New 2017 Honda Civic Type R spied on test in London 20 Oct 2016
Honda stole the limelight at the Paris Motor Show this year with a prototype version of the all-new Civic Type R but now two production cars have been snapped on the road in London by a reader of our sister site Evo. It even looks like they could have been giving the Type R's springs and dampers a workout over some of the Capital's infamous speed humps!
The new Civic Type R show car was a close-to-production preview of what the next generation of Honda's Civic hot hatch will look like when it goes on sale in 2017. It's based on the all-new Honda Civic hatchback that also made its debut at the show. These disguised cars appear to be the production models undergoing final testing before the Type R launch shortly after the standard Civic hatch arrives in 2017.
Speaking at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the new Civic Type R's principal designer Daisuke Tsutamori told Auto Express that "it pursues the ultimate function - that's why we made it to that design. You can expect that the car you see on the stand will be close to the car we will see on the road."
Honda will attempt to broaden the appeal of the hot hatch upon launch with a more subtle and mature design approach replacing the current model’s divisive, extreme look. The large rear wing remains, but a softer front bumper and back diffuser mean it's not at outlandish as the current road car. Smoked lenses and new bumper designs give it a more agressive look than the standard hatch.
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Prototypes have also been spied undergoing performance testing at the Nurburgring race track in Germany with the large rear wing fitted, and despite previous reports that this won’t appear on the production model, it will indeed get this "functional" unit. "The purpose of this model will be to fight for the record," Tsutamori told us.
Trademark Civic Type R design cues such as the red bumper detailing, flared wheelarches and oversized air intakes do remain, but the styling is restrained in comparison with the current model.
Engineers will also turn their attention to the powertrain. Auto Express understands the car will be powered by a tuned version of the current 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo. Current performance figures of 306bhp and 400Nm of torque are expected to increase to around 340bhp and 450Nm. The official 0-62mph time could drop to around five seconds – seven-tenths of a second quicker than today’s model.
Despite the huge reserves of power, it’s also believed Honda will stick with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. This means the new Type R should move clear of the limited-run, two-seater Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S to become the world’s most powerful front-drive hot hatch – and Honda will try to reclaim the front-wheel-drive Nurburgring lap record from its rival.
The more traditional bodyshape will also mean a boost in practicality for the Civic. The new Type R will be around 30mm wider, 20mm lower and 130mm longer than at present. It will be built at the Honda facility in Swindon, Wiltshire, alongside the standard hatchback, with production starting in the second half of next year.