 2021 in Germany at a base price of €180,400.

The new BMW M5 CS will come with the most powerful engine of any M-Series model in history, 635 hp, which is a 10 hp increase over the BMW M5 Competition … this is really supercar territory, in a four-door sedan. To put that into perspective, the amazing 2021 Audi RS6 comes with 591 hp, the 2021 Mercedes E63S AMG packs 603 hp … even a Bentley Flying Spur with her 6-Liter engine only has 626 hp … so this new BMW M5 CS beats them all.

In fact, this new BMW M5 CS even narrowly beats the V10, 630 hp Lamborghini Huracán EVO, and this German comes with two more seats and decent luggage space! Yes, you are reading that correctly, the BMW M5 CS is a four-door sedan, with four seats, unlike the regular M5 or the M5 Competition which are technically five-seat models. The BMW M5 CS ditches the rear seats of these ‘lesser’ models and replaces it with a pair of body-hugging sport buckets .. and they match the absolutely stunning, carbon fiber front seats perfectly.

The leather used on the interior of the BMW M5 CS is a fine-grain Merino, on the press release car finished in black with Mugello Red contrast sections and stitching. Naturally an illuminated M5 logo is displayed on the backrest of the front seats, but probably the most attention to detail is that embossed outline of the famous Nürburgring track on all four headrests.

The BMW M5 CS also went on a diet … loosing 70 kg compared to the M5 Competition, the M5 CS comes with a bespoke chassis tuning and custom M xDrive setup. The engine cover on the M5 CS is made from CRFP and includes exclusive air vents, the front splitter, the mirror covers, the special rear wing, the rear diffuser … all made from CRFP too … even the roof shows exposed carbon fiber on this car. For the CS version, BMW even changed the exhaust tips, and yes, there are still four of them.

The BMW M5 CS comes with bespoke Goldbronze details, like the typical BMW kidney surround, the “M5 CS” badges at the front and the rear, the air vents on the fenders, and the 20-inch M Forged Y-spoke wheels … all finished in this special shade of gold for CS only. The BMW M5 CS comes standard with BMW Laserlight, and just to match the Goldbronze details, the L-shapes running lights are switching to yellow when low or high beam is activated, just to set this car apart from the other M5 models.

The body of the BMW M5 CS can be finished in some special shades too, like Brands Hatch Grey metallic for instance, or a more distinctive matt paint from the BMW Individual option list, Frozen Brands Hatch Grey metallic or an absolutely stunning Frozen Deep Green metallic as seen on the photos of the M5 CS in this article.

Going back to the interior, the steering wheel comes in Alcantara with a bright red ring at the top, behind it you’ll find a pair of shifting paddles made from carbon fiber, while black Alcantara is also used for the headliner, note that there is no more storage under the arm rest on the central console … on the M5 CS this is a fixed arm rest … all in the name of weight reduction.

Naturally the seat belts come with the M style red and blue stitching, while re CS badges can be found on multiple places inside the BMW M5 CS cockpit, even the floor mats come with M5 badges, most of the stitching on the interior is finished in double line red …

And let’s talk about driving the BMW M5 CS, 635 hp might sound a bit frightening at first glance, but this special-edition model comes with it’s bespoke M xDrive all-wheel-drive mode … only for those fearless drivers that really insist, you can get those special track tires to really come loose when you go into 2WD mode without DSC help.

For the BMW M5 CS the engineers went back to work on the already impressive suspension of the M5 Competition, adding dampers developed for the M8 Gran Coupé, modified springs and anti-roll bars … the M5 CS offers an 7 mm lowered ride height. The BMW M specialists have retuned the bearing springs at the front and rear axle of the BMW M5 CS and also refined damper control.

The wheels for this limited-edition BMW M5 CS are 9.5×20 at the front with 275/35R20 Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires, for the rear axle BMW went with 10.5×20 with 285/35R30 tires, naturally only a set of M Carbon ceramic disk brakes would match this much power, these brakes are 23 kg lighter than the M Compound brakes on the M5 Competition, and car be finished in either red, or optionally in gold to match the wheels.

With the reduction in weight compared to the BMW M5 Competition, and the slight increase in power, it is no surprise the CS evolution beats the M5 Competition in acceleration, 0 to 100 km/h takes only 3 seconds (compared to 3.3 sec for the M5 Competition), reaching 200 km/h is achieved in a mere 10. seconds (the M5 Competition needs 0.5 seconds more) … BMW did limit the top speed of this M5 CS to 305 km/h (189 mph).

Blast from the past: Aston Martin announces limited run of V12 Vantage V600

The old adage goes the customer is always right. In the case of the Aston Martin Vantage V600, we think they got it very right indeed.

Aston Martin recently released the new Vantage, a lithe, neon green sports car that looks like something out of a sci-fi comic book. Despite the futuristic impression it gives off, the Vantage pays its dues to its roots; that shape is unmistakably Aston.

The company has never been afraid of looking to its past for design inspiration – look at any model in the Aston Martin lineup today and you can trace elements of its design and execution back to the DB5 and even the original 2-Litre Sports released under David Brown back in 1948. That car is so influential to the Aston bloodline that his initials grace the company’s grand tourers to this day.

For the V600, Aston Martin customers commissioned the return of another historic namebadge for the company, with V600 having adorned a bonkers limited-run twin-supercharged 600bhp Vantage built without ABS – a last hurrah for that incarnation of the Vantage before tightening emissions regulations edged it out of the lineup.

