As expected, Honda has upped power and torque for the new-generation version of its fire-breathing Civic Type R hot hatch.
The 2023 Type R is expected to go on sale in early 2023 with pricing and further details to be revealed shortly beforehand.
Power is up by 7kW over the previous version and it now pumps out 235kW, while torque is boosted by 20Nm to 420Nm. This is down on the Japanese market version that will be getting a 243kW tune.
Australia’s poorer fuel standards are to blame for the lower local tune.
The new model uses the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine as the previous Type R, albeit enhanced and uprated.
It is exclusively paired with a six-speed manual gearbox and drives the front wheels.
Honda says it is the most powerful Type R model it has ever produced, and the company’s engineers squeezed more power, torque and responsiveness out of the engine thanks to improvements like “a redesigned turbocharger, increased air intake flow rate and a new, more efficient exhaust system that features a straight through design and an active exhaust valve”.
Drivers can choose a number of drive modes, including Comfort, Sport and +R, as well as a new Individual mode.
Honda says the new model has a more rigid body structure, while the retuned dual-axis strut front and multilink rear suspension have ushered in improvements to straight-line stability and steering feel.
Unfortunately Honda is yet to confirm a 0-100km/h time for the new Type R, but given the improvements, expect it to undercut the previous model’s 5.7-second figure.
So how does it stack up against its perceived rivals?
Even though Honda is a mainstream brand and the Type R is a front-wheel drive car, we have included some all-wheel drive hot hatches and performance sedans, as well as models from premium brands given Honda’s recent march upmarket.
The Volkswagen Golf R hatch (from $65,990) matches the Honda’s 235kW power output but the hatch has 400Nm of torque – although the Golf R wagon matches the Civic’s 420Nm figure.
The front-drive Renault Megane RS Trophy (from $62,300) pumps out 221kW/400Nm, while the recently launched Subaru WRX (from $44,990) delivers 202kW/350Nm.
Ford’s Focus ST front-wheel drive has outputs of 206kW/420Nm, but Ford Australia has just discontinued it.
Hyundai’s i30 N (from $46,200) drives the front wheels and delivers 206kW/392Nm.
When it comes to premium alternatives to the Type R, Audi has two options – the 228kW/400Nm S3 (from $70,343) and the just-launched 294kW/500Nm RS3 (from $91,391).
BMW’s closest rival is the M135i xDrive (from $67,900) all-paw hatch that pumps out 225kW/450Nm.
Another pair of all-wheel drive high-end models are the Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic (from $77,869) with 225kW/400Nm and the brutal A45 S 4Matic+ (from $99,895) with 310kW/500Nm. The latter still holds the title of the world’s most powerful production four-cylinder engine.