7:50.63 – that’s the time they’ve set (4 seconds quicker than the Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy R) around the Nurburgring in a development car that Honda claim is mechanically identical to the road going versions. That’s fast! It’s so fast in fact it may leave behind any doubts we may have had about them over-hyping the new hot hatch.
But whilst the new Type R has blitzed the ‘Ring, it hasn’t done so without some pretty potent engineering. For starters, the Type R has gone turbo – the 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-pot outputs 228kW and 400Nm, and redlines at 7000rpm. Driving only the front wheels, the Type R utilises a trick front differential, specialised suspension, adaptive dampers, and a 6-speed manual gearbox to sprint from 0-100km/h in 5.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 270km/h – making it the quickest accelerating front-wheel drive hatchback around. No doubt the time was achieved in “+R” mode, which makes the Type R more aggressive in all ways. Interesting to note though is that the Type R makes do with a torsion beam rear suspension setup as opposed to independent rear suspension.
This performance is aided by a highly aerodynamic body kit that improves downforce and high-speed stability – whilst also looking pretty over the top. The 2 concept cars previewing the Type R got everyone pretty excited about the design, and while Honda has kept to the concepts closely, many fans will be more than disappointed that the rear spoiler and taillight combination hasn’t been retained from those show cars. The car does however retain the large quad-exhaust pipes from the show-cars.
Nevertheless, the Type R looks aggressive, and features flared fenders, aggressive splitters, and high-rigidity 19-inch alloy wheels, shod with 235/35 R19 rubber specifically developed for the Type R. Housed within these alloys are 350mm drilled brake discs with Brembo four-piston calipers to help bring the car to a halt.
The interior follows suit with its aggressive styling and driver focused design. The gear lever retains the machined aluminium ball shift-knob from previous Type R’s, there are high-backed sports seats trimmed in red suede and black fabric with red stitching, and the rest of the cabin mirror the red stitching as well as the black and red colour scheme found on the seats. The dash design features the double-tier instrument cluster, with the digital speedometer on top, and the large, centrally mounted tachometer sitting behind the steering wheel.
A GT pack can be specced to the standard car, which adds red ambient lighting, additional red highlights to the exterior, as well as a host of internal additions, such as dual-zone climate control, front and rear park distance control, automatic headlamps and windscreen wipers, a premium 8-speaker sound system, and a host of safety features such as lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition.
Honda has certainly grabbed our attention by following through on their claim to become King of the ‘Ring, and the car, displayed in Championship White in Geneva, is definitely striking – if not a tad over the top and kitsch compared to the stylish concepts. But carrying a base price of R553 842 in the UK, it’s likely to arrive in South Africa carrying a R600k price tag. It may look hardcore, but R600 000 for a front-wheel drive hot hatch seems a bit exorbitant to us.
Time will tell whether or not the Type R is a disappointment or whether it lives up to the hype, but the gauntlet has been laid down once more for Renault in their constant pursuit to remain king of the FWD hot hatches. Your move Renault – we can’t wait to see what you do next!