The 2015 Honda Civic Type R looks set to be a stunner – and a rabidly fast one at that. Time to put it under the microscope.
We are living in an age of unprecedented power in remarkably practical packages. Volkswagen’s Golf R, Ford’s Focus RS and Mercedes’ A45 AMG are all packing around 300hp, yet still have space for everything you’re packing for your holiday. The Honda Civic Type R has, until now, been noticeably absent from proceedings.
Previous iterations of the Japanese speed freak have earned a reputation as being among the most hardcore cars you could buy, with punishingly tough suspension and highly strung, revvy petrol engines. Honda has gradually drip-fed more details about the new Type R so here are five things you need to know about the upcoming superhatch.
1. It’s as fast as the original NSX
That’s right. The legendary 90s supercar designed with the input of driving god Ayrton Senna was intended to compete with Ferraris. Although the upcoming Civic Type R might not compete with the latest Ferrari 488 GTB, it’ll be as fast as Honda’s legendary performance forebear.
Honda has confirmed the Civic Type R’s top speed will be 167mph – the same as the original Honda NSX from 1990 and faster than any current superhatch. This is courtesy of the new 2.0-litre petrol engine which, for the first time in the history of fast Hondas, is turbocharged. Honda promises that, despite the turbo, the engine will have race car-like responses.
2. It’s slippery (aerodynamically-speaking)
With modern cars getting faster and faster, aerodynamics is becoming more of an important consideration for manufacturers. Air resistance against a car increases exponentially the faster it goes, so managing the flow of air around the car is vital if you want high speeds and good stability.
The Civic Type R has an almost completely flat underside – like a race car – which, when combined with the rear diffuser, ‘sucks’ the car into the road surface. A large rear spoiler also helps push the rear end into the road. A wide splitter decreases front-end lift and the bumper has been shaped to push turbulent air around the front wheels, improving stability.
If nothing else, it’ll give you some great pub debate ammunition.
3. It has the hardware to match the power
Honda promises that, despite the massive power on offer, the Type R is more about on-track performance than outright straight-line speed. A new four-point front suspension system is fitted to reduce torque steer – when the power going to the front wheels causes the steering wheel to tug one way or the other – and is adjustable based on driving conditions.
Huge 350mm ventilated front disc brakes slow the car and a six-speed manual gearbox allows drivers to have the ultimate control over their progress. A ‘+R’ mode lets drivers engage maximum-attack mode for on-track use – this system adjusts the damping force and sharpness of the engine’s throttle response.
4. It’s aiming for the Nürburgring lap record
SEAT and Renault had a little spat in 2014 over whose car could lap the legendary race track the fastest. SEAT’s Leon Cupra 280 – with some light performance modifications – took the front-wheel drive production car lap record which previous holders Renault immediately took right back in an even more extreme version of the Renaultsport Megane.
Honda wants to blow both SEAT and Renault out of the water, however, and is aiming to take the lap record for itself. It certainly has the hardware to defeat the established competition – here’s hoping they can find someone mad enough to drive it.
5. It’s built in Britain
The motor industry in Britain is booming and accounts for a significant proportion of the country’s GDP. Along with the regular Civic, the car will be built at Honda’s plant in Swindon and will arrive at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2015.
There are no confirmed prices yet but it’s expected to be more expensive than Civic Type Rs that have gone before it. We’d be surprised if it cost less than £30,000.
Frankly, we can’t wait! This year is gearing up to be a massive showdown between Honda and Ford – we’ve already seen the Ford GT and the Honda NSX face off so the Civic Type R is perfectly placed to take on the Ford Focus RS. Keep an eye on carwow and we’ll update you when they go on sale.