Sharp driving dynamics match attention-grabbing design in the new Honda Civic Type R
Honda's Civic Type R has always marched to the beat of a different drum. Whereas the VW Golf GTI, Ford Focus RS and Subaru WRX were built around turbo four-cylinders, the Type R offered similar performance from a naturally aspirated four-cylinder. Its power delivery was akin to that of a two-stroke race bike: modest until 5000rpm, whereupon it felt as though a switch was flicked to deliver an explosion of power up to nearly 8000rpm.
While the old Type R was quietly discontinued in 2012 (a victim of Europe's stringent emission laws), Honda has now joined the turbo brigade in offering a potent 2.0 life turbocharged engine with a six speed manual transmission. Its figures are impressive, with 228kW and 400 Nm between 2500-4500rpm.
The Type R is much more than a style package grated onto the recently launched Civic hatch. Under the bodywork is a raft of mechanical changes to whet the appetite of performance enthusiasts. The suspension has been revised and features three-mode adaptive dampers and redesigned front and rear suspension geometry. With 20-inch alloys, the track is 50mm wider at the front and 30mm wider at the rear. Large, 350mm drilled and ventilated front rotors and four-spot Brembo brake calipers halt the Type R's 1393kg, which is just 56kg more than the smaller-engined and slightly less ostentatious Civic RS hatch.