Honda unveils new Civic Type R in pre-production form as Nurburgring testing commences
Honda has given us our first official look at the upcoming, 2022 Civic Type R hot hatch.
The Japanese marque has released images of a camouflaged development car, set to begin testing at the Nurburgring and revealing a milder evolution of the wild styling that has defined the car since the fourth-generation Type R introduced in 2015.
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Based on the new Mk11 Civic family hatchback that was unveiled in June, the new Type R uses a five-door fastback body style and smoother surfacing than the outgoing car, which was criticised by some for its overly outlandish design.
At the front, the upcoming car adopts a pair of slim, LED headlight clusters which are joined to a sportier honeycomb-mesh grille than the standard Civic. The front bumper is pumped up and aggressive, with a deep radiator grille extending down to the front splitter. This is flanked by what looks to be a pair of air vents – these are covered by camouflage, however, which suggests that they are aesthetic, rather than functional.
As before, the Type R will carry a wider track than standard, with smooth, bulging wheel arch extensions giving a more purposeful stance. The sills have also been extended, with an aero fin ahead of the rear wheels to clean up airflow along the side of the car. The wheels are bespoke to the Type R, shod in a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres.
At the rear, Honda’s hot hatch retains the full-width light bar of the standard Civic, but the rear bumper has been redesigned with a pair of vent cut-outs and a deep diffuser. This houses a triple-tailpipe exhaust setup, which unlike the current Type R, places the largest outlet in the centre. The system is designed to provide a more aggressive note under hard acceleration, while minimizing resonance at a motorway cruise.
In the name of high-speed stability and further sporty styling, the upcoming Type R is fitted with an enormous rear wing.
The next-generation Honda Civic Type R is expected to make its debut in 2022, and it should delight enthusiasts when it arrives. Like the current car, it’ll sidestep hybrid assistance in favour of a traditional internal combustion engine.
Inside, the hot hatchback will mirror the standard car’s design with a new nine-inch infotainment system mounted atop the dashboard and a fresh digital instrument cluster ahead of the driver. Buyers will also likely get a new pair of sports seats, an updated sports steering wheel and an aluminium pedal box, plus the Type R’s signature aluminium shift knob.
However, the new car’s most interesting feature will be its powertrain as, while the rest of Honda’s range is steadily marching towards electrification, the next Type R won’t. The brand recently clarified its EV strategy by announcing its aims to only electrify its “mainstream” European line-up by 2022.
When asked if this included the Type R, Tom Gardener, Senior Vice President at Honda Europe, told us: “We have our main pillars that are going to be electrified. Clearly we have a very famous product – such as the derivative of the Civic, which I guess is what you are referring to in the Type R – but no decisions have been made on that yet.
“We’re very much aware of customers’ strong appreciation of the current model, and we’ll have to deeply consider the best progress forward.”
Based on Gardener’s statement, we expect the new Type R will use an updated version of the existing car’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Naturally, Honda will make a few efficiency tweaks – and power will rise over the current 316bhp, to help keep the hot hatchback competitive with the new Volkswagen Golf R. It’s almost certain that the Type R will retain its six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive set-up, too.
Production of the model will also move, from its current base in Swindon, which is due to close in 2021, to one of Honda’s facilities in Japan.
Honda Civic Type R timeline
The very first Civic to wear the Type R badge was built in Japan as a three-door hatch. It had a 1.6-litre VTEC engine that developed 181bhp.
The EP3 generation Type R was the first to be manufactured at Honda’s Swindon plant and sold overseas. It was powered by a 197bhp 2.0-litre VTEC engine.
Two versions of third-generation Type R were launched: a four-door saloon for Japan and a three-door hatch for Europe, both with the same engine as the EP3.
Honda moved to a five-door hatchback body for this generation. The Type R also had turbo power for the first time, with a 306bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder.
Current Type R will be the last produced at Swindon. It’s the most powerful version yet, with 316bhp, and was the first to be exported to North America.
What do you think of our exclusive Honda Civic Type R image? Let us know in the comments section…
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