"We knew it was a car with a following, but the interest it has generated inside and outside of the company has been phenomenal," said Crossman. "It has dominated our thinking for the past few months, and it's already playing a key role in building interest in our brand and telling the world that Honda is back where it belongs."
The Type R features a special ‘Dual Axis Strut’ front suspension system and a mechanical limited-slip differential. An extensive aerodynamic package completes the Civic Type R’s extreme track-bred positioning.
The most dominant feature in the Civic Type R is its new VTEC engine. The direct-injection turbocharged unit’s 306bhp arrives at 6500rpm and peak torque of 295lb ft is at 2500rpm. The engine hits the redline at 7000rpm.
The 2.0-litre engine drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. There is no automatic option. The 0-62mph time and top speed are both class-leading.
Honda says the Civic Type R has been fitted with “a number of innovative new suspension systems” that are designed to “maximise power transfer to the road”.
Chief among them is that Dual Axis Strut front suspension system, which is similar to Ford’s RevoKnuckle system. It’s a version of a MacPherson strut front suspension set-up that features an additional steering knuckle, so the wheel steers around a point closer to its centre line, in turn reducing torque steer by up to 50% compared with a standard Civic, according to Honda.
The rear suspension is an H-shaped torsion beam design, but it has been modified over the standard Civic’s to include a new ‘crushed pipe’, which, Honda says, improves roll rigidity by 180% and enhances high-speed corner stability. Adaptive dampers also feature at each corner and the electric steering has been retuned for greater response and feel.
To access the full potential of the chassis and powertrain, Honda has equipped the Civic Type R with a ‘+R’ driving mode. This increases engine response, provides more aggressive torque mapping, reduces the assistance on the steering and firms up the dampers by 30%.
Stopping power is provided by bespoke high-performance Brembo brakes, which feature four-piston calipers and drilled discs that measure 350mm in diameter at the front. The brakes sit behind 19in wheels shod with 235/35 tyres made of a bespoke compound.
Chassis tuning for the Civic Type R has taken place at the Nürburgring and Suzuka circuits, as well as at Honda’s own Takasu test track in Japan. Honda has already set a new lap record for front-wheel-drive production cars at the Nürburgring, eclipsing the Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R’s 7min 54sec lap time by four seconds.
Extensive aerodynamic work has taken place in the wind tunnel at Honda’s dedicated motorsport facility in Sakura, Japan, where it develops its Formula 1 engines.
The result is exterior styling that has been heavily influenced by aerodynamic demands. Most striking is the large fixed rear wing, which has been redesigned from that of the Civic Type R concept car seen at the Geneva and Paris motor shows of 2014. Its height, shape, angle and end plates have all been modified to provide enough downforce without compromising drag at higher speeds.
Also notable at the rear is the large diffuser, which works with the flat underside to ‘suck’ the car to the road. There are four exhaust tips, two on each side of the car, and a more aggressive-looking rear bumper design.