The long wait for Honda’s hottest of hatchbacks is almost over.
The Honda Civic Type R has never been sold in North America, but when it launched the current-generation Civic, Honda promised that it would bring the performance model to our shores. It unveiled a Civic Type R concept at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, and now says it will bring the production-ready version to the 2017 Geneva Motor Show next month. Honda will start building the car in the United Kingdom this summer.
That production model will probably stick pretty close to the concept version. The Civic Type R will be available as a hatchback only, although Honda does offer coupe and sedan versions of lesser Civic models. Expect styling to be toned down a bit from the concept version, but to retain plenty of scoops, flares, and a big rear spoiler.
No powertrain details have been confirmed so far, but a recent report indicated the Civic Type R will sport a tuned version of the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine from other versions of the Civic, producing 320 horsepower. All of that power will reportedly be sent to the front wheels, with help from a limited-slip differential. A six-speed manual transmission is expected to be standard equipment, with an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) optional.
The new Civic Type R will need some serious hardware to surpass the outgoing-generation Type R, which was never sold in the U.S. That car boasts 305 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque, getting it from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, according to Honda. This Civic was fleet enough to set a Nürburgring lap record for front-wheel drive cars, although that record is now held by the Volkswagen GTI Clubsport S.
Honda will probably try to recapture the record from VW but, even if it doesn’t the Civic Type R will probably capture U.S. enthusiasts’ hearts. Years of forbidden-fruit status have made the Civic Type R one of the most anticipated new-car launches of the year for fans of fast automobiles. We’ll see if it lives up to the hype.