As Honda’s new Civic Type R enters its final stages of development, the hot hatch has set a record for front-wheel drive lap at Suzuki, the home of the Japanese Grand Prix.
A pre-production prototype defeated the previous record-holder – the outgoing FK8-generation Civic Type R Limited Edition – by about nine-tenths of a second. It went around Suzuki’s famous 3.6-mile Figure-8 layout in 2 minutes 23.120 seconds.
For a standard type R to reliably beat the track-centric limited edition – which has achieved its lap time with the advantage of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, light weight forged wheels and striped-back nature – good for vehicle performance.
However, we don’t know what kind of rubber this prototype wore – it’s worth noting that when the Honda FK8 Type R claimed front-wheel drive norburging record, it did so with the factory-fitted Continental Sport Contact 6 tires. . When contacted by Honda UK, it could not confirm how the 2022 car was configured to run Suzuki.
The latest Civic Type R Hot Hatch is based on the Mk11 Civic hatchback, released in June. It features the same five-door fastback body style as the predecessor, although Honda designers have slightly reduced the styling of previous cars.
However, an offensive arrow kit is still present. The hot hatchback on the front has the same thin LED headlights as the standard Civic, but they’re next to a sporty mesh radiator grille.
The front bumper is more aggressive than the standard car, with a massive takeaway that extends to the lower splitter. There is also a pair of fresh food under the headlamps. However, the fact that they are covered in camouflage means that they are only for aesthetics rather than functionality.
The new Type R will have much wider tracks than the standard Civic, with wider wheel arches covering larger alloys. The side skirts are deeper, and there’s a new arrow fin in front of the rear wheels to clear the air flowing under the car flanks. The wheels are fitted with a Type R and are fitted with a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires.
On the back, Honda’s new hot hatch retains the standard Civic’s full-width light bar, but the rear bumper has been redesigned with a pair of vent cut-outs and a deep diffuser. It has a triple-tailpipe drainage set-up that, unlike the current type R, places the largest outlet in the center. The system is designed to deliver more aggressive notes under hard acceleration when lowering drones on a motorway cruise.
Inside, the Type R will mirror the standard car design with a new nine-inch infotainment system mounted on the dashboard and a new digital instrument cluster in front of the driver. The Type R will have a new pair of sports seats, an updated sports steering wheel and aluminum pedals, and the Type R will have a signature aluminum shift knob.
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However, the most striking feature of the new car will be its powertrain because the rest of Honda’s range is constantly moving towards electrification, the next type R will not. The brand recently clarified its EV strategy by announcing its goal of electrifying its “mainstream” European line-up by 2022, which will delight enthusiasts.
Asked if this type is included anymore, Honda Europe Senior Vice President Tom Gardner told us: “We have the main pillars that are going to be electrified. Apparently we have a very famous product – such as a Civic derivative, which I guess you’re referring to in Type R – but no decision has been made yet.
“We are very aware of the strong perceptions of the customers of the current model, and we need to deeply consider the best progress we have made.”
Based on Gardner’s statement, we expect the new type and existing car to use an updated version of the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post at 316bhp. It is almost certain that the Type R will also retain its six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive set-up.
Production of the Civic Type R will also shift from Sweden, where its predecessor was built, to one of Honda’s advantages in Japan.
Honda Civic type and timeline
The first Civic to wear the Type and Badge was built in Japan as a three-door hatch. It had a 1.6-liter VTEC engine that produced 181bhp.
The EP3 is the first of its kind to be made at Honda’s Swindon plant and sold abroad. It was powered by a 197bhp 2.0-liter VTEC engine.
Two versions of the third-generation Type R were launched: a four-door saloon for Japan and a three-door hatch for Europe, both with the same engine as the EP3.
Honda has moved a five-door hatchback body for this generation. The Type R had its first turbo power with a 306bhp 2.0-liter four-cylinder.
The current type and the latest will be produced in Sweden. It is still the most powerful version, with 316bhp, and is the first to be exported to North America.
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