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The new Honda Civic Type R is here, and it wants a Ring record
New Type R hot hatch arrives in 2017, and Honda wants the FWD Ring record back
You wait ages and ages for a new Honda Civic Type R, and well, two arrive almost back-to-back. Yes, scarcely a year after we first drove the current banzai Civic, Honda has just unveiled a concept version of the next-gen car, due to go on sale worldwide in 2017. And once again, it wants a Nürburgring lap record.
Officially called the Type R Prototype, the car you’re gawping at is strictly a concept for now (though doesn’t it look production ready?) so there’s nothing in the way of technical data. But we do know it will stay front-wheel drive, both to stick with Type R tradition, and to allow Honda to get its FWD Nordschleife honours back from VW, who nicked them with the Golf GTI Clubsport S.
And this Civic really is ‘worldwide’. No Civic Type R has ever been officially sold in the USA – it’s been a case of import your own at great expense with much tedious paperwork. But because the new Civic hatchback is a global car, aimed at Japan, Europe and indeed the USA, the angry-looking Type R will also land Stateside. It will still be built in Swindon, though.
Having recently gone to the trouble of building a 306bhp 2.0-litre turbo VTEC powerplant, the new Type R will use that engine. Though we suspect it will be a little uprated to keep pace with the likes of the 345bhp Ford Focus RS, and to give it an edge over the Golf (and perhaps other rivals) for that lap time.
Beneath the skin, it’s based on the all-new Mk10 Civic platform, and the Type R is set to borrow the same variable steering system and refreshed rear suspension setup. Honda has designed the standard Civic to be more fun than ever to drive, and engineers say it’s been a great springboard for making a bona fide performance version. We’re promised a sharper chassis than ever.
You’ve probably noticed the looks, however. “The design is all in the pursuit of performance,” the Type R’s designer, Daisuke Tsutamori, told TG. “All of the design features have a function, and this is as close to a production car as is possible.”
So the rear wing is shaped entirely by function, while the triple exhaust pipes and each and every vent serve a purpose. The drag coefficient is improved “significantly” (though we’ve not been given an exact number) and the Civic Type R is lower and wider than before. Tsutamori didn’t design the outgoing Type R, but does believe hot hatches should look wild, and that there should be continuity between the two models.
The bodykit is largely very similar, then, though this time it’s fitted to a car that’s been designed to get the Type R treatment from the outset. We’re not sure it wears it better as a result. Aesthetically, there’s quite a strong Subaru Impreza vibe going on here, and like that car, there could be a four-door Type R, albeit not for the European market.
The car rides on 20-inch alloys, up an inch size from the current Type R hatch, and its tyres are 245-section in width. All told, it’s a pretty punchy looking family car, and still unmistakably Japanese.
Honda’s unwrapping the production version of this car in 2017, and we’d expect it to differ little from this. Wondering why it’s here so soon? Simply because Honda only pushed the button on Type R production very late in the outgoing Civic’s life. Now there’s a new version, the hot hatch iteration arrives almost from the outset.
Simple question, really: do you like it?