The new Honda Civic Type R hot hatch has finally been revealed, and it’s set to be the most powerful variant of the model ever.
Revealed in Japan this morning, the new Type R will enter its sixth generation with redesigned bodywork concurrent with the eleventh-generation Honda Civic, also gaining important mechanical upgrades and improved aerodynamics.
After much speculation about the model’s powertrain, it was revealed that the new Type R will be driven by an “evolved” version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged 17YM engine seen in the previous car, mated to an improved six-speed manual transmission. Honda's 'mainstream' models have already gone hybrid-only in Europe, and this is likely to be the last pure-combustion car the brand ever launches here.
Honda says the uprated engine, which gains a revised turbocharger and new compact housing, is the strongest VTEC turbo ever and that it helps to “deliver the fastest, most addictive yet secure and rewarding drive” in Type R history.
The brakes have also been upgraded, this time with “enhanced temperature control and air cooling”.
The Japanese firm did not reveal detailed performance stats, but claimed the new Type R would have an improved power-to-weight ratio, torque and top speed over the previous model, using one of the most powerful engines per litre in its class. The previous car packed 316bhp, weighed 1380kg, cracked the 0-62mph sprint in 5.8 seconds and topped out at 169mph - and it seems the replacement will bring subtle improvements across the board.
Inside, the Type R gains similar upgrades to the recently-revealed Civic e:HEV. The sporty character of the Type R, meanwhile, is differentiated with a 10.2in touchscreen, a bespoke digital cockpit, red Type R trim, sports seats designed for both road and track and suede-effect upholstery.
While the old Type R boasted a particularly dramatic exterior design, this new version is far more understated. A large rear wing makes a return, though, and it rides on purposeful, lightweight 19in alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.
Other unique design features include a larger lower grille, added front bumper air vents and a revised bonnet to improve airflow to the engine.
Honda has emphasised the improved performance of the Type R throughout the build-up to its reveal. Prior to its unveiling, it rounded Japan's 2.2-mile Suzuka circuit in min 23.120sec, setting a new lap record for front-wheel-drive cars.
The time was 0.873sec faster than the previous record holder - the Honda Civic Type R GT Limited Edition, based on the FK8-generation car.
The model was also said to be "ready for Nürburgring testing", suggesting the Type R could be set to challenge the front-wheel-drive record at the Nordschleife, too.
“With the all-new Civic Type R, Honda engineers have again delivered on our goal to create the most rewarding driving experience in the performance hatchback segment,” said Tom Gardner, Honda Europe’s senior vice president.
“Through exceptional advancements and the application of motorsport-derived technologies, we have exceeded the capabilities of even the stripped-out, lightweight version of the previous model. It is this dedication to performance excellence that has made the Civic Type R so popular with driving purists for 25 years.”
Honda has not yet revealed pricing for the model, but said the new Type R will go on sale in 2023, with deliveries set to begin early in the year.