Honda has recently revealed their reasoning behind why the new Civic Type R is offered exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission and CarAdvice says it’s because the automatic gearbox is just too darn heavy.
An automatic transmission would appeal to a wider range of buyers and Yuji Matsumochi, assistant large project leader for the 10th-generation Civic, has acknowledged this. They wanted to develop a Civic Type R with either a conventional automatic or a dual-clutch transmission, but the additional weight would have affected the hot hatch’s drive dynamics too much.
“The Type R needs a lightweight powertrain because it is front-wheel-drive, and needs lightweight powertrain systems. So, the engine is a little bit heavy, so the transmission side needs to be more lightweight. If we applied an automatic transmission, or dual-clutch transmission, for a 400Nm engine, it would be very heavy weight, and very big. The front weight would be very heavy,” Matsumochi said.
As a front-wheel drive hatchback, the Type R’s weight distribution between the front and rear axle (62.5:37.5) isn’t perfectly balanced, though it has been improved compared to last generation’s 65:35 weight distribution, and a heavier automatic transmission would weight down the front even more, thus skewing those numbers.
For those lamenting the lack of an automatic transmission, you may find solace in the fact that the manual “gearbox is very fun to drive.”