Fast forward to 2018: the new Vantage V600

Aston Martin says the spirit of that original car from 20 years ago carries on in this new incarnation. Based on the outgoing ‘VH’ Vantage, the 2018 Aston Martin V12 Vantage V600 features the charismatic 6-litre Aston V12 up front, upgraded to produce 600bhp, much like its namesake.

Just fourteen examples of the new V600 will be produced, with Aston promising the ultimate analogue Vantage, which should appeal to nostalgic fans of the brand who seek the on-edge feel of supercars from the brand’s history but without the danger, age-related issues or risk of breakdown that come with it.

To that end there is no semi-automatic ‘box – the V600 comes with a seven-speed manual transmission, connecting the driver directly with the experience of shoving that 600bhp to the rear wheels.

Keeping the V600 on the road is front and read dual independent wishbone suspension with three-stage adaptive damping for a sporty feel when required and a more comfortable ride when not.

While the body shape is that of the old model, aggressive styling cues let the in-the-know observer know that this is no ordinary Vantage. That bodywork is fully carbon fibre, with a strake along the side hinting at the menacing potential of the car. A darkened grille adds to the V600’s presence while providing cooling to the V12, while at the rear a quad exhaust juts from a carbon-fibre diffuser.

Aston Martin says the V12 Vantage V600 is available on request, with the fourteen models slated for delivery in the autumn.

How much do you want to be among the fourteen lucky souls to get behind the wheel of the V12 Vantage V600?

Outdoor Activities with the new Mercedes-AMG GT S Roadster

Some people play Badminton in their leisure time. Some play ping pong, and some play chess. The Mercedes-AMG GT S Roadster is for those who like to jet ski.

Bear with me on that analogy – with the GT S Roadster that Mercedes-AMG has just announced, you get all of the kicks of the AMG GT S coupe, but you get to enjoy them out in the fresh air.

Slotting in between the current lineup of the AMG GT Roadster (for those that enjoy lycra-ing up of a weekend and heading out on a road bicycle) and the AMG GT C Roadster (for full-on lunatics who enjoy bobsledding in their spare time), the GT S Roadster gets the same twin-turbo AMG 4-litre V8, though in this instance it’s tuned to produce 515hp at 6250rpm and 494 lb-ft of torque between 1900 and 5000rpm.

That means it’s got the edge on the 469hp, 465 lb-ft GT Roadster, though isn’t quite as ballistic as the 550hp, 502 lb-ft AMG GT C Roadster.
b Mercedes-AMG GT S

b Mercedes-AMG GT S
Like all the best AMG Mercs, the GT S should still be able to get slidey at will thanks to that power being sent straight to the back wheels via an electronically controlled limited-slip differential.

The driver will get the full cacophonous AMG soundtrack as we’ve come to expect, too, with the roof down-experience allowing the sound to carry direct from the performance exhaust system also offered on the AMG GT C to their ears – up to a certain point on the way to the car’s 192mph top speed at least before the wind does its thing.

0-60 is dispatched with in 3.7 seconds – which should be fast enough for those seeking thrills but not all-out speed. That time still brings it within a tenth of a second of the more speed-focused GT C Roadster, though.

Stopping power isn’t bad either, with that limited-slip diff combining with composite brakes – 15.2 inch fronts with six-piston calipers and 14.2 inch rears with single-piston calipers – that AMG say will provide exceptionally short stopping distances and an outstanding resistance to fading.

Aluminium has been used throughout the bodywork to keep weight to a minimum while ensuring rigidity, and the car’s centre of gravity is kept low thanks to use of a three-layered fabric soft top – for when the noise (or the weather) becomes too much for the occupamnts.

European order books are open now, but US customers will have to wait until later this year when the AMG GT S Roadster will reach US dealerships.

If you were seeking outdoor excitement from your V8 Mercedes, which Roadster would you pick? The GT, GT S or GT C? Let us know in the comments!

Official: 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe

AMG GT 53 Front

AMG GT 53 FrontMore exciting reveals came about in Geneva this week with Mercedes revealing their 4-door coupe to the world. Initially thought to be rumors, the sexy AMG GT 2-door coupe now will come with extra doors, which is good. Customers usually stuck with a Maserati Quattroporte, a Porsche Panamera, or the Aston Martin Rapide can now rejoice! There are more options for the oligarch in trouble of deciding.

It will still feature the usual Mercedes Benz accoutrements, with nice leather seats, fully-integrated instrument cluster and center console, and a V6 or a V8 engine choice. The 53 has a supercharged inline-6 while the 63 has the delectable bi-turbo V8 engine with outputs of 429 hp and 577hp, respectively. Step your game up to the GT 63S and you’ll get 639hp. AMG GT 53 Interior

AMG GT 53 Interior

We here at are big fans of the AMG GT and while the SLS AMG was a pioneer in creating a Mercedes halo car, it was a bit outlandish with the gullwing doors. As we mentioned earlier, there were rumours that the original SLS AMG was going to become a four-door. There were even hilarious patent designs that perhaps, to troll the automotive community. Just look at it,

SLS AMG Four-Door Concept

SLS AMG Four-Door Concept

What could have been, right? Thankfully, they went with their senses and the AMG GT 63 and 63S will be a heavily awaited release for the MY2019.