At 125 mph, the 2015 Civic Type R tells you a lot. I had the briefest of drives in the car at Honda's Yorii test track, and from ignition to exiting the pit, the small Civic Coupe jumped forward in fourth gear to north of 100 mph. My Japanese minder chided me to cool it for the first lap. Just as politely, I matted the throttle and sailed toward the 125-mph limiter.
This car's 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine has so much to give. In sixth gear, the car is still pulling hard. Honda just chose not to let a bunch of rambunctious journalists seek that edge.
Despite the mule status of this car, it's clear what Honda's built. This is a 180-degree departure from a mild people mover.
It's considerably more buttoned down than any previous Civic ever built. While Honda wouldn't let us rocket through cones on the company's tiny road course, the lowered Type R's steering on our brief test loop felt race-car taut. Whatever the lock-to-lock is (again, no specifics were given), it's quite tight.
The engine is ridiculous. Honda will only say that it has at least 280 horsepower. That seems reasonable, but it also stands to reason that 300 hp is possible.
Engineers have done something miraculous to tame torque steer. Again, we didn't have enough time carving circles in the asphalt to truly get a clear picture, but based on takeoff alone, there was zero wheel hop, and the steering wheel remained remarkably communicative.
We'll be stunned if Honda doesn't bring this car to the States.
It would be expensive, given that the European Type R has gone for well north of $30,000, but Honda needs an answer to its rivals. With a new Miata on the way way, Nissan teasing a successor to the 370Z, the presence of the FR-S/BRZ twins, and Ford's Fiesta and Focus ST duo, the market is rich with inexpensive performance cars. Now's the time, Honda.
By Road and Track