Honda has officially confirmed that the new Honda Civic Type R will be powered by a 2.0 litre direct-injection turbocharged engine with more than 276bhp sent straight to the front wheels.
During the unveiling of the Honda Civic Sport Tourer at the Frankfurt show the President of Honda Motor Europe Manubu Nishimae revealed the engine size and rough power output although he also said that they still had "two years of solid development work" so that number could increase by 2015.
Due to be launched in the summer of that year, the Civic Type R is being developed under the watch of Japanese engineer Suehiro Hasshi but key members of Honda Germany are being drafted in to help with the ride and handling setup for setting the Nurburgring lap record for a front-wheel drive car. This was set by the Renaultsport Megane 265 and currently stands at just over eight minutes.
Speaking to Auto Express at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Suehiro Hasshi said: "The reason for turbocharging is quite simple. If you look at our competitors they all have between 250-270bhp - to match that kind of output with a naturally-aspirated engine would be very difficult technically, and the extra control and driveability you get from wider torque performance is important. But we do want to keep the Honda character and although this is quite a challenge the new Type R will be the highest revving turbo engine on the market.
"To create a fast lap of the Nurburgring has many requirements but two things stand out. Firstly the long back straight means a high top speed is essential which means good aerodynamics, but also the sheer number of corners means that if you can cut even a tenth of a second at each corner it will add up to make a big difference."
Honda also showed an extended video of the Type R prototype in action on the famous German circuit being tested to its limits by (among others) WTCC driver Gabriele Tarquini and we heard the noise of the turbo engine for the first time and got a look inside the cabin.
It has lost the high-pitched note of the high-revving old twin-cam V-TEC engine, but still sounds sporty with a deeper, throatier rumble. Famous corners like the carousel were included in the video and the in-car footage shows how hard the driver is pushing, but a source from within the company told us that they had already come close to beating the record at the first attempt with this batch of prototypes.
Senior engineer Adrian Killham said however that Honda would not allow the target of the lap record to undermine the car's driveabilty on the road - or indeed its overall package. Which is why the Type R was pictured with its closest rivals from Ford and Vauxhall when it was spied testing.
Suehiro Hasshi also gave us an indication of how long the Type R would be on sale for. He told us: "In terms of timing it is true that the Type R will arrive in the second half of the Civic lifecycle, so will probably only be on sale for two or three years, but that should be enough time to enhance the brand image and boost sales of the standard car."