Remember 3rd April 2017? Honda does. On that day their new Civic Type R – the most powerful front-drive hatch in the world – set a new lap record at the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit, covering the 12.9 miles in just 7 minutes and 43.8 seconds. So the 316bhp Civic Type R has
performance credibility to spare. But is Honda’s new Civic Type R a car you can live with on the daily commute? Actually, yes – as well as its storming performance it has a calm and collected side, offering a choice of three drive
The new Civic is larger, longer and more spacious than its predecessor, yet it is also 16%
lighter and 38% stiffer, thanks to aerospace-grade bonding to replace spot-rivets in its construction. There’s the usual blizzard of safety-related acronyms; Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD),
Antilock Braking (ABS) and Deflation Warning System (DWS) as well as driver-assistance features like road departure mitigation, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning.
With its three exhaust pipes, front airscoops, sculpted side rails and big rear wing the Civic Type R won’t appeal to reclusive types. But the
aerokit isn’t just for show. The newest Civic Type R produces more downforce with less drag; Honda claims it’s the only hot hatch in its segment to produce no lift at all (useful in a car that’s capable of 169mph). The ridges on the roof channel air onto the rear wing, which has been positioned so it doesn’t block the rear-view mirror, and those huge bonnet scoops vent heat away from the engine. Even the smaller, central exhaust pipe has a purpose, reducing boom at lower revs and throttle openings. Inside, the sports seats are beautifully supportive and driving position is lower, increasing the driver’s sense of balance and control. Nice touches like the red detailing around the steering wheel, seats and binnacle tell you this is no basic shopping hatchback.
Three drives modes – Sport, R+ and Comfort – offer the Type R driver a choice of moods. R+ is definitely one for the track days, Sport is the default setting and Comfort offers mellow control response and more supple suspension. The three modes control damper settings, engine response, steering and even the neat rev-matching blip of the throttle on downshifts. The Civic Type R features LED headlights and a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone integration and a reversing camera, while the Type R GT adds dual-zone climate control, parking sensors, Honda Connect with Garmin navigation, wireless charging and blind spot monitoring.
The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is the most extreme high performance engine Honda has ever developed for a Type R model, but it’s not a wild ride unless you want it to be. Transmission is a six-speed manual (no automatic option) and dual-axis suspension struts prevent torque steer corrupting the driving experience, despite up to 316bhp of VTEC Turbo power going through the front wheels. The new Type R also features a brand-new multi-link rear suspension and adaptive dampers all round. The power steering is variable ratio, the wheelbase is longer for extra stability and the specially-developed Continental tyres sit on 20” black and red alloys. Oh, and it’s fast. 0-62mph takes just 5.8 seconds.