A NUMBER of high performance cars today are discreet, understated vehicles - but the Honda Civic Type R isn't one of them.
With a giant wing above the rear window spoiler, lowered suspension, extensive body kit huge bright red brake callipers and low profile tyres it's clear this is a car built with one thing in mind - speed.
Walk around the back of the car and three cannon-like exhaust pipes all add to the image.
If you have any doubts a glance through the window will soon dispel them when you see the bright red racing seats with black side bolsters and red seatbelts, not to mention the short stubby gearshift.
This is a race car built for the road - and it takes no prisoners.
Under the bonnet there's just a 2.0-litre engine. But don't let that fool you.
This 2.0-litre engine develops 320 bhp and is capable of rocketing the Type R from rest to 62 miles per hour in just 5.8 and on to a top speed of 169 mph.
But those figures only tell part of the story. The real beauty of the Type R for me is its terrific mid range performance. It's one of those cars that delivers blistering acceleration in every gear and just never seems to run out of steam.
Put your foot down hard on the accelerator and there's so much power that you can get an element of torque steer even in third gear.
It's superbly flexible on the motorway with the merest nudge of the accelerator delivering instant response no matter what speed you are already doing.
And with huge Brembo callipers and discs - drilled and ventilated on the front wheels - this car is just as good at stopping as it is accelerating.
But the nice thing about the Type R is it's also s very civilised car to drive in towns and cities.
Okay the suspension is on the firm side but, despite its power potential, it never feels as if it wants to run away with you like some high powered cars do.
You can easily change into sixth gear at less than 40 miles per hour and not have to drop a gear when the traffic ahead starts to pick up speed.
The slick, six speed manual box is a delight to use and you can change the car's driving mode from comfort to sport or even +R for when you really have a thrill seeking day.
A revised four-wheel adaptive damper system ensures a superb ride quality not to mention brilliant road holding and agility which inspires high speed confidence.
On a practical level the boot will cope with a generous 414 litres of luggage and the interior is surprisingly spacious for passengers with pretty good rear leg room.
And the latest Type R is packed with safety features including a lane keeping assist system, forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking system and adaptive cruise control.
It's 25 years since the first Type R hit the road - not to mention the track - and the rest, as they say, is history.