Honda Civic Type-R

Mystery fast Civic prototype wearing a huge rear wing breaks cover for the first time

Has the new Honda Civic Type R started testing? This mystery prototype was spotted near Honda’s engineering centre close to the Nurburgring circuit in Germany – and the vast rear wing suggests it’s no ordinary hatch.

The car also features modified front air intakes to allow extra cooling, although there don’t appear to be any other changes to the wheels, tyres, brakes or suspension, leading our spies to believe this could be the first prototype to test the Type R’s new engine.

Rather than follow the current trend for small-capacity turbocharged engines, Honda is expected to fit a naturally aspirated, high-revving i-VTEC with the same 2.0-litre capacity as the old hot Civic. This is likely to produce over 200bhp, but will be far less powerful than the 247bhp 2.0-litre turbo Ford Focus ST and 276bhp Astra VXR.

However, the weight-saving strategy on the standard Civic should mean the Type R is 100kg lighter than the old car, so expect a 0-60mph time of around 6.5 seconds, plus a top speed approaching 150mph.

Even the standard Civic’s rear suspension subframe is stiffer than the old Type R’s; add lowered springs with uprated dampers, and the new flagship is set to be very agile and responsive.

There will be no three-door version – as the new Civic is sold as a five-door only – but the finished model will certainly look the part. Expect a dramatic bodykit, large alloys, aggressive vents and a development of the vast rear wing on the prototype in our pictures.

The final car should look very similar to the model in our exclusive images from the end of last year. Sales are likely to start next year, with the car costing around £22,000.

Meanwhile, a limited-edition Mugen Civic is expected to debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this month.

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