AFTER a five year wait, 2015 sees the arrival of a keenly anticipated hot hatch, the Honda Civic Type R.
Billed as a ?race car for the road?, the car is powered by the most extreme and high-performing Type R engine ever built, and will, according to Honda, ?set new standards in the high-performance front-wheel drive hatchback segment?.
Taking their direction from the Japanese word ?Buttigiri?, meaning ?to break on through and leave the rest behind?, Honda?s engineers sought to develop a Type R that would more than live up to the high expectation of the red badge. The new car has been engineered to deliver ?a dynamic, class-leading performance whether on fast roads, winding roads or the circuit. At the same time, it delivers the ease of use and practical packaging expected of a Civic?.
The new car is a world-first application of Honda?s new VTEC TURBO engine and pioneering new chassis technologies, and Honda says it signals the start of a new performance era.
Available only as a five-door, with two trim grades, Honda hopes it will catapult the Japanese marque back to the top of the two-wheel drive performance hatchback league when it goes on sale across Europe from July 2015.
At its heart is an all-new, direct-injected turbocharged 2.0 litre VTEC TURBO petrol engine, which apparently delivers power, torque and performance figures unmatched in the front-wheel drive hot hatch segment. Peak power output is 310 PS at 6,500 rpm, and peak torque is 400 Nm at 2,500 rpm ? both higher than for any previous Honda Type R model.
Red-lining at 7,000 rpm, the engine ? part of Honda?s next-generation Earth Dreams Technology series ? features an advanced new turbocharging system which incorporates Honda?s Variable Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) technology to boost low-end torque while delivering sustained acceleration.
High precision combustion technologies assist with improving engine output and lead to improvements in fuel efficiency and competitive emissions. At the core is a direct injection system preventing fuel sticking to the intake ports by injecting directly into the cylinders and drawing only air through the ports, aided by Honda?s multipoint injection control.
The new Civic Type R?s performance is, says Honda, ?unmatched? in the front-wheel drive hot hatch segment: the 0-to-100 kph sprint takes just 5.7 seconds and top speed, where permitted, is 268 kph. CO2 emissions are 170 g/km, and the car complies with Euro 6 emissions regulations.
A slick-shifting, six-speed manual transmission was chosen ?to safeguard an intimate, rewarding connection with the driver while making the most of the engine?s high output, strong torque and high revs?.
Each of the six gear ratios has been optimised for performance and matches the engine?s output and torque curve. For example, the maximum speed of 167mph is achieved in sixth gear when peak power is reached at 6,500 rpm.
Final drive is through a helical limited slip differential, which helps strong cornering traction, even during hard cornering.
The styling gives the car an aggressive, purposeful stance, with a focus on aerodynamics that has ensured a zero lift coefficient and a minimum of drag.
A new, almost completely flat underside aids airflow under the vehicle and combines with a rear diffuser to optimise downforce ? effectively ?sucking? the car onto the road. A wide front splitter and deep side skirts also manage airflow to generate downforce on the front axle and reduce lift, while the front bumper has been designed specifically to inhibit air turbulence around the front wheels, enhancing high-speed stability.
Inside, the seats, steering wheel and gear stick are all unique to the Type R model and take into account driving position, visibility of key information and driver control requirements.
A redesigned rear seat bench accommodates two passengers and although the tip-up function of the seat base has been deleted, there?s a 60/40 split fold function and flat loading space when folded.
The modifications result in a weight saving of 17% compared to the standard Civic five-door while retaining the same maximum load volume.
A new four-wheel Adaptive Damper System was developed specifically for the Type R model. It enables continuous independent control of each wheel to deliver ?exceptional? road holding performance, limit wheel-load transfer during sharp acceleration and deceleration, and maintain a stable, flat ride. It also means that the ride is more comfortable and supple in everyday driving and cruising.
The Dual Pinion Electric Power Steering (EPS) was developed from that fitted to the standard Civic, and helps to deliver ?rapid yet linear steering response and abundant steering feel with increased power and torque?.
The car is also equipped with a high performance Brembo brake package developed specifically for the Type R. At the front, four-piston calipers apply braking force to 350 mm discs ? the largest ever to have been installed on a production Type R model ? which are drilled to aid cooling under extreme load.
When +R mode is activated, a number of visual changes alert the driver. The floating dial surrounds in the instrument binnacle change from glowing white to glowing red. A +R logo is displayed to the left of the rev indicator and the Idling Stop system is disabled.
In +R mode engine responsiveness is heightened, with torque-mapping changed to a more aggressive and performance-focused setting ? allowing more of the available torque to be unleashed at lower engine speeds. The electronic power steering becomes shorter-geared with reduced power assistance to provide a heavier and tighter steering feel.
Basic damping force is increased by 30% making the behaviour of the car firmer and more agile for high-performance handling. The Vehicle Stability Assist programme is adjusted to focus on acceleration and performance, allowing a greater yaw and slip rate before intervening.
The all-new Honda Connect infotainment system is standard equipment: it runs Android and gives rapid access to everything from vehicle information to rear-view parking camera and music. The functions include internet access, pre-installed apps, Honda App Centre, AM/FM/DAB and internet radio, phone interface and Bluetooth connectivity and steering wheel controls and rear-view parking camera with dynamic guidelines. Sound is fed through a six-speaker 320-watt sound system.
The system is also MirrorLink-enabled, delivering connectivity between the system and the user?s compatible Smartphone, so you can also connect to the internet through Smartphone Wifi tethering or Mobile Wifi Router, allowing for full internet browsing ? provided the car is stationary.
Automatic climate control air conditioning and cruise control with speed limiter complete an extensive list of standard equipment.
The new Civic Type R retains the same five-star Euro NCAP rating as achieved by the standard Civic five door. It shares the same Advanced Compatibility Engineering? (ACE?) body structure and system of airbags (driver, passenger, side and side curtain), restraint systems (including whiplash lessening front headrests) and active electronic safety systems.
Local Honda agents Demstar Motors are trying to get at least one Type R in their Cyprus showrooms, but the limited production and high take-up means it?s unlikely that we will see it on our roads before next year. Expected price range is between ?40,000 ? ?42,000.