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Honda Civic Type R is back

Hot hatch Honda legend is set to return – and the new Civic Type R will have a turbo engine

The next Honda Civic Type R will not only be the fastest version yet – it’s tipped to be Honda’s first-ever turbo road car. And our sources in Japan say tuning expert Mugen is already well underway with development.

The Type R has already achieved cult status in the UK – Europe’s biggest hot hatch market – thanks to its combination of a high-revving naturally aspirated engine and aggressive styling. But in order to meet emissions regulations, this latest model will tweak the formula slightly.

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Instead of the previous 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine, it will use a 2.0-litre turbo designed to comply with Euro V emissions regulations. A similar engine will feature in Honda’s 2012 British Touring Car Championship challenger.

Adding a turbo will give more torque lower in the rev range, so a higher gear can be used more often to boost efficiency. Stop-start is also likely to be fitted.

Just as VW hiked power with its latest Golf GTI, so Honda will increase the Type R’s output – but not by much. A figure of 210bhp would allow a 0-62mph time of less than 6.5 seconds and a top speed approaching 150mph.

Based on the new Civic seen at last month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the Type R gets the standard car’s front grille, slim headlights and LED daytime running lights, although most of the bodywork will be uprated.

A front end with large mesh air intakes, a lower chin spoiler and chunky side skirts will boost the visual impact, while a rear diffuser and extended spoiler  aim to increase stability at high speeds. Also helping the car’s balance in corners is the standard Civic’s longer, wider chassis; this should also improve ride comfort and grip.

Don’t expect refinement to match a Mercedes S-Class, however. The Type R has always been an extreme proposition and that’s the way it will stay.

The steering is set to be pin sharp, while the six-speed manual box will use a stubby gearlever for snappy changes. Plus, the suspension will be firm, to cope with track work as well as blasting down B-roads.

In a break from tradition that matches the turbocharged Ford Focus ST – a key competitor for the Type R – Honda will offer the car as a five-door only. Prices are expected to start from around £23,000 when it arrives in 2013.

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