This is a flash of nipple. It's a trip to the strip joint when what you really want is a generous bout of full sex. The Civic Type S is a PG version of the car Honda's been blathering about for a year or more, the X-rated Civic Type R.
It's difficult to separate the sense of objective, isolated disappointment the 'S' engenders from the larger let-down that comes rather unfairly with comparing it to the 'R', a car that we've yet to even drive.
But the Type S is supposed to be a sporty version of the three-door Civic, tarted up as it is with body kit, stiffer suspension and bigger brakes. And thus far it ticks the boxes.
Where the anticlimax begins, if that's not a grammatical impossibility, is with the engine. Power remains unchanged from the boggo five-door Civic, meaning you get 103kW in either the petrol or diesel versions. And you really notice.
Hop inside the Type S and you're greeted by the usual concessions to 'sports' versions of workaday cars. There's some silver stitching on the now standard leather steering wheel, alloy pedals and half-Alcantara trim on the seats.
It all looks pretty good, too, and as you plunge the red ignition button, it's pretty difficult to suppress that glimmer of expectation, that momentary self-delusion that this thing might actually be reasonably fast.
It really isn't. Tool around in first and second while hunting out a decent road and there's a little something there. A bit of urgency maybe, an eagerness on the throttle that suggests 103kW and only 174Nm of torque could yet do the job.
But find that empty stretch of asphalt, sink your right foot and that momentary glimmer of optimism makes you feel very silly.
It's a pity that the Type S doesn't have even a modest increase in power over existing 1.8-litre engined Civics, considering it's probably just a matter of fiddling with a spanner and laptop. Exactly why will become clear in early 2007 when the 'R' finally pitches up with 147kW to brag about.
Compare that to 166kW, 177kW and 191kW in the Focus ST, Astra VXR and the Mazda3 MPS respectively, and it doesn't look like much, so Honda needs as big a leap as possible from 'S' to flagship 'R'.
The Type S is a positive template, though. It rides well, despite the uprated spring and damper settings, has a wider track for greater stability and steers positively despite the inevitable lack of feel plaguing the current hot-hatchery.
So the 'R' could still be a real eye-opener regardless of its power deficit. The 'S' though, even with a starting price of $30,490, is just the warm-up act.