2023 Honda Civic Type R

New Honda Civic Type R will be the fastest model yet

It’s faster, but how much faster?

Honda has finally taken the camouflage off its new Civic Type R. Although performance stats haven’t been released yet, with a lighter body and a whole suite of mechanical tweaks, it will be the fastest Civic Type R yet.

Based on the current 11th generation of Civic, the styling isn’t as radically angular as the outgoing model. It’s a prettier, less cluttered design, although the bodywork is still optimised for performance. The lower front bumper grille has been enlarged, for instance. There’s now a subtle new bonnet vent and bigger vents behind the front wheels for both aerodynamics and dispelling heat from the brakes. 

There’s a more prominent underfloor diffuser as well as a new rear wing design supported by lightweight aluminium die-cast mounts, sitting lower but wider than the previous model so as not to intrude quite so much into the visual shape of the sloping roofline.

A modern Civic Type R interior

The Type R’s interior isn’t hugely different from the standard model’s, still featuring the attractive honeycomb vent strip running horizontally along the dashboard. However, changes compared to the standard car include characteristic red suede-effect upholstery on the lightweight front seats, which position the driver lower than in the ordinary Civic. 

Performance gains

With an eye to trackdays, there’s a similar data logger to the old Type R but now updated with a range of new sensors. A smartphone app enables drivers to monitor performance data on lap times and tyre friction with a scoring function to help eke out every last little bit of lap time. Type Rs get the same 10.2in touchscreen as in higher-spec versions of the standard car.

Performance in the new Type R comes from an evolved version of the 2l turbocharged 17YM powerplant as seen in the last model, which is mated to an improved six-speed manual gearbox. 

Honda describes the changes as “incremental” but says that alterations to the turbo, changing its shape and blade count, have made it more efficient and boosted power resulting in “the strongest VTEC turbocharged engine” to date. 

Also helping performance is a new high-efficiency triple exhaust and a revised rev-matching system to ensure perfect downshifts. There’s a sharper, more precise gear change, thanks to a new gear lever and shift pattern. The whole car sits on a new set of lightweight 19in alloy wheels shod in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.

Despite all those performance-enhancing improvements, Honda has revealed almost nothing in the way of the new car’s numbers. While the engine should be that bit more powerful than the 316bhp version in its predecessor, the company hasn’t released an exact figure as regards either power, torque or acceleration time. 

What we do know, however, is that the new Civic Type R is quicker than the old one, having taken the front-wheel drive lap record at the Suzuka racing circuit in Japan — a record held by the outgoing model.

2023 Honda Civic Type R sets new front-wheel drive lap record at Suzuka Circuit

In April, a camouflaged 2022 Type R lapped the 3.6-mile circuit in 2 minutes 23.12 seconds during the final stages of its development testing, just over eight-tenths of a second faster than the previous model. 

An assault on Germany’s 13.6-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife now looks likely, enabling Honda to reclaim the front-wheel-drive crown from the Renault Mégane RS Trophy-R, an accolade it has held since 2019. Honda’s last-generation Civic Type R GT briefly held the Nürburgring lap record with a time of 7:43.80 set in 2017.

The new Civic Type R will go on sale in 2023, with deliveries expected in the first half of the year. Honda has yet to announce pricing. 

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