Honda Civic Type R (2015): new spy photos of turbo hot hatch

Published: 16 June 2014

Honda continues to test its new Civic Type R hot hatch ahead of launch in 2015. And these new spy photos prove that Honda’s not planning to deviate much from the 2014 Civic Type R Concept car shown earlier this spring.

Our pictures come from a European shakedown test and confirm that the Type R will keep the Geneva Motor Show car’s bodykit, with heavily sculpted spoilers, side sills, a rear diffuser and that rear wing.

Considering how radical the regular, last-generation Civic hatchback looked when it launched in 2005, it’s clear that Honda has its work cut out to give the tamer 2011 Civic some Type R swagger. But on the evidence of these spy photos, it’s not taking any half measures.

Honda Civic Type R (2015): it’s going turbocharged

The big news on the new Civic Type R is not the racy exterior, however; it’s what’s under the bonnet – and more specifically, the adoption of turbo power. Honda simply cannot justify keeping a high-revving, VTEC engine in an era of shrinking CO2 outputs, so it’s had to concede defeat and install a new 2.0-litre turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder.

Exact power outputs remain under wraps, for now, but somewhere between 280-300bhp is expected. Patrik Ponec, advanced product planner at Honda’s European R&D centre, has told CAR: ‘The specific output is not one of our core values. Creating a high output turbocharged engine is relatively easy, but our aim is to retain the VTEC characteristics, so it’s high revving, with great responses and easy to control performance.’

Honda’s hot hatch is front-wheel drive and is likely to harness electronics and traction control to manage front-axle tramp and wheelspin, rather than a full limited slip differential. Will Honda gun for a Nurburgring lap record? Its job got a little bit harder today, after Renaulsport blasted a Megane 275 Trophy-R around the Nordschleife in 7min 54.36sec…

We've already driven the show car, giving us a flavour of how the new Type R will drive. Click here to read CAR's Honda Civic Type R Concept review.

When will we finally see the finished Honda Civic Type R?

Honda first showed the Civic Type R Concept at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show and is preparing another iteration – a facelifted concept car! – for launch at this autumn’s 2014 Paris show.

That means we won’t see the finished production iteration until 2015, most likely at next spring’s Geneva Motor Show. Prices are expected to start below £30,000.

2015: the year Honda rediscovered its mojo?

With the new Civic Type R coming, a return to F1 when it allies McLaren and the NSX hybrid supercar coming on stream next year, it looks like 2015 could be the year Honda got back on track.

A perfect storm of product cycles, the global recession and a move to turbocharged, downsized engines to stem CO2 emissions have left Honda stripped of the Type R models which have struck a chord with enthusiasts. The model range has been a bit too sensible for too long, and we can’t wait to see the new, more sporting Hondas let off the leash next year.

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet