These spy pictures could show the first test version of the long-awaited Honda Civic Type-R

These spy pictures could be the first evidence that Honda is working on a new version of the revered Honda Civic Type R. Our photographers spied two test cars near Honda’s technical center at the Nürburgring, both wearing a large, unsubtle spoilers over their rear windows.

Together with some minor body modifications, these cars could be early chassis test mules for the next hot Civic, the standard version of which went on sale in the UK earlier this year.

At last year’s Tokyo motor show senior Honda sources confirmed to Autocar that the hot hatch is likely to make a return, probably in 2013.

Manabu Nishimae, president of Honda Motor Europe, admitted that “customers are keen to see sporty models and while we can’t deliver immediately we are going to develop and deliver those products.”

Expect the Civic Type-R to stick to its classic defining characteristics of a high-revving naturally aspirated petrol motor putting out over 200bhp and focusing on handling prowess rather than outright pace.

Unlike previous Civic Type-R iterations, however, the new car is destined to be a five-door, rather than three-door.

Yoshikazu Kigoshi, general manager for Honda research and design centre, described the new Type-R as having “special bumpers, wheels, spoilers and seats,” to set it apart from the standard car, as well as the usual firmer springs and more hardcore settings.

It was also confirmed that Mugen would not be involved in the development of the Civic Type-R despite the tuning firm’s hand in last year’s Mugen CR-Z.

The return of Type-R is yet another indication of how seriously the Japanese maker is now taking its performance cars. There are rumours that more Type-R models could appear in the current range, but nothing is confirmed.

Our Verdict

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is an impressive achievement and a worthy rival to the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, but it isn't quite up to class-leading standards

Join the debate


31 May 2012

great handler and extra - terrestrially reliable, surely this one will continue the trend though a bit more powa (or a bit less fat) would be welcomed

they came, they saw, they lolled

31 May 2012

Judging by how far rivals are going with 2.0 litre turbo engine power outputs hitting 270 + bhp easily, I'm not sure how effective a type R would be that's normally aspirated - it's not like the latest version is a lightweight.

31 May 2012

Orangewheels wrote:

it's not like the latest version is a lightweight.

Your claim is innacurate: The FN2 Civic Type-R has a mass of 1267kg, the Renaultsport Megane 265 Trphy 1387kg, and the VW Golf GTi 1401kg. Go figure.

31 May 2012

I hope that rear wing is part of the disguise and not production bound. It's gupping.


31 May 2012

Considering the discontinued Type R was not as engaging as the first generation Honda needs to push the boat out on this one.Dreadful styling,even worse with bits added.

31 May 2012

Soliler held on by duck tape significantly improves the handeling!

31 May 2012

theadamh1234 wrote:


There are many mysteries in the universe... Like why and how is the estate fabia VRS faster than the hatch?

Weight distribution and better drag coefficient... small cars have a rubish Cx, the Ibiza estate also has a better drag than the 5 or 3 door (though being heavier)

31 May 2012

This is possibly the ugliest car Honda have made in living memory. The old Civic I liked at first before it got bored of it. This car really will not age well at all.

What happened to the days of the early 00s Type-R which looked great, and by all accounts, was great fun to drive? Now they are just ugly. And what is the obsession with a massive beam across the middle of the rear screen? It just seems a bit daft to me... surely the more rear visibility, the better.

I wonder if the design of this car was done with a flip-book split into 3 sections (like for the head, body and legs) because none of the panels seem to fit with the design of any other panels. And from the same company who make the Accord, possibly the best looking old man's car on the market.

1 June 2012

Peeps don't obsess about the looks of this car. Not even the BTCC cars have a wing like that so there's precious little chance it'll appear on a production car.

The point here is that Honda appear to progressing their next performance Civic and that should be applauded.

Or they could designing an air-flow smoothing device in the manner of an 80's style wind deflector for use when pulling a caravan Biggrin

1 June 2012

I really, really want to like this car, but... Honda, is it that hard to fix a IRS for the Civic?

But regardless of that - this might still be fantastic, but that rear end is so damn ugly.





Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Jaguar F-Type Convertible 2.0 i4 on the road
    First Drive
    16 August 2017
    Having been previously impressed by the agile four-cylinder F-Type, now is our chance to try it in the UK and in open-top form. But can this entry-level Jaguar sports car hold off the impressive Porsche Boxster?
  • Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR
    The Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR is a swansong for the Vantage - but the first model to sport the AMR title
    First Drive
    16 August 2017
    Aston Martin's swansong for its venerable Vantage sports car allows it to bow out with its head held high, yet the performance AMR sub-brand's first outing leaves you feeling short-changed
  • Range Rover Velar 2.0D
    First Drive
    15 August 2017
    Can the newest Range Rover deliver the goods when it's being powered by a four-cylinder, 2.0L diesel engine? We tried it on UK roads to find out
  • Audi RS3 Sportback
    First Drive
    15 August 2017
    Audi Sport's firebrand hatchback gets an even more brilliant engine, but still falls short of the dynamic finesse and driver involvement necessary to make it a true performance great
  • Sin R1 550
    First Drive
    15 August 2017
    Bulgaria’s first supercar is aggressive and unapologetic. It can be tricky at the limit, but it’s as engaging as they come