Usually, when one utters the word 'Type-R', the origin of the spoken trajectory always seems to come from a voice box attached to either a pimply-faced teen or someone that has 'cap-fitting' issues - i.e., the backwards hat brigade. Now, it's easy to stereotype without investigating the actual draw card with this Type-R obsession. That being the bang-for-buck hot Honda's offer: good handling and high revving, VTEC-delivered performance.
For the European and Asian market Civic, this tuned 'R' arrangement started out with the EK9 3-door hatch in 1997. From there on, successive generations have improved on the formula with emphasis put on weight reduction and engine fine-tuning. Currently, the Civic Type-R is on leave, however as we've reported earlier, Honda is readying a new 'fourth-generation' version - spied recently at the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit.
With our rendering, we've translated those horrid zebra-coated prototype mules into something much more visually palatable. Starting with its eye-punching, acidic green paint job - the initial response is that someone from Honda nicked off with a WTCC racer and made it road legal. Cue those bulging fender-flares, with half-cut lower sections and chiseled frontal air intakes. Fog-lights sit recessed into the outer corners of the bumper, whilst the lower center intake is dissected by angled framework that leads up into the intersecting glossy black section, migrating towards the grille.
A casual glance may register the grille as looking similar to the 'garden' variety Civic; however, it's now deeper, squared-off and more desirable for bees with its honeycomb mesh inlay. Those with a penchant for hood scoops or bulges will have to make their own on this latest version - the hood is as standard compared to the lesser versions; although, in the interests of weight saving it's now stamped in aluminum.
Paying homage to Touring Car-like aero-kits, the front fender vents sit squared-off where the front doors hinge open - yet at the rear, the wheel-arch flares are smaller and less prominent. Below these are chunky side skirts which help 'ground' the car to improve its visual stance; they also extend around to the back diffuser where you'll find at set of prominent quad exhausts which emphasize that this Honda means serious business.
Speaking of the later, word is that grunt will be provided by a 1.6-liter direct-injection turbocharged four, transferring power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual. Reports have this upcoming pocket-rocket nearing the 300hp bracket, yet how well this will be transferred to the pavement remains to be seen. Rivals like the Ford Focus RS use special front suspension geometry to bypass torque-steer issues associated with high-output FWD cars; and the team at Honda may be considering the option of utilizing torque-vectoring systems too.
Making the most of this extra mumbo will be a stiffer and lighter chassis using adaptive suspension, which will be the bases of the most capable Civic to date. Even CEO of Honda, Takanubo Ito, has signaled that the Japanese manufacturer wants to create the fastest front-wheel drive production hatch to ever lap the Nürburgring - look out VW, Opel, Mazda and Ford…
Unlike the previous 3rd-generation European-market Civic Type-R hatch, the 2015 version will be more family-friendly with the move to a more accessible five-door configuration. Sadly for U.S. enthusiasts, this will not make it Stateside - which is a shame, as Volkswagen, Ford and Mazda offer their Golf GTI / R, Focus and (previous-gen) Mazda3 versions in hot-hatch format for American consumption.
While it's not due to go on sale until 2015, Honda is said to be teasing tidbits of information at the fast approaching 2013 Frankfurt Motor show. Wether the whole car will be revealed remains to be seen - considering the new Civic Tourer will also debut at Frankfurt.
Ultimately the 2015 Type-R would have to be one of the most anticipated hot hatches in a while, and for myself - the first Honda in a long time that has me eagerly waiting for a test-drive. Like most other vehicle segments these days, it's fiercely contested and the Type-R will do battle against updated versions of the Mazdaspeed3, Ford Focus RS, and Volkswagen Golf GTi/R. One thing is for sure - those competitors will give nothing away.
So who feels like lobbying Honda into bringing the next Civic Type-R to U.S. soil? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below – hopefully, they will take note…
By Josh ByrnesPhoto Renderings Copyright: Carscoops / Josh Byrnes