Looking a sight sharper than those most recent spy shots had hinted, the Civic’s upgrade to Type R status has seen the curvy hatch given a significant visual overhaul.
Of course, much of the front-end’s look is shared with the less powerful new Civic Sport model, including the new headlights, gloss black trim and new sports bumper.
But the Type R sits lower and picks up a new gloss-black and red-trimmed lip for a meaner look, along with the famous ‘Type R’ and red ‘H’ badges.
Honda adds that the Type R’s complex front lip has been shaped to reduce turbulence around the front wheels.
Through the profile, the new Type R gains flared bolt-on guards to accommodate the hot hatch’s big wide wheels, along with new venting in the front quarter panel.
Large 19-inch gloss-black multi-spoke wheels dominate the view from the side, their wide-open design offering a clear look at the cross-drilled and Brembo-gripped discs that sit behind. (350mm up front.)
The look is rounded out at the bulbous rear, where the new Type R shows off the Civic range’s updated LED tail lamps, a tall wing and a large rear diffuser flanked by a pair of dual exhaust tips.
In all, the new Type R may not fulfill the promise of presence that was teased with last year’s squat and meaty concept - doing away with its flared sheetmetal and unique ‘devil horn’ integrated wing - but hardcore Honda and hot-hatch fans are unlikely to be too perturbed.
Their focus, of course, will undoubtedly be on that which can’t be seen… at least until it tears away from rivals and into the next corner: power and performance.
Honda has revealed much already of the new Type R’s mechanical details, and the soon-to-be-former company boss Takanobu Ito famously boasted last year of plans to become the fastest front-wheel-drive production hatch around the Nurburgring.
The carmaker has gone quiet on that campaign, but the new Type R’s details are no less compelling.
Providing motivation is a new 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, producing 228kW - easily satisfying Honda’s “more than 206kW” claim - at 6500rpm, and 400Nm at 2500rpm. Redline, in classic Honda style, is 7000rpm.
Matched to a six-speed manual and sending power to the front wheels, Honda says the new engine will power the Type R to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds.
These aren’t earth-shattering numbers by today’s standards, although most rivals producing those sorts of numbers - those and greater - are of the all-wheel-drive variety.
The Type R’s engine isn’t its only trick, of course. There’s also a new Dual Axis front suspension setup which, like Ford’s RevoKnuckle system, sees the traditional MacPherson arrangement gifted with an additional steering knuckle.
Honda says that, as a result, the Type R’s prodigious torque is better controlled, reduced by up to 50 percent compared to a regular Civic hatch.
There’s an H-shaped torsion beam arrangement at the rear, as with the normal Civic, although its modifications include a new ‘crushed pipe’ designed to deliver greater stability in high-speed cornering, improving roll rigidity by a huge 180 percent. Adaptive dampers also feature at each corner.
Another trick, revealed last year, is the new hatch’s +R button, which dials up engine response and torque mapping, reduces steering assistance and firms the adaptive dampers by 30 percent.
The new Type R will be offered in five exterior colours, including the popular ‘Championship White’ shown here.
European sales of the new Type R are expected to begin in the coming months.
As for Australia, the carmaker has confirmed it will initially focus on launching the new NSX supercar, suggesting we won’t see the Type R until late in 2016 or early in 2017.
At that point, the current Civic Range will be nearing the end of its lifecycle, although it is possible that Honda will continue to produce the current Type R beyond the regular Civic range’s retirement.
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