Ian Lamming relives the youth he always imagined in the latest Honda Civic Type R.
I KNOW what you are thinking because I’m thinking it too – but so what.
Triple tailpipes sticking out the sports diffuser, red pin-stripe black alloys, more wings that a flock of starlings, this is boy racer personified, mid-life crisis in a glass, bling on a stick – and I love it.
Get past the some-would-say crass exterior and look at the Honda Civic Type R in detail and it is so much more than it seems. There are wings everywhere and the shapes have been dictated by the wind tunnel and years of experience in motorsport.
It’s not just for show and it is easy to see the shapes and materials aping those of Formula 1. The desire is to create down force; the result is the creation of down force to keep the 20in alloys stuck fast to the asphalt and help the front in particular handle 320PS of brute force.
It does this so well. Why else would the Type R boast the accolade of being the fastest front wheel drive car ever to circumnavigate the infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit.
My three previous tests cars erred on the side of cheap and as cheerful as they were they could not be described as being a driver’s car.
Type R was always going to seem good then. But as the week goes on it just gets better and better. The suspension travel is short; I hit one pothole which cricked the neck of my sleeping child and I swear burst my spleen, but it’s worth it.
The Honda has the oomph, the poise, the panache to match the macho sporting looks. It is perfectly balance, not only side to side but also fore and aft; the steering is F1 positive; the red painted Brembos are well up to the job; and the 2.0 VTEC turbo is explosive.
I’m lazy. There I admit it. So normally I like to drive autos because I can’t be bothered to change gear manually. However the six speed manual box on Type R is so slick, so accurate, so well weighted that it is pure joy to cog-swap. The smooth finish machined alloy gear knob is a wonderful cursory detail.
Inside is typically Civic and there’s nothing wrong with that but GT adds Type R Sports seats which support you against the words rigors of yaw and G.
Type R flies in the face of political correctness and propriety; it sticks the Vs up at convention and health and safety. It voices the frustration of stifled man and woman repressed by an overly officious and bureaucratic world. It’s a rebel with a cause and the cause is living life to the full with a glint in the eye and smile on the face. So now we all know what we are thinking and doesn’t it feel good to get it off our collective chests?
Honda Civic Type R GT
Engine: 2.0 petrol turbo
0-62mph: 5.8 secs
Top speed: 169mph
Combined MPG: 36.7
Transmission: six speed manual
CO2 g/km: 176