Sedans & Coupes

You Can’t Turn a 2021 Honda Civic Type R Into a Limited Edition Clone

While the 2020 Civic Type R is already a terrific hot hatch, Honda gave it one last tweak before the 2022 redesign. It’s the 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition, and it’s already sold out in Canada. Naturally, given the Type R’s tunability, some may want to make a homebrewed version of the LE. However, that won’t really be possible.

What’s the difference between the 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition and the ‘regular’ model?

The rear view of a gray 2020 Honda Civic Type R on a city street
2020 Honda Civic Type R rear | Matthew Skwarczek

The 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition doesn’t make more power than the ‘normal’ car, Roadshow reports. Its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine still makes 306 hp and 295 lb-ft. Plus, the LE has the same Brembo front brakes, limited-slip differential, and 6-speed manual as the regular Civic Type R. The two hot hatches even have the same adaptive suspension hardware. However, it’s at this point where the two cars start to split.

Overhead front view of the yellow 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition
2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition overhead front | Honda

The 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition is 50 pounds lighter than the standard model, Car and Driver reports. That’s thanks to less sound insulation, no rear wiper, no rear heater ducts, and no rear cargo cover. The LE’s forged BBS wheels are the same size as the standard ones, but they’re each 4.5 pounds lighter. The new tires, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, are also lighter, and even grippier.

Not all the Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition upgrades are mechanical, though. The LE’s steering and suspension software have also been retuned, Motor1 reports.

Why can’t you recreate the Limited Edition using the standard 2021 Honda Civic Type R?

At first glance, the 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition’s changes seem relatively simple to copy.

A silver-gray 2020 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R
2020 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R | Ford

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Although BBS has filed for bankruptcy, the company is still making wheels. And the Michelin tires aren’t Type R-specific; the outgoing Shelby Mustang GT350R and several Porsche 911s use them, Car and Driver reports. And while removing sound-deadening can be an involved process, taking off parts is still taking off parts.

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However, there’s one thing regular Civic Type R owners can’t do, MotorTrend reports. Although removing unsprung weight is fairly straightforward, you can’t change the adaptive suspension and steering software to compensate. Honda did so in the LE, but it won’t be offering those tweaks to other CTR owners.

You can get close to the LE’s mechanics, but it won’t be possible to 100% remake it with a regular Civic Type R.

Is the LE worth the upcharge?

The regular 2021 Honda Civic Type R starts at $37,495. Only 600 Limited Editions are headed to the US, and they retail for $43,995. However, Honda is raffling off the #1 car to benefit the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. But are the modifications worth the extra dough?

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On the street, the differences are subtle, Motor1 reports. But on the track, it’s a different story. The reduced unsprung weight means the Civic Type R LE turns in better, the steering feels quicker, and accelerates harder, Autoblog reports. And speaking of steering, the LE’s steering development lead engineer used the original NSX Type R as a benchmark, Automobile reports.

These differences add up to faster lap times. Enough so the 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition lapped the Suzuka circuit faster than the Ferrari F40 supercar. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Honda hasn’t been able to lay down an official Nürburgring time with the LE, Car and Driver reports. But in all likelihood, it will be faster than the regular Type R, which holds a 7:43 time.

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However, will those who miss out on the Honda Civic Type R LE be disappointed with the regular version? Unless you’re a dedicated racer, not really, Roadshow reports. The standard Civic Type R feels special on the street, and it’s “a downright magical circuit weapon,” Autoblog reports. But for future fans, the CTR LE will likely be a limited-edition model worth pursuing.

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