• Image Credit: Honda
  • Image Credit: Honda
  • Image Credit: Honda
  • Image Credit: Honda
  • Image Credit: Honda
  • Image Credit: Honda
  • Image Credit: Honda
  • Image Credit: Honda
  • Image Credit: Honda
  • Image Credit: Honda
  • Image Credit: Honda
  • Image Credit: Honda
UPDATE: A previous version of this article incorrectly indicated that the vehicle in question is the most powerful hot hatch ever made. As some commenters pointed out, the Ford Focus RS500 was more powerful by some 40 horsepower. We've updated the text below accordingly.

Takanobu Ito may be stepping down as president and CEO of Honda, but as far as performance machinery is concerned, he'll be leaving the company in good shape. Not only has he ushered Honda back into Formula One – reviving the legendary partnership with McLaren – but he's also brought back two performance icons: the NSX and the Civic Type R. The former is making its European debut here at the Geneva Motor Show after its premier in Detroit, but alongside it we're seeing for the first time the production version of the latter.

Not that it's exactly our first look at the new hot hatch. We've seen it testing, seen a couple of concept versions and even drove an early prototype. But after that whole lengthy process, it's finally here. (Or there, we should say, because it won't be coming to America. At least not in its current form.)

What we're looking at, according to the manufacturer, is not only the fastest and most powerful front-drive hot hatch it's ever made, but on the market altogether. It packs a 2.0-liter VTEC turbo four kicking out 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque – the most powerful production engine the company has ever offered – said to be enough to propel the new Civic Type R to 62 in 5.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 167 miles per hour.

That's a whole lot of muscle to channel to the front wheels, but Honda's surely done its best to keep it all under control. It's got an old-school six-speed manual transmission, electric power steering, 19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, adaptive dampers and a suspension designed to combat torque steer and tuned to enhance high-speed stability and support hard cornering.

In addition to extensive testing at locations including the Nürburgring, Suzuka and the company's own Takasu test track, the new Civic Type R has also undergone considerable CFD and wind tunnel testing to tune the aerodynamics. The resulting appendages may be toned down slightly from the concepts, but still make quite a visual impact – to say nothing of generating much-needed downforce to keep this sucker glued to the road or track.

And as you might expect, the interior has been upgraded extensively to create the right environment from which to summon this hot hatch's considerable capabilities – complete with deep buckets trimmed in grippy synthetic suede and a machined aluminum gear knob.

Full specifications are still to come, but from what we're seeing so far, the new Civic Type R looks poised to live up to the hype. Scope out the details in the press release below.

Honda Civic Type R
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A HOT-HATCH ICON REBORN: ALL-NEW HONDA CIVIC TYPE R ENGINEERED TO BE A 'RACE CAR FOR THE ROAD'

- Production version of Civic Type R revealed at 2015 Geneva Motor Show
- Characterful, high-revving all-new 2.0 litre VTEC TURBO engine offers greater power, torque and response than any previous Honda production car engine
- Function dictates form – eye-catching styling enhancements optimise airflow to aid performance and stability
- Advanced new suspension systems, unique to the Type R, ensure rewarding handling characteristics and maximise power transfer
- New +R mode increases the response of chassis and engine for enhanced driving thrills
- Under development the Civic Type R has achieved a top speed of 270 km/h

After a five year wait, 2015 sees the arrival of the world's most keenly anticipated hot hatch, the Honda Civic Type R. Billed as a 'race car for the road', the all-new Civic Type R will set new standards in the high-performance front-wheel drive hatchback segment.

The production version of Honda's latest hot hatch icon is revealed for the first time at the 85th Geneva Motor Show (5 to 15 March; Stand 4250, Hall 4), and more images of the car can be viewed at: www.hondanews.eu/gb

Type R vehicles have garnered a cult following around the world and the new model more than lives up to the high expectations. A world-first application of Honda's new 2.0 litre VTEC TURBO engine, aggressive function-led styling, and pioneering new chassis technologies combine to deliver one of the most immersive and rewarding driving experiences available in any sector.

The new 2015 Civic Type R will be powered by the most extreme and high-performing engine in the 22-year history of the red 'H' badge, signalling the start of a new performance era for the Honda brand.

All-new turbocharged 2.0 litre VTEC TURBO engine

At the heart of the Civic Type R is an all-new, direct-injected turbocharged 2.0 litre VTEC TURBO petrol engine, which delivers power, torque and performance figures unmatched in the front-wheel drive hot hatch segment. Peak power output is 310 PS* at 6,500 rpm, and peak torque is 400 Nm* at 2,500 rpm – both higher than for any previous Honda Type R model.

Red-lining at 7,000 rpm, the engine – part of Honda's next-generation Earth Dreams Technology series – features an advanced new turbocharger with VTEC technology that boosts low-end torque and delivers sustained acceleration.

The Civic Type R's blistering performance is unmatched in the front-wheel drive hot hatch segment: the 0-to-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint is covered in just 5.7 seconds* – making it the fastest accelerating performance front-wheel drive hatchback – and top speed, where permitted, is a class-leading 270 km/h (167 mph)*.

The new engine is mated to a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission, safeguarding an intimate, rewarding connection with the drivetrain, and power is directed through the front wheels.

Function dictates form

The styling changes that are unique to the Civic Type R give the car an aggressive, purposeful stance, yet almost all have a functional purpose. The sleek and aerodynamically-efficient design reflects a car developed to perform at speed. The focus on aerodynamics has ensured high-speed stability and high levels of downforce.

