After teasing us with the Civic Type R at last September’s Paris auto show, Honda unveiled the production car in Geneva. It’s the first U.S.-market Civic Type R in Honda’s history, and the company says it’s the most powerful, most agile Civic ever. The car goes on sale here in late spring wearing a mid-$30K sticker price.
Understated it ain’t. The basic body is your standard Civic five-door. The Type R adds a host of intakes, wings, splitters, Brembo brakes and three tailpipes. Yes, three.
We’d heard rumors the Type R would boast 300 hp, and Honda pulled it off. The direct-injected 2.0-liter turbo-four develops 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and the only gearbox is a short-throw six-speed manual with rev-matching capability. Honda says the new single-mass flywheel reduces clutch inertia 25 percent compared to the outgoing European Type R, while the lower final gear ratio should improve acceleration.
The Type R’s Nurburgring-tuned chassis builds further on the 10th-gen Civic’s upgrades with Type R-exclusive spring, damper and bushing settings. Honda says the new front suspension with aluminum lower arms and steering knuckles will improve at-the-limit cornering and reduce torque steer. There’s also a new four-wheel adaptive-suspension system with three-chamber dampers, variable-ratio electric power steering and a limited-slip front diff.
Wheels are 20-inch aluminum alloy with 245/30R Continental ContiSportContact 6 tires.
Honda says the Type R’s chassis has a 38 percent increase in torsional rigidity and 45 percent gain in bending rigidity. The body is 14 percent ultra-high-strength steel while the hood is aluminum. Overall weight is down 35 pounds.
Three driving modes — comfort, sport (default) and +R adjust steering and throttle response, transmission rev-matching, vehicle stability assist and the adaptive dampers.
Inside are heavily bolstered front buckets, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift boot and aluminum shift knob and pedals. The 7-inch touchscreen display houses navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This probably won’t happen, but if you get sick of hearing the Type R growl, the 540-watt, 12-speaker stereo is standard.
Honda’s U.K. plant in Swindon, England, is building the car, with the turbo-four coming from Honda’s Anna, Ohio, engine plant. The Type R makes its U.S. debut April 12 at the New York auto show.