Honda isn’t ready to show us the production version of its latest Civic Type R just yet, so at the 2014 Paris Auto Show, it's time for a new concept. This time, however, the concept’s impending arrival coincides with the release of the first specs for the car, which is scheduled for launch on the European market in 2015.
Power will come from a new direct-injected and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at “more than” 276 horsepower. We hear the final figure may be around 320 hp, which makes sense since prototypes for the new Civic Type R have been benchmarked against the 355-hp Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG.
The engine will also feature Honda’s VTEC variable valve timing technology and a 7,000-rpm redline. Drive will be to the front wheels only, and Honda has confirmed that a six-speed manual will be the only transmission. The development team is said to have selected this option to maximize driving enjoyment, though whether this will limit the car’s appeal remains to be seen.
“The manual transmission allows the drivers to select the gear they want, for example, down from fifth to third when approaching a corner,” Honda engineer Suehiro Hasshi explains. “The concept of the new Civic Type R is to be the complete driver’s car so this was the best option.”
The new Civic Type R will also be the first Honda to feature an +R mode; activated by a button next to the steering wheel, +R mode adjusts engine torque-mapping, the steering and suspension dampers for maximum performance. The dampers, by the way, will feature four levels of adjustment, from supple to race car-like firm.
“The +R button brings out a more dynamic and athletic car for the driver, to set pulses racing,” Hasshi says. “The difference in character is immense.”
Another new feature of the car will be its Steer Axis system, designed to reduce torque steer. Recall that the new Civic Type R will be a front-driver, so, in order to deliver power to the wheels without disrupting the steering, the car’s front suspension system includes an additional mechanical system involving two kingpin-like supports.
No performance specs have been released yet, but Honda promises the Civic Type R will be faster than any Type R car launched in the past, including the NSX Type R (known as the NSX-R) sold exclusively in Japan the early '90s.
As for the latest concept, apart from a new shade of blue and some decals, its looks are almost unchanged from that of the original red concept shown at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, suggesting it’s likely to give an accurate impression of the production model. That production model will roll off the line at Honda’s Swindon plant in the U.K. and sales in Europe start next year. Sadly, as the car is based on the version of the Honda Civic we don’t get in the U.S., a local launch isn’t planned.