IT took five years for Honda to bring the new Civic Type R to the market but when it finally arrived enthusiasts agreed it had been worth the wait.
The Type R has long been a favourite with fans of the hottest hatches and it enjoys a cult following in this country and around the world.
The latest model certainly meets the expectations of its demanding entourage as its staggering performance is also matched by aggressive looks.
It might be based on the sensible Civic hatchback but it looks more like a touring car racer that would be more at home on a circuit.
The Type R looks as if it means business viewed from any angle. The design was subject to a huge amount of analysis, testing and development at Honda's motorsports facility in Sakura, home of the firm's Formula One engine development unit and it leaves onlookers in no doubt that loads of power is on tap.
The first thing you notice is the massive wing, followed by the four burbling tail pipes, then your eyes take in the black alloys with red highlights, the very low nose and the widened and vented wheelarches as well as the Type R badging.
The cabin sticks with the sporting theme and features deep two-piece bucket seats, in red Alcantara with contrasting stitching and red touches for the dash, steering wheel and doors. You will also find an alloy shift knob, alloy pedals and Honda's Connect infotainment system.
The dashboard is much the same as the one found on the standard Civic apart from some special touches that arrive when you hit the R mode button.
This makes the suspension even harder and sharpens other responses - at the same time making the dash glow red and gives you performance meters with read-outs for cornering g-forces and 0-62mph sprint times, as well as a row of LED gearshift lights that flash up as you approach maximum revs.
This GT version, priced at £32,295 is very well equipped and gives you all the toys you could want includingkeyless go, cruise control, Bluetooth, a rear parking camera, stop/start and LED headlights, sat nav, parking sensors all round, dual-zone climate control and a host of extra safety systems.
As well as its fantastic chassis, the Type R is defined by its engine and under the bulging bonnet sits a new 2.0-litre turbocharged engine - a replacement for the previous naturally aspirated high revving power plant.
It rockets you to 62mph in just 5.7 seconds and goes on to an astonishing 167mph. Thankfully it has huge Brembo discs and callipers to stop it.
The claimed fuel figure is 38.7mpg but don't expect to get anywhere near that as you will constantly be tempted by your right foot.
The Type R is a supercar for hot hatch money and its Nurburgring record speaks volumes butIt is also surprisingly practical with a decent size boot and folding rear seats.
There are one or two drawbacks. It was clear on collecting the car that previous drivers had already clattered the alloys off kerbs, the nose is so low it is troubled by speed bumps, the harsh ride will not suit everyone and the too large bolsters on the front seats make it difficult to get in and out.
The huge rear spoiler means there is no room for a wiper and chances are you will pick up more points than a Eurovision song entry.