Honda Civic Type R Concept

A war is coming. It's been brewing for some time between the top-performing hot hatches, and will be determined by the ultimate bragging rights: the lap record at the Nürburgring for front-drive cars. Renault claimed it and reclaimed it again with successive versions of the Megane RS, then Seat took it by some margin with the new Leon Cupra. But this could take it from both.

It's the new Honda Civic Type R – or at least a conceptual preview of the one to follow. We drove an early prototype of the forthcoming Japanese hot hatch while in town for the Tokyo Motor Show a few months ago, where Honda made no secret of its Eiffel-bound aspirations. Now it has taken a big step closer with the concept you see here.

Previewing the extreme styling that will set the next Type R apart from ordinary Civics (or the European-spec hatchback on which it's based), the concept has a giant rear spoiler, enlarged grilles, hood vents and widened fenders packing both 20-inch alloys and additional air vents.

Underneath it all is the largest iteration of Honda's new turbocharged, direct-injection engine family: a 2.0-liter turbo four churning out 280 metric horsepower – 276 hp by our standards. Precisely the same output as the more powerful version of the Leon Cupra that recently set that all-important lap record, and a good 15 horses more than the Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy that held it before. Consider the gauntlet thrown down. While you're considering that, scope out the live images in the gallery above, the stock images in the gallery below and the press release below that. There are also a couple of videos, including one with the Type R designer, to be found below the fold.


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'A racing car for the road' - Honda unveils the new Civic Type R Concept at Geneva Motor Show

Geneva, Switzerland, March 4, 2014 - Today sees the worldwide reveal of the Honda Civic Type R Concept model which points to the styling direction for the exterior design of the highly-anticipated production new Type R that will debut in Europe during 2015.

Described by the design team as a 'racing car for the road' rather than a high performance version of a road car, the new Type R looks set to signal a new era for the marque – with the most extreme Civic Type R yet. The sleek and aerodynamic profile reflects a car designed for performance whilst maintaining the look of a road car and the distinctive character of Type R.

The styling of the car is heavily linked to performance, with the Type R Concept clearly showing its credentials in the exterior design. Many of the styling features offer real performance benefits, in addition to aesthetics, as confirmed by feedback from prototype testing at the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany. The shape and angle of the stand-out rear spoiler, for example, has been designed to provide additional downforce, as a direct response to information gained through track testing. Additionally, the upper and lower front grilles have been enlarged and air outlets on the bonnet provide cooling for the high-output engine. The front and rear fenders have been widened to accommodate 20-inch tyres and air outlets are integrated to optimise airflow. When combined, these features deliver maximum cooling, greater grip and ultimately, optimum performance.

While further detail on performance is yet to be announced, Honda has confirmed that the forthcoming new Type R will be the first model in Europe to feature one of its brand new VTEC TURBO engines from the Earth Dreams Technology range. The two-litre, direct injection, four-cylinder turbo is expected to deliver class-leading output of at least 280PS and will be EURO 6 compliant. While turbo engines have not been seen in Honda's production cars in Europe for some time, Honda has continued to actively develop turbo technology on the race track and in other regions. Honda's successful return to WTCC in 2013, has been instrumental in gathering knowledge that has helped shape the new Type R, providing the development team with analysis and feedback on performance and styling collected from the track.

Honda is also using the 2014 Geneva Motor Show to showcase the powertrain layout of the next generation NSX, set to launch in 2015. Alongside this, Honda's next generation Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Concept, makes its European debut at the show, with the company confirming for the first time that the production version will be on sale in Europe from early 2016.