A closer look at the fastest front-wheel drive production car around the Nurburgring.
While the previous generation Type R was launched late in the Civic’s life cycle, Honda has done things differently with the new range topper. Development of the hot hatch was actually conducted simultaneously with the regular model, which is why the flagship is being launched to the market shortly after the standard Civic.
It’s being billed as the very first true global Type R model and comes to celebrate a quarter of a century since the debut of Honda’s first Type R-branded car — the 1992 NSX Type R. That one had a 3.0-litre V6 engine with 280 horsepower on tap and came with a massive 120-kg weight loss compared to the regular NSX. It was followed three years later by the Integra Type R sold only in Japan with a 200-hp 1.8-litre VTEC engine that redlined at 8,000 rpm.
In 1997, the Civic Type R was launched in Japan with a 1.6-litre engine and was actually the first engine to surpass 100 hp per litre fitted to a mass production car. The first Euro-spec Type R was launched in 1998 when the Integra Type R came out with a 1.8-litre VTEC pushing out 190 hp. A year later, the first five-door Type R was launched and it was based on the Accord.
It was in 2001 when the second-gen Integra Type R came out and the same year Honda introduced the second-gen Civic Type R. The mighty NSX Type R was unveiled in 2002 for the Japanese market and to this day it’s the most exclusive Type R-badged car Honda has ever made.
Fast forward to 2015, the previous-gen Civic Type R hit the market and now Honda is getting ready to kick off sales of the latest version set to enter production this summer. Assembled in Swindon, U.K. and bound to be exported all over the world, the latest incarnation of the performance hatchback is the fastest front-wheel-drive production car around the Nürburgring after lapping the Green Hell in 7 minutes and 43.8 seconds.
At its heart is a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine with 320 hp. It’s enough VTEC punch to grant a 0-100 kilometre per hour time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 272 km/h, prompting Honda to say the new Civic Type R is the quickest and fastest car in its segment. Purists will be happy to hear the new version comes exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission sending power to the front axle and benefitting from rev-matching technology.
Longer, wider, and lower than the model it replaces, the new generation is compatible with an assortment of optional accessories, including carbon accents for the side mirror caps, wing spoiler, and interior panels. There are also illuminated front door sill trims with a black anodized aluminum look combined with a “Type R” logo that lights up in red.
In the U.K. it starts at £30,995 (approx. $54,000 CAD). A more affordable entry-level variant might join the lineup for the 2018MY, at least in Canada and the U.S. In addition, Honda might also do a hot Civic (Type S?) to slot between the Si and the Type R.