The Honda Civic Type R, in two-generations-old EP3 guise, was the surprise winner of our hot hatch group test last week (watch the video here) – but the car we really wanted in attendance was the Type R based on the current generation Civic. That was impossible, though: it’s still undergoing final testing ready for deliveries to start next year…
The new CTR is going to be shown in concept form at the Paris show later this week. The new concept is rather similar to the one we’ve already seen at Geneva; the big wing, complete with striking integral tail lights, survives, as do the front splitter, quad exhausts, diffuser and side skirts. Too aggressive for production? We think not, and that Honda should stick to its guns for the showroom version. Surely Honda can’t tease with two concepts and then dilute it for production. Is it the toughest looking hatchback since the Escort Cosworth?
Previous Civic Type-R generations have always been more exciting to drive than to look at; the new one looks set to redress that balance with visual punch to match the ‘VTEC just kicked in’ hooliganism. Honda claims that no previous generation CTR will match the new one for excitement, and says its new 2.0-litre turbocharged i-VTEC engine beats even the NSX’s for power, torque and response. That being said, the redline has been pegged back to 7000rpm, where previous generations would keep going until 8500 or more.
No claims beyond ‘more than 276bhp’ are being made for its output. What’s more important is Honda’s snubbing of dual clutch transmissions. It will have three pedals and a proper 6-speed manual gearbox. Switchable driving modes will include ‘+R’ which, we’re told, will be very extreme. Looks like Honda is taking this driver enjoyment thing seriously.
It will be fast, too. The British development team has been tasked with creating the fastest front wheel drive car on the Nürburgring, meaning it would have to beat the Renaultsport Mégane RS Trophy-R’s 7min 54.3sec benchmark if it is to succeed.