► New Honda Civic Type R shown
► Switchable modes broaden appeal
► Rabid R mode, but softer GT too
The new Honda Civic Type R hot hatch was shown at the 2017 Geneva motor show - and it's surprised fans by adding switchable modes which now allow it a softer, GT streak in addition to its balls-out boy racer mode.
It's because the CTR is now being sold in the US for the first time; no Type R models have ever made it Stateside before, hence the more rounded character for American buyers.
Around 60% of all Civics will be shipped to the US, according to factory chiefs.
So the fast Civic has gone all soft on us?
Far from it. You can tell from the steroidal bodykit that the 2017 Civic Type R still means business - the brutal dynamic focus has been kept intact from the short-lived 2015 model, but its repertoire has been broadened with the addition of a Comfort mode to soften dampers, steering and throttle response in daily driving (the last Type R had normal and R switchable modes only).
The raw figures alone speak volumes about how focused a hot hatch this remains:
- Engine 2.0-litre VTEC turbo upgraded from last model
- Peak power 316bhp @ 6500rpm
- Peak torque 295lb ft @ 2500-4500rpm
- Centre of gravity 34mm lower, for better cornering
- Weight distribution 62% front, 38% rear
No performance claims have been issued yet, but engineers promise it’ll keep many Porsches honest on a twisting road. A limited slip differential should tame all that power going through the front wheels (now 20in items, up from 19s, and wearing 245/30 Continentals).
And we’re expecting a Nurburgring lap record attempt to be confirmed; stay tuned for more on this Nordschleife thrash test.
What else do we need to know about the new Honda Civic Type R?
We've sat in the new fast Civic (below) and can confirm it has a pleasingly tactile gearchange with traditionally ice-cold metal gearknob, wider, softer, lower seats and good visibility out.
DIY gearchanges are standard - there is no fancy dual-clutch transmission available, only a tactile, six-speed manual gearbox. There is a throttle-blip rev-match function, however, for perfect downchanges every time.
Those triple-exit centre exhausts are not merely for show, either. The larger, middle pipe is purely for acoustic tuning, we hear. Honda has worked hard on the soundtrack to counter any worries over the forced induction destroying historically toppy VTEC characteristics.
Also new on this new, tenth-generation Honda Civic base car is a multi-link rear axle, the Type R’s first. Combined with a 38% stiffer bodyshell, Honda promises sharper ride and handling dynamics.
This Civic is built in the UK, at Honda’s Swindon factory in Wiltshire. It is the sole plant producing the Type R globally, exporting hot hatches to Japan and the US. It’s quite a coup, and will continue for the rest of this generation's lifecycle, before it's replaced in 2021.
Honda Civic Type R prices
No word yet on exact pricing for the CTR, which is due to arrive in UK dealerships in July 2017, a month after American sales. We hear it will cost from around £32,000, a similar price point to its predecessor.
Pop it on a Honda PCP and strong forecast residuals mean that packages are likely to start at £300 a month, with a 30% deposit over three years.
Which may explain why the UK is the biggest market for the fast Civic: we buy more of them than Germany or Switzerland, the next biggest territories with an appetite for Type R.
More from the 2017 Geneva motor show