Here's the car hot-hatch fans have been waiting for - the next-generation Honda Civic Type R.Due to get its first public airing at the Paris motor show, the new Type R uses a mildly tweaked version of the original car's 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine. It now has 198bhp on tap instead of 197, and although that figure is now reached at 8000rpm (instead of the old model's 7400rpm), Honda says that the useable torque is available from lower down the rev range with the new car.
The new Type R does carry a little extra weight, but Honda says that slightly shorter gear ratios will compensate. Accordingly, performance should match that of the old-gen Type R - the new model will hit 62mph in 6.6sec and go on to a top speed of 146mph.
The Type R sits 15mm lower than the regular model, on 225/40 ZR18 rubber. Unfortunately, the rear torsion beam suspension remains, albeit with uprated dampers, bushes and springs. Honda claims that the regular Civic is one of the stiffest cars in its class, but it's added further strengthening to the floor cross-member, lower cross-member and upper front suspension mountings. Interestingly, it also promises heavier steering, potentially addressing one of the original car's real weak points.
The car's styling doesn't quite match that of the attention-grabbing concept (going down from 19in to 18in wheels hasn't helped) but it still looks dramatic, aided by seven-spoke alloys, spoilers at the front and rear, Type R logos on the brake callipers and a black honeycomb mesh grille sporting a red 'H' badge.
Inside, the sporty touches include red illuminated dials and a leather steering wheel with red stitching, plus bucket front seats with Alcantara bolsters. The dash also features an i-VTEC indicator which lights up once the revs rise above 5200rpm. Other detailing includes Type R logos on the door sills and a plaque engraved with each car's serial number.
Honda is also promising a GT model, which will blend the Type R mechanicals with extra kit including cruise control, dual-zone air conditioning, fog lights, automatic headlights and wipers, and curtain SRS bags.
The new Type R should go on sale in the UK in March 2007, priced at around £18,500. But if even that looks like a long wait, console yourself with our computer wallpapers of the car here.