By Mike Torpey on 2019-09-07 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Honda Civic Type R
NEW blood, same spirit is the turn of phrase Honda uses to describe the latest iteration of its racecar for the road, the Civic Type R.
Mean, menacing and brutally swift, the Type R has been engineered from the ground up to deliver the most exhilarating driving experience in the hot hatch arena.
And that's saying something when there are rivals as accomplished as the Ford Focus RS out there.
But re-invention and re-evaluation are integral parts of the Honda mindset - and this is a car that's been built for the sheer thrill of driving.
The Type R is definitely a car with soul - in our test model's case red-blooded soul - and the hardware to communicate with its owner.
Ultimately, though, actions speak louder than words, and as an example, during its development a Type R lapped the famous Nurburgring Nordschleife racing circuit in 7 minutes 43.8 seconds.
That wasn't just the fastest time for a Civic Type R but the quickest ever recorded by a front-wheel drive car.
The latest version is powered by the most extreme Type R engine yet - a turbocharged 2.0-litre VTEC turbocharged petrol unit with an easy-shift six-speed manual transmission.
It's hardcore as 320ps of wallop would suggest, but without the rough edged, stripped out, bone-shaking characteristics of a competition vehicle.
The upshot is the ability to scorch from 0-62mph in a fleeting 5.8 seconds and on to a potential top speed of 169mph.
Though the official average fuel return is 36.7mpg it's not a realistic figure, especially if the +R setting - one of three selectable driving modes - for a more track-focused experience, is engaged.
In a straight line the Type R is both thunderous and supremely stable, offering heaps of torque, while round bends it grips like a limpet - in no small part due to Honda's Agile Handling Assist electronic stability system which has been specially tuned for the car.
In fact an almost completely flat underside helps airflow under the car and, along with a rear diffuser, increases downforce to help suck the car into the road.
Inside, the high backed black and red sports seats are both attractive and body-hugging, there's plenty of room for adults in the rear and the boot is spacious too.
Meanwhile the multi info display provides Type R specific read-outs like acceleration time, lap time and boost pressure.
And on the outside you get 20-inch black alloy wheels with Brembo brakes and red callipers, triple tailpipes, a sharply aggressive face, pronounced wheel-arches and a winged carbon fibre effect splitter.
Paying an extra £2,000 for GT trim brings in the likes of a more premium sound system with Garmin navigation, blind spot info, parking sensors, wireless charging and LED front foglights.
Honda Civic Type R GT
Mechanical: 320ps, 1,996cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 169mph
0-62mph: 5.8 seconds
Combined MPG: 35.7
Insurance Group: 33
C02 emissions: 176g/km
Bik rating: 37%
Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles
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