It was a momentous March for Honda enthusiasts, as the Japanese manufacturer took the wraps off the newest model of its high-performance flagship, the Civic Type R
The Geneva Motor Show was the setting for the big reveal, guaranteeing the attention of as much of the world’s motoring press as possible
In pre-launch information, Honda says: “the new Type R has been engineered from the ground up to deliver the most rewarding drive in the hot-hatch segment – both on road and on the race track,” providing a dynamic ride for for keen drivers.
The latest-generation Civic Type R will, like its predecessor, be powered by a two-litre VTEC turbo engine, but in this case it has been tweaked to produce 320PS (315bhp), and as much as 400Nm of torque. All this power is delivered via an improved throttle response, giving greater driveability, say Honda’s technicians.
Improvements have also been focused on the six-speed manual gearbox, which is controlled by an electronic system, matching the revs to the power output to ensure that the driver stays intimately connected to the car.
The new lighter, more rigid bodyshell of the standard Honda Civic hatchback gives the new Type R much greater levels of body stiffness. However, the front Macpherson strut suspension of the standard hatchback is revised with new geometry to minimise torque steer and make the most of the car’s sporty handling potential. At the rear, the new independent multi-link system of the standard car is improved with the use of unique high rigidity suspension arms.
Yet while the Type R will be at home on a racetrack – where many owners will want to explore its full potential – Honda has fitted the new model with a ‘Comfort’ setting, in addition to the existing ‘Sport’ and ‘+R’ modes, so that it can be more mild-mannered for times such as the school run.
And while the Civic Type R has always made its sporting pretensions plain through its appearance, a smoother underbody, front air curtain, lightweight rear wing and vortex generators at the trailing edge of the roof line combine to give the new model a much more flowing, aerodynamic appearance that’s about far more than just show – it also helps make the car more fuel-efficient.
Most Anticipated Car Of 2017?
Long before it had been snapped outside the factory, the new Civic Type R had already won one popular honour – it was named the Most-Anticipated launch of the year by What Car? magazine journalists and readers. It beat off competition from some heavyweight car makers, including SEAT, Peugeot, Vauxhall, Ford, Audi, Jaguar and Land Rover, to take the honour.
But the Civic Type R didn’t just scrape home – it romped in ahead of all its rivals, capturing nearly half of all the votes, proving that the exclusivity of the Type R proved no bar to it achieving true cult status.
Steve Huntingford, editor at What Car?, summed up the Honda Civic Type R’s appeal by saying: “Its low-slung shape, large rear spoiler and triple exhausts have clearly captured the minds of What Car? Readers.
“The Civic Type R will shake things up in the hot hatch market as Honda is sticking with front-wheel drive and aiming to set the new benchmark for this type of car.”
The first of the new generation Civic Type Rs will roll off the production line at Honda’s European production hub in Swindon this summer.
For the first time, the model is destined to go on sale in America, making it the first Type R made by Honda to be sold there.
You haven’t got long to wait to catch your first sight of the new Honda Civic Type R. We’ll be marking the car’s arrival at our Swansway Honda dealerships, in Bolton, Rochdale, Stockport and Manchester in the near future, so keep in touch to find out when you can get a first, tantalising glimpse.