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Geneva show: Honda Civic Type R wields 228kW

Red hot: Honda’s new Civic Type R gets first use of the company’s 2.0-litre turbo VTEC engine that forms part of the Earth Dreams powertrain line up.

Honda makes good on its 'fastest front-drive hatch' hype for new 228kW Civic Type R

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Honda logo3 Mar 2015

By RON HAMMERTON

AFTER a five-year gestation, Honda’s new-generation Civic Type R has emerged on the eve of the Geneva motor show, with the Japanese company revealing its all-new 2.0-litre turbo-charged VTEC engine will pack 224kW of power and 400Nm of torque and thus live up to its hype as the most potent production front-wheel-drive hatchback on the planet.

Although some other hatchbacks such as Mercedes-Benz’s A45 AMG (265kW) and Ford’s new Focus RS (235kW) carry more power, they are all-wheel drive.

With a top speed of 270km/h and aggressive aerodynamics package, the British-built “race car for the road” is said to cover the 0-100km/h sprint in 5.7 seconds – faster than the likes of Renault’s Megane RS275 Trophy (6.0s) and Volkswagen Golf GTI (6.4s).

Honda is claiming a new front-wheel-drive hatchback record for a lap of Germany's Nurburgring, saying a prototype achieved 7min 50.63sec in tyre testing, eclipsing the Renault’s Megane RS275 Trophy's 7min 54sec.

It now plans to send a production version back for another crack.

Honda says the Type R's new engine – part of its next-generation Earth Dreams powertrain line-up – boasts advanced new turbocharger technology that boosts low-end torque and delivers sustained acceleration.

Peak power – 80kW more than the previous Type R – arrives at a screaming 6500rpm, just 500rpm short of the 7000rpm red line. Torque peaks at 2500rpm and is fed to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox and what Honda describes as an advanced dual-axis front suspension that is claimed to reduce torque steer by 50 per cent compared with the standard Civic set-up.

Honda says the front suspension also contributes to enhanced high-speed stability, on-the-limit cornering and steering feel from the dual-pinion electric power steering.

At the rear, an H-shaped torsion beam suspension employs a “crushed pipe” anti-roll bar to improve roll rigidity by 180 per cent.

The suspension has four-stage adaptive adjustment for comfortable ride around town and firm high-speed handling, while a ‘+R’ setting sharpens inputs such as steering and throttle.

The Type R sits on 19-inch alloy wheels with unique 235/35R19 tyres. The wheel arches have been enlarged to cope with the bigger wheels.

Braking is provided by Brembo 350mm drilled front disc brakes with four-piston callipers, again developed especially for this model.

As Honda previously revealed, the Type R was the subject of much aerodynamic testing as engineers developed aids such as the big rear wing – similar to that of the prototype shown at last year’s Geneva show – as well as a flat underbody, rear diffuser and front splitter.

The Type R made its world debut the at the Geneva show alongside the new hybrid NSX that is making its first European appearance in production form.

The Civic Type R makes its showroom debut in Europe later this year, but Honda Australia is yet to confirm the car’s inclusion in the local line-up.

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