VYING WITH its NSX stablemate for longest ever-confirmed model gestation period, the next Honda Civic Type R needs to deliver. Here’s
how it might just steal the hot-hatch crown when it finally arrives in 2015. If you’re going to fit a wing and
wheelarches as big as this you’d better have more than swagger when it comes to the crunch, and in the Type R’s case this means Honda’s first turbocharged petrol since the 1985 City Turbo II.
Pictured here is the latest, cool blue ‘concept’, but we’re still no closer to knowing precisely how much power its new 2.0-litre has got, with ‘more than’ 276bhp (the old Japanese gentlemen’s agreement threshold) still the rallying cry. If Honda hopes to keep those Nürburgring record ambitions alive, ‘more than’ is a must; when we drove a prototype drive last year, sources hinted that 340bhp was the true target.
Whatever the wallop, it will be fed to the front wheels only via a six-speed manual gearbox, which given Honda’s previous superlative form should prove a fantastic riposte to ponderously paddleshift-dependent rival hatches.
A trick ‘steer axis’ front suspension design with two additional supporting ‘kingpins’ aims to clamp down on torque steer. There’s no mention of any kind of limited-slip differential, but adaptive dampers aim to keep the tyres’ contact patches true to their name when the going gets tough.
The promise is comfort for cruising but racecar responses on track, unleashed by a ‘+R’ button next to the steering wheel. Honda says it will be the fastest Type R ever. We say: don’t let us down. And get a move on.