Before we get to the results of the dyno testing, we would like to express our condolences to the family of Arthur Mulder, who recently passed away. Arthur was a friend of TOV and operated Dynolab, in Marietta, Georgia. Dynolab is where we have performed the majority of our vehicle dyno testing over the years. Arthur will be missed.
With that said, we are now using the Dynojet services of another Atlanta area tuning shop. Special thanks to James at Night Owl Performance for working with us to get this vivid red Civic Sport 5-door tested on their Dynojet 224x. The 224x is the latest version of Dynojet's chassis dynamometer, and is different from the Dynojet 248c that Dynolab had.
Since this a brand new dyno to us, the results may not match up perfectly with the past dyno tests we've performed at Dynolab. As we test more cars at Night Owl, we should get a better idea about how the dyno "reads" compared to other Dynojets. Also, in the past, I have been typically the person "driving" the car on the dyno, so I've had a bit more control over where the runs started and finished in the rev range but in this case the "driving" was performed by the dyno operator.
The Civic that we tested was one of the cars from the national press drive that was held in California back in November. This one had a low VIN (#40) and came to me with about 3000 miles on the odometer, so it's fairly well broken in already. At the time of the dyno testing it had right around 3200 miles on the clock. Prior to the test, we weren't sure what grade of fuel was in the tank, so we ran it as dry as we could and refilled the tank with Shell V-Power Nitro+ 93 Octane (it took about 10.8 gallons, so this was mixed with up to a gallon and a half of whatever was in there before). Weather conditions were favorable for testing with temps in the mid to upper 50s and dry air. At the time of testing, the car was 100% stock, running on the standard 18" alloy wheels. We weighed the wheels at 51.0 lbs apiece. All pulls were performed in 4th gear, and we logged manifold pressure to measure turbo boost. We were hoping to log more parameters via the OBD-II port but we were unable to reliably pick up an RPM signal via the Dynojet's inductive pick up leads, so we had to use the Dynojet's OBD-II interface to properly log RPMs.
In order to avoid any glitches with the VSA/ABS system, we pulled the fuse found in location #34 from the under dash fuseblock (driver side, far left). This is the VSA/ABS fuse and it is a 10A fuse. So if you plan to dyno test your Civic, be sure to find this fuse and pull it (there's a fuse puller in the underhood fuse box if you need it)
Historically, Dynojets are known to read about 12-15% low compared to "crank" numbers. This is why people quote dyno-tested horsepower "at the wheels". It's the power that's delivered to the road after all of the various frictional and rotational losses encountered as power is transmitted through the clutch into the transmission, driveshafts, differentials, half shafts, hubs, and then the tires.
In the case of this Civic, the "at the wheels" numbers actually exceeded the specified power and torque figures quoted by Honda. According to Honda's official specifications, the Civic Sport's L15BA with 6-speed MT develops 180hp @ 5500 rpm and 177lb-ft @ 1900-5000 rpm. We recorded 190hp @ 5500 rpm and a peak of 193lb-ft @ 3500 rpm. So, if this new Dynojet in fact reads 12-15% lower "at the wheels", then that would suggest that this car is actually making in the neighborhood of 215-223hp. Even if this isn't the case, and it's showing us something much closer to the actual crankshaft numbers, who can complain about getting a "bonus" +10hp and +15 lb-ft over the spec? Honda quotes a max turbo boost of 16.5psi, and that's pretty much exactly what we saw on the dyno. The peak figure was actually 16.58 and that happened at the power peak of 5500 rpm.
For our runs, the dyno operator began the run recording from around 2800 rpm, where he would go from a relatively steady state (no boost), to full throttle. According to the plot, from this point boost did not fully spool until around 3500 rpm. On a time scale, that represented around 1.3 seconds. From this 3500 rpm "full boost" point, the torque surged to 193 lb-ft and it didn't dip below 180 lb-ft until the tach had passed the 5500 rpm mark.
Click to enlarge
Heat was a bit of an issue, particularly if we did not allow the engine coolant temps to return to our target starting temp of around 180F. One run that was performed with very little cool down resulted in a peak output of 183hp and just over 181lb-ft. To reduce the cooling time required between runs, we set the climate control at the maximum temperature with maximum fan speed. The necessary cool down time was no more than a few minutes.
As you can imagine, this car feels pretty quick on the road. The sensation is a bit reminiscent of an older V6, where the torque is strong at low rpms and tapers slowly through the midrange before ultimately running out of revs at the top end. When the boost comes in, it gives a pleasingly firm nudge to your backside. The gearing is fairly short, however, so while the thrust makes the car feel pretty quick, the 0-60 numbers don't seem to quite reflect how quick the car feels. Some of this is related to grip, as in dry conditions, a simple, no-wheelspin launch with full throttle acceleration resulted in activation of the traction control system when the turbo boost hits. 1st gear is exhausted by less than 30mph, and you have to be quick to avoid engaging the rev limiter. There's a bit of a sag in the torque delivery as the boost drops off, and then you're required to shift one more time before hitting 60mph. Again, there's a sag in the torque delivery as the boost drops off between gear changes, and this hurts the 0-60 numbers a lot. We did not perform a large number of 0-60 runs, so there's possibly room for improvement, but using 1st gear launches, the best repeatable number we recorded was 7.1 seconds. Considering how the car feels, we were somewhat disappointed with this number, so we launched it a few times in 2nd gear. The first time we bogged it a bit, and recorded a 6.9. We tried a few more times but couldn't strike a great balance between bogging it or smoking out the tires. We didn't expect that to be an issue in 2nd gear but it did happen once. We recorded 2 or 3 6.9s but were not able to improve upon that number. We only had the opportunity to make a few 1/4 mile passes, and the car delivered a solid 95.9mph peak trap speed with a best ET of 14.9.
So, what does this mean for the upcoming Si, which will also use a 1.5T?
The output of this "180 hp" 1.5T makes one wonder about how much power the upcoming Si will have. From a marketing standpoint, it seems like it would need at least 220hp (crank). But then, would that be a REAL 220hp (meaning it's potentially not really that much more powerful than this Sport), or will it be similarly underrated? We're hoping that it's the latter (meaning it will put down over 220 wheel hp), and we're hoping the Si's version of the L15B is a bit longer on the power delivery, whether that means more revs and/or taller gearing. It may very well need both of these things in addition to the added power, just to separate itself sufficiently from the Sport (not to mention establishing itself amongst the competition). Iron sharpens iron.