As a front-wheel-drive car that can lap the Nürburgring in 7 minutes 50 seconds, the new 2016 Honda Civic Type R is easily the most extreme Civic ever sold. So, of course, it won’t be sold in North America. Barring a trip to Europe, the closest we in the New World will get to experiencing the turbocharged Type R is watching British men with beards driving them on YouTube.
British magazine sent road-test editor Matt Prior to Slovakia to get some first impressions of the Civic Type R on both road and track. This is a very different from the fast Hondas we’re used to, which mainly comes down to its new turbocharged engine. Honda traditionally took the high-revs route to producing more horsepower — small-displacement engines that revved to 8,000 or 9,000 rpm and produced peak horsepower at the top of the range. This philosophy sacrificed low-end torque for peak power, but keeping revs in the VTEC range was an engaging experience.
That’s not the case with the new one. The new turbocharged 2.0-liter engine produces its 306 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque at just 2,500 rpm. Those are stump-pulling numbers by Honda standards and it allows for a 0-60 time of just 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 167 mph. That last figure would probably be higher without the assorted, wild aero add-ons, but these do work to provide real, usable downforce at high speeds.
But how does all that affect the driving experience? With its trick suspension and sticky tires, Matt says it’s as grippy and responsive as you would expect, and despite all the twist going to the front wheels, torque steer is at a minimum. The lower-revving turbocharged engine doesn’t sound nearly as good as the old VTEC screamers, but at least Honda hasn’t forgotten how to make a good manual transmission. Check out the video for more impressions from Matt and his beard.
2016 Honda Civic Type R