To achieve this aim, the Civic Type R was subject to exhaustive aerodynamic analysis, testing and development. The development team tirelessly pursued its objectives through computer-based CFD modelling and wind tunnel testing at Honda's dedicated automotive motorsports facility in Sakura, Japan; home of Honda's Formula One engine development.

This development work was validated through extensive prototype testing both on the road and on track, including at the Suzuka Formula One circuit, the Nürburgring Nordschleife and at the company's Takasu test facility.

A new, almost completely flat underside aids airflow under the vehicle and combines with a rear diffuser to optimise downforce – effectively 'sucking' the car onto the road.

The rear wing has been reimagined from the Type R Concept. The structure of the airfoil – its angle, height and shape as well as its vertical end plates – have been carefully engineered to optimise downforce without causing a significant increase in drag at higher speeds. This helps improve road-holding abilities, particularly through high-speed corners.

A wide front splitter and deep side skirts also manage airflow and reduce lift, while the front bumper has been shaped specifically to inhibit air turbulence around the front wheels, enhancing high-speed stability and reducing lift forces.

Heat management was another major focus for the design team, influencing several prominent external design modifications. Enlarged upper and lower grilles in the front bumper allow greater volume of cooling air into the engine bay. The airflow is channelled to outlet vents above the wheels on the front quarter panels and vents at the trailing edges of the widened front wheel arches to provide greater cooling and ventilation for the high-output engine.

New lightweight, high rigidity 19-inch alloy wheels, unique to the Type R, complement the visual changes. They fill the enlarged wheel arches with 235/35R19 tyres that were developed specially for the Type R.

To help the driver manage the Type R's prodigious power, the car is equipped with a high performance Brembo brake package, developed specifically for the car. At the front, four-piston calipers apply braking force to 350 mm drilled discs.

The Type R is available in five distinctive colours that give the purposeful new styling added visual impact. As well as Championship White – shared with successive generations of iconic Type R vehicles – buyers can choose from Crystal Black (pearlescent), Polished Metal (metallic), Brilliant Sporty Blue (metallic) and Milano Red.

A cabin with a sporting ambience

A range of aesthetic and functional upgrades within the cabin reinforce the Type R's sporting character. As with previous Type R models, the gear lever knob is made from machined aluminium alloy. High-backed sports seats, trimmed in suede-effect black fabric with red double stitching, provide driver and front-seat passenger with ample lateral support during harder cornering.

Matching red double stitching also appears on the black leather-clad steering wheel and black gear-lever gaiter. The roof-lining is trimmed in black fabric, augmenting the focused ambience.

New suspension technologies for a rewarding, more agile drive

A number of innovative new suspension systems, unique to the Type R, have been introduced to produce rewarding handling characteristics and to maximise power transfer to the road.

A new four-point Adaptive Damper System, developed specifically for the Type R, enables continuous independent control of each wheel to deliver exceptional road holding performance, limit wheel-load transfer during sharp acceleration and deceleration, and to maintain a stable, flat ride. It also means that the ride is more comfortable and supple in everyday driving and cruising.

An advanced Dual Axis Strut Front Suspension system helps to reduce torque steer by 50 per cent compared to the standard Civic's suspension set up, enhancing high speed stability, on-the-limit cornering and steering feel. At the rear, Type R's H-shaped torsion beam suspension is constructed with a bespoke 'crushed pipe' which improves rear roll rigidity by 180 per cent, further enhancing stability in high-speed corners.

These systems are complemented by Dual Pinion Electric Power Steering, which helps to deliver rapid yet linear steering response and abundant feel.

New '+R' mode increases responses for enhanced driving thrills

The new Civic Type R will mark the debut of the new '+R' button that increases the response of various chassis and drivetrain systems. The result is an even more intense driving experience, ideal for the track and sure to be appreciated by the genuine sports-driving enthusiast.

When +R mode is activated, engine responsiveness is heightened, with torque-mapping changed to a more aggressive and performance-focused setting. Steering receives reduced power assistance and is therefore more responsive to driver inputs, and basic damping force from the new four-point Adaptive Damper System is increased by 30 per cent. This means the behaviour of the car is firmer and more agile for high-performance handling.

All-new GT Pack offers further enhancements

Customers will have the option to specify their new Civic Type R with an all-new GT Pack.

Externally, the GT Pack adds signature red highlights to the front and rear splitters for even greater eye-catching impact, but it's under the skin where the GT Pack's most significant upgrades will be found.

The driver will benefit from extra convenience features such as front and rear parking sensors, dusk sensing headlamps, rain sensing automatic wipers and electric fold door mirrors. Integrated Garmin satellite navigation (including four years of free map updates) is added to the Honda Connect infotainment system. Audiophiles will be attracted by the addition of a CD player and a premium eight-speaker, 320 watt stereo system upgrade.

All occupants will appreciate automatic dual zone climate control air conditioning, and sophistication in the cabin is also boosted by red ambient lighting.

The GT Pack also includes Honda's Advanced Driver Assist Systems. This comprehensive suite of sensor-based safety technologies includes Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition system, High-Beam Support System, Blind Spot Information and Cross Traffic Monitor.

Honda's City-Brake Active system will be fitted as standard on the Civic Type R.

The all-new Honda Civic Type R will go on sale across Europe from this summer. Full vehicle specifications will be announced in due course.

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