Honda CEO Takanobu Ito just revealed plans for a Civic Type R which will have a sole purpose: being the fastest front-wheel drive car around the Nürburgring.
Being the fastest around the “Ring” won’t be a small feat, and Ito said the car will benefit from technology developed for the brand’s World Touring Car Championships (WTCC) efforts. Little else was revealed about the car, but a backward stroll through honda’s breadcrumb trail might shed more light.
Honda recently unveiled a new 1.6-liter turbocharged, direct-injected engine without giving it a production car’s engine bay to live in. The powerplant was said to be headed for the WTCC car, but given what Ito just said, it’s hard not to imagine that the new Type R’s race-sourced tech might come in engine form.
Expect the car to be a hatchback when it shows up, and a hell of a hot hatch at that. If Honda is serious about building the fastest front-drive car around the ring, that will mean making a lap time faster than 8:07. For a dash of perspective, that means this is a Civic that would be faster around the storied track than, say, the hulking BMW M5 with a V10.
If Honda’s cooks are clever enough to conjure up the Type R with a version of its WTCC engine it would not only blow current cars like the Civic HFP sky high, but it would serve as a landmark for Honda offering a turbocharged production car.
All that adds up to one thing: the stinging reality that Ito already said this will be a European-specific car. But there could be good news packaged just out of view in 2016. Honda historically avoided bringing a five-door Civic to hatch-hostile U.S. territory, but Hyundai’s success in selling the Elantra with such a configuration could change that.
Recent reports suggest that the automaker will finally bring a version of the Civic to compete with Hyundai in its next generation. That isn’t expected for another four years, but if enough people hold their breath until then it might mean the Type R roosting in American garages.