YOU just have to take your hat off to Honda's engineers and designers.
The Civic Type R has been around for a long time in various guises but there is one thing you can be sure of - any new version will be even better than the last. It's just staggering.
The newest version features angular, aggressive styling, triumphant wheel arches, huge rear spoiler, and air vents so you just can't mistake it for anything else on the road.
However, Honda has expanded the appeal of the Civic Type R range with the introduction of two new variants, Limited Edition and Sport Line.
Built for ultimate on-track performance, the Limited Edition is the most extreme version of Civic Type R to date. All 20 units destined for the UK were sold so there's no real need to worry about it.
The second new addition is the Sport Line, designed to appeal to customers who want a stealthier look from their performance hatchback, but still desire the outstanding performance.
It features a low-deck rear spoiler instead of the standard high-level wing, 19-inch alloy wheels instead of 20-inch and a black interior.
That said, the Type R GT remains a car engineered in the pursuit of speed - the fastest-accelerating and quickest car in its class. It's grin-inducingly quick.
It's also a sheep in wolf's clothing - but only if you want it to be. At the flick of a finger, it can switch from a fire-breathing hot hatch to a comfy day-to-day family hatchback. Name something else that can do that?
The Type R's turbocharged high-revving 2.0-litre petrol engine delivers 316bhp