Why Is The Integra Type-R So Perfect From The Driver’s Seat?
Photography by Davide Cironi
People spend their holidays under the warm sun here in Sardinia, that’s nothing new.
But after being given the chance to take a Honda Integra Type-R through the Italian island’s inner roads, my lady has been left at the seaside watching the horizon, asking herself, “…why?”
She can probably hear why. This car’s Spoon exhaust amplifies the car’s 1.8-litre 4-cylinder VTEC engine. It’s bossy, especially at its redline of 8,500 rpm. All around the island, listeners are hearing it through the straight pipe. For me, inside the Integra, it is just a powerful and friendly drug.
The locals are probably used to it: this road is used for hill climb racing, and I can totally see why. It goes up, down; fast, then tortuous. Then, even faster, unraveling to an insanely fast long, open chute.
This alleged “best FWD ever” screams up in rage toward the mountain, and I understand its reputation, even starting to think that the Integra Type R is probably one of the best-built sports cars ever. The driving position for the Recaro seat is pretty good. The distance from the steering wheel to the gear knob is as handy as on a race car—driver movements are rapid and easy, even at higher speed. My word, this car is fun as hell. The road is called Alghero-Bosa, from the names of these two towns it connects. Over the sea, Sardinian landscape is amazing, but the asphalt ahead hypnotizes my eyes, and I can’t stop pushing the car. I’ll return to nature later.
The sun is getting stronger on me and the Integra, which, luckily, is white. This color makes it look like a race car at the end of a championship, when all the sponsor stickers are removed, leaving the livery matte and worn. Everything reminds me of the track: how the engine revs, its exhaust note, the seats and sunshade band…but the thing actually makes me go nuts is the suspension set up. Its tires are like scalpels, with smaller wheels for precision and faster acceleration.
The cherry on top, so to speak, is its mechanical differential that kills understeer and allows me to use all of the power and torque the 1.8 offers. On roads like these, you know what that means: absolute happiness.
Well, sunset on the Riviera. Game over, but still time for a last run going back to Alghero. Soon, it’s “Goodbye, Miss Japan 1995, you probably are the best front-drive sports car…ever.”