Is there any other car as versatile as the Honda Civic? Sure, it’s got a reputation as one of the most plain-vanilla and boring (albeit reliable) vehicles on the planet. It’s a sporty racing machine. At least, when you’re talking about the Civic Type R.
The latest-generation Type R just set a record on the Nurburgring, as the fastest front-drive car to take it Germany’s legendary track, completing in 7 minutes and 43.8 seconds. And for the first time in a long, US fans can get their hands on one, as Honda (presumably) looks to compete with the WRX and Focus RS.
The new Type R is powered by a 306-hp i-Vtec turbo 2.0-liter inline-four, that puts out 295 lb-ft of torque. And no, that’s not supercar fast by any means, but make no mistake: this thing is fast, and its time around the Nurburgring is impressive. It also gets a not-too-shabby 28 mpg highway and 22 mpg city, which, while exactly Prius levels, should make it an affordable car for everyday errands and commuting as well.
It also has a limited slip differential, to combat torque steer overload from that kind of power (that’s quite a bit for front-wheel drive car) and keep steering tight, while an Adaptive Damper System controls the suspension for excellent, stable performance on the track.
The Type R has three driving modes – Comfort, Sport and +R. Switching modes changes the steering and throttle response, and even the rev-matching system. Brembo brake calipers work with 13.8” rotors for stopping on a dime and taking on even the sharpest of corners.
The Type R is a beast on the outside, too. It’s got more angles and flares than a normal Civic – or of any other car, really. While many racing cars aim for something smoother, this thing is big and aggressive. It’s wider and rides much lower than the normal Civic, and features what Honda calls a Track-Tested Areo kit, containing front and side splitters, a rear diffuser, vortex generators and a wing. A huge wing, that looks ready for take-off any given moment.
It’s also got sleek and aggressive 20-Inch Black Alloy wheels, trimmed with red brake calipers. This isn’t your mom’s Honda Civic Hatchback, and the Type R stares you down imposingly from the front.
The cockpit has racecar-inspired Lightweight Bucket front seats in sporty red and black, as well as a customizable digital meter display, which lets you keep an eye on boost pressure, g-forces and track times. The dash and is a cool black with red trim. The infotainment system has navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto all built in, and complemented by a sweet 12-speaker system.
The Type R starts at around $35,000 in the US, and ships Spring 2017.