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Pragmatic performance: What you need to know about Honda’s fire-breathing Civic Type R

The Honda Civic Type R has legions of fans in both Europe and Japan, but Americans have always settled for admiring it from afar. That’s about to change. Honda finally listened to enthusiasts, and the Type R will arrive on U.S. shores for the first time when the next-generation model arrives.

More: Honda’s most emblematic sports car could be returning in 2018

Better yet, the wait is nearly over. Honda unveiled the European-spec 2018 Civic Type R during the Geneva Auto Show, and the U.S.-spec model will break cover in just a few weeks in New York. In the meantime, here is everything we know about what might be the hottest Civic to date.

Power and performance

2017 Honda Civic Type R

There were a lot of rumors surrounding the Civic Type R in the months leading up to its debut, and, in hindsight, most of them were false. Here are the facts: Power is provided by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s both turbocharged and direct-injected. It’s tuned to generate 306 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm — figures that make the new Type R as powerful as its predecessor.

An enthusiast-approved, six-speed manual transmission with a rev-matching function sends the turbo four’s output to the front wheels. Channeling that much grunt to the front axle is a recipe for a copious amount of torque steer, so a limited-slip differential comes standard. Performance specifications, such as the R’s 0 to 60 mph time and its top speed, haven’t been released yet.

Honda engineers fine-tuned the Type R on the grueling Nürburgring track in Germany for maximum performance. Consequently, it receives Brembo brakes up front and a comprehensively revised suspension system made up of aluminum components in order to save weight. We expect it will earn the distinction of being the fastest front-wheel drive production car around the ‘Ring.

The driver can choose from three driving modes, called Normal, Sport, and +R. Each one modifies parameters such as the stiffness of the suspension, the weight of the steering, and the throttle response to ensure the Type R is a compliant cruiser when it needs to be, and absolutely bonkers when the occasion calls for it.

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