For some, the Civic Type-R is the holy grail of the hot-hatch world. For us here in North America, the Civic Type-R has always been forbidden fruit… the kind of forbidden fruit a unicorn would eat. After plenty of teasing, the 2015 Honda Civic Type-R has finally debuted at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. Was it worth the wait? Let’s go through the details and you can make up your mind from there.
For the first time ever, Honda has gone the turbocharger route for a road-going production sportscar. The result is a healthy 310 PS or 306 hp and 295 lb-ft being churned out by the 2.0L i-VTEC four-cylinder. What’s really caught our attention is the Type-R manages to reach peak hp and peak torque at a mind-boggling 2500 RPM. That translates into a real-world driver being able access all 306 hp instantly, provided they’re already rolling. The fun stops at a rather conservative-for-Honda 7000 RPM. Honda claims the Type-R runs from 0-100 km/h in 5.7 seconds. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a conservative estimate.
This kind of power in a front-wheel-drive car can be a little tricky to put down without crazy amounts of torque steer and wheel spin. To combat the former, they’ve designed a new mechanical LSD and, more importantly, added a ‘Dual Axis Strut’ front suspension system. This is a fancy term for an additional steering knuckle, similar to the RevoKnuckle system in the Ford Focus RS. Since I’ve never driven a Focus RS, I can’t tell you how well it works in curing chronic torque steer, but I can say I’ve driven several 300-plus hp FWD cars on the road and track, and yes, torque steer can take all the fun out of an otherwise awesome car.
A stiff suspension combined with adaptive sport dampers all around, huge 348 mm Brembos up front, an aggressive and functional aero kit, enlarged cooling grilles and vents all over the front end, and of course, the obligatory suede sport seats all add to the Type-R’s ‘track car for the road’ stance and look.
Unfortunately, we’re probably never going to see the Civic Type-R in our neck of the woods (this is one of those cases where I’d gladly eat my words). Honda have confirmed we will be getting a version of the same turbo 2.0L here in North America, but it’ll be safe to say it won’t have the same power figures as the Type-R’s variant. Either way, we’ll be pretty excited to finally have a factory-equipped turbocharged Honda Civic to boot around in.