Honda Civic Type-R (2007)

Published: 07 August 2006

The lowdown

Hot Hondas are in the pipeline. The Civic Type-R prototype has arrived at the Nürburgring for final chassis tuning, while Honda has gone public with the three-door bodyshell which the Type-R will adopt. It was revealed as the Type-S, a diet Type-R, at the London motor show. The ultimate Civic will run a revised version of the 197bhp 2.0-litre fourpot. Insiders promise that the car's dynamic abilities will live up to its predecessor's, but refinement will take a leap forward. Sales begin in March 2007, with a likely starting price around £18,000.

Revised engine – yes. WRC gearbox – maybe...

Under the bonnet is the carry over 2.0-litre VTEC engine, which continues to kick out 197bhp. But the high-revving, naturally aspirated four has been tweaked. 'The engine will get around the new Civic's increased weight by developing more torque,' the inappropriately named Mikeo Suzuki, Type-R lead programme engineer, told CAR Online. 'It also offers more driver involvement.' While today's ultraprecise six-speed manual is almost certain to be carried over, a sequential paddleshift automatic may join it. 'It's interesting technology,' admitted Suzuki. ‘We won't rule out using such a system in the future.'

And the rest...

'We looked at the old Civic and refinement was one of the issues we had to address,' said Suzuki. Revised gearing should reduce today's buzzy engine at motorway speeds, while new tyres and suspension tweaks will cut road noise. Pin sharp steering is also a given.

Design: just like the concept

Our exclusive spyshots confirm that the production car has lost none of the Type-R concept's machismo (pictured). The deep, aerodynamic chin spoiler is there kissing the tarmac, with mesh filling out the grilles. That pram-handle wing is also present and correct, although the prototype is not fitted with the concept's exaggerated 20-inch sports alloys. That's no surprise if this Type-R is meant to feel more refined.

Before Type-R comes Type-S...

Beating the Type-R to the showrooms is the three-door Type-S, which goes on sale in January 2007. The powerplants – 1.8-litre I-VTEC petrol and 2.2-litre diesel each producing 140bhp – are familiar. But changes to the standard Civic include a 20mm wider rear track, extended skirts, 17-inch alloys and sharper damping and steering. And of course that three-door body...

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