New 2017 Honda Civic Type R is taking shape

2017 Honda Civic Type R – front (watermarked)

Honda will be looking to hog the limelight at October’s Paris Motor Show as it rolls out an all-new, more powerful and even faster version of its legendary Civic Type R, Auto Express can exclusively reveal.

Even though the current model – limited to 2,500 models in the UK – only launched last year, the manufacturer will preview the next Type R with a concept in France, and the production version will then make its way into showrooms next September. The concept will make its debut on the show stand alongside the standard version of the all-new 10th-generation hatch.

One of the key areas the new Type R will address is the styling, as illustrated by our exclusive images. Honda will attempt to broaden the appeal of the hot hatch with a more subtle design instead of the current model’s divisive, extreme look. The most obvious change will be the deletion of the rear wing, while a softer front bumper and back diffuser will also come in.

2017 Honda Civic Type R – rear (watermarked)

Prototypes have been spied undergoing performance testing at the Nurburgring race track in Germany with a rear wing fitted, but Auto Express understands that this won’t appear on the concept or production model. Instead, a more subtle spoiler will be preferred – although an aero package could be made available as an option.

Trademark Civic Type R design cues such as the red bumper detailing, flared wheelarches and oversized air intakes will remain, but the styling will be far more restrained in comparison with the current model.

Engineers will also turn their attention to the powertrain. Auto Express understands the concept car will be powered by a tuned version of the current 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, which will then go on to feature in the production model.

Current performance figures of 306bhp and 400Nm of torque are expected to increase to around 340bhp and 450Nm. The official 0-62mph time could drop to around five seconds – seven-tenths of a second quicker than today’s model.

Despite the huge reserves of power, it’s also believed Honda will stick with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. This means the new Type R should move clear of the limited-run, two-seater Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S to become the world’s most powerful front-drive hot hatch – although it’s not known if Honda will try to reclaim the front-wheel-drive Nurburgring lap record from its rival. The lack of aero on the upcoming model also means the current Type R’s 168mph top speed could rise.

Updates inside will focus on quality, with a slicker and better-integrated infotainment display replacing the current aftermarket-style system.

The more traditional bodyshape will also mean a boost in practicality for the Civic. The new Type R will be around 30mm wider, 20mm lower and 130mm longer than at present. It will be built at the Honda facility in Swindon, Wiltshire, alongside the standard hatchback, with production starting late next year.

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