Production of Honda’s new Civic Type R hot hatch is finally underway at the Honda plant in Swindon, England. The plant is the global hub for the Civic Hatchback, meaning it will also be supplying the United States with cars once the new Civic range goes on sale here in the fall. Other Civic bodystyles like the sedan and coupe will be sourced locally.
The Type R is set to join another generation of the Si in the new Civic’s performance line, but the two cars will share very little in common. The Type R has been developed almost exclusively with the track in mind and has even spawned a racing variant. The car also happens to hold the Nürburgring lap record for a front-wheel-drive car.
What makes it so impressive is its combination of a sophisticated chassis setup and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with VTEC variable timing. The engine develops as much as 305 horsepower, and drive goes exclusively to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. Honda quotes a 0-62 mph time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 167 mph.
Given the performance, the Type R’s key competitors will be the Ford Focus RS, Subaru WRX STI and Volkswagen Golf R. However, the Honda is unique in that it sticks with front-wheel drive instead of all-wheel drive. To combat this shortcoming, engineers have developed what’s known as the Dual Axis Strut Front Suspension, said to help reduce torque steer by 50 percent compared to the standard Civic’s suspension setup.
Type R specs and pricing for the U.S. will be announced closer to the market launch of the new Civic range in the fall.