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While in the U.S. the hottest Honda Civic on offer is the very capable--albeit somewhat dull--Civic Si, over in Europe they have the Civic Type R, a high-revving hot hatch with race-inspired looks, taut suspension and impeccable handling. With the release of a brand new Civic in the European market recently, performance fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of its Type R variant.
It's not due to hit the market until 2015, but to keep interest alive Honda has released a teaser video hinting at its ambitions for the car. Our latest spy shots also show a prototype for the new Civic Type R testing at Germany’s Nürburgring, which will play a key role in the car's development. Clear giveaways that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill Civic are the huge rear wing, pumped fenders, Brembo brakes, quad-exhaust tips and sporty body kit.
Like the previous Civic Type R, the new car should stick with a four-cylinder engine delivering more than 200 horsepower to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. We hear output may reach as high as 300 horsepower, by way of turbocharging. This is said to be necessary for the car to set a new front-wheel-drive lap record of the Nürburgring, which is one of the goals for the car’s designers. The current record stands at 8:07.97, as set by the Renault Megane RS Trophy in 2011.
As the spy shots confirm, the new Civic Type R will feature a five-door body instead of the three-door body used for the previous generation. There’s also the possibility that a dual-clutch transmission may be offered as an alternative to the regular manual, this time around. And if that wasn’t enough, we may even see an active suspension setup fitted.
We may also see Honda’s in-house tuner and motorsport partner Mugen involved with some of the development. Given Mugen’s deeper integration with Honda’s road car program of late, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Honda offer some official, factory-installed upgrades for the Civic Type R as well as other models in the near future.
Stay tuned for updates as development advances, and look for a sales launch in markets where the alternative Civic is sold sometime in 2015. Key competitors for the car will be next-generation versions of the Ford Focus RS, Renault Megane RS and Volkswagen Golf R. Sadly, we won’t be seeing it on American roads.
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