A brief history of Honda’s Type R
BBC TopGear
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Monday 11th December
  • Finally, it's here. The new Honda Civic Type R has arrived on Planet Hot Hatch, sleeves rolled, fists primed, and chomping at the bit.

    It's come with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the first turbocharged engine in the Civic Type R's history, no less. It produces a staggering 306bhp. It boasts a 167mph top speed, and a 0-62mph time officially quoted at 5.7 seconds. Not just fast then, but proper fast.

    Then there's the even more ballistic 7m 50.63s Nürburgring lap time, which has dethroned entries from Seat and Renault, and given the upcoming Ford Focus RS something to chew on. There's also an Internet-friendly bodykit packing enough visual aggression to make you wince.

    In Honda's own words then, this new Civic is the fastest and most extreme Type R in history.

    Which is some claim if you take a quick glance through the company's back catalogue, which includes things like the NSX Type R (above). We've corralled them all together here, so take your pick...

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  • 1992 Honda NSX Type R

    So we begin of course, with the Honda NSX, and the very first Type R model. The aim was to basically develop a road-going racing car, hence the ‘championship white' paintjob and red Honda emblem.

    Power came from a 3.0-litre naturally aspirated V6 producing 276bhp at 7,300rpm, and 217lb ft of torque at 5,400rpm, though the car was only available in Japan. Boo.

  • 1995 Honda Integra Type R

    Again, another Japanese-only Type R model (hence the different-style lights), in the form of the Integra. This one featured a 1.8-litre four-pot producing 197bhp at a manic 8,000rpm, and 134lb ft of torque at 7,500rpm. Honda wanted its engines to work for their power outputs.

    There was also some chassis wizardry at work, too (strengthening, suspension upgrades) as well as the obligatory weight reduction that would feature in the Type R familia.

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  • 1997 Honda Civic Type R

    This was the first Civic to receive the Type R treatment (and another Japan-only model), with a 1.6-litre four cylinder engine producing 183bhp, this time at an all-time high of 8,200rpm. Think about that for a moment. Torque was slightly lower than the Integra, at 118lb ft.

    But you did get red seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel, Type R floor mats and a titanium shift knob. The Fast and the Furious was just over the horizon, don't forget...

  • 1998 Honda Integra Type R

    The first Integra Type R to reach European and American shores, and some car too. The 1.8-litre four-cylinder motor produced less than its JDM-only predecessor (187bhp and 131lb ft), but featured - as most Type Rs did - a manic 8,000rpm redline.

    Then there's the thinner windscreen glass, lack of sound-deadening, a stiffer chassis and limited slip diff. It weighed in at just 1100kg, could hit 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds and top out at 143mph.

    Hammond was a fan, too. "This was one for the purist, the serious enthusiast", he said.

    Hammond drives the icons: Honda Integra Type-R

  • 1999 Honda Accord Type R

    Arguably the least exciting Type R entrant, but one no less manic for it. All the usual Type R flourishes apply - stiffer chassis, slippy diff, alloys, some R-based interior appointments and a high-revving motor.

    It's a 2.2-litre engine this time, producing 210bhp and 158lb ft of torque. It was only available in Europe, too. If you wanted one.

  • 2001 Honda Integra Type R

    This second-gen Integra was only available in Japan, but was the first Type-R model to feature a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. This one produced a very healthy 218bhp (at 8,000rpm, of course) and 152lb ft of torque, too.

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  • 2001 Honda Civic Type R

    We come to the first time Europeans had officially seen the Civic Type R (if you never had the original one imported over) on sale. It came with a 197bhp 2.0-litre engine (with 144lb ft of torque, too), a stiffer chassis, excellent close-ratio six-speed gearbox and a world of handling fun.

    Clarkson loved it, as did the rest of the world. A proper, proper hot hatch.

  • 2002 Honda NSX Type R

    Another JDM special, featuring a 3.2-litre V6 with 276bhp and 224lb ft of torque. It got the same meticulous attention to weight loss as its predecessor (lack of sound insulation, nor air-con, no power steering, thinner glass, Recaro seats), too, and weighed in at around 1270kg.

    It was also, as you would have guessed, bloody magnificent.

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  • 2007 Honda Civic Type R

    The most recent Type R was, admittedly, a bit of a disappointment over its predecessor, but wasn't half bad, either. Power remained at 197bhp, though torque dipped slightly to 142lb ft.

    Still, wrapped up in its new spaceship outfit and packing that lovely close-ratio six-speed gearbox, it remained a decent hot hatch.

    Time then, to prepare for an all-new turbocharged era of Type R...

  • 2007 Honda Civic Type R (JDM)

    While Europe got the 197bhp, third-generation Civic Type R, the lucky Japanese got this chunky, bewinged and bodykitted four-door saloon. Oh, and it had a little more power from that 2.0-litre VTEC four-pot, too.

    So, not only did it sport 222bhp compared to its European sibling's 197bhp, it also got more torques, too: the Japanese-only third-gen 'FD2' Civic got 158lb ft, compared to the European version with 142lb ft.

    Also, wing.

  • The Type R family

  • The Type R family

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