Honda has finally fully unveiled its latest entry into the competitive world of hot-hatches, with the launch of the Civic Type-R. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter VTEC motor, the new hot-Civic has already claimed the title of fastest front drive production car around the Nurburgring Nordschelife from Renault, and Honda is also claiming that the car is the quickest front-drive hot-hatch in the sprint to 100 km/h.
The Type-R is the first Honda to be fitted with the brand's new 2.0-liter VTEC turbo engine, which produces 228 kW (306 hp) at 6500 rpm. The big change over the old, naturally aspirated Type-R is the engine's torque: whereas the old car produced its 193 Nm at a lofty 5600 rpm, the new car puts out a thumping 400 Nm from just 2500 rpm thanks to the move to turbocharging.
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The new Type-R's performance is also in another league to that of its predecessor. The 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint takes just 5.7 seconds, and top speed is capped at 270 km/h, quicker than the Renault Megane R.S 275.
While the Type-R's pace is arresting, the first thing most people will notice about Honda's new hot-hatch is the styling. The Civic's wild aero package includes a huge rear wing designed to provide maximum downforce without causing significant drag, while the front bumper has been designed to reduce turbulence around the front wheels for better high-speed stability. The Type-R's underbody is almost fully flat too, helping to suck the car onto the road at higher speeds.
The whole package sits on lightweight 19-inch wheels wrapped in 235/35 tires developed specifically for the Type-R, while four piston Brembo brake calipers clamp on 350 mm drilled discs at the front wheels.
To keep the Civic Type-R stable under heavy acceleration and braking, Honda has equipped it with a brand new adaptive damping system that's also claimed to allow for a comfortable ride around town. Because all of the Type-R's power is sent to the front wheels, Honda has worked hard to curb torque steer – the car's new Dual Axis Front Suspension system has been designed to reduce torque steer by 50 percent compared to the system on tamer Civics. At the rear, the new Type-R makes use of a torsion beam system.
Drivers can modify the behavior of the car's power delivery, electric power steering dampers by pressing the car's +R "racetrack" button.
Inside, the Type-R's interior design doesn't stray far from the formula set by fast Hondas of the past. Suede-effect trimmed sports seats and a machined aluminum gearknob are both cues that featured on the last car.
The Type-R will go on sale in Europe this summer with a starting price expected to be around £30,000. A GT Pack that adds red exterior highlights, parking sensors and an infotainment upgrade is set to feature as an optional extra.
Below is a video of a Type-R development car setting its record Nordschleife lap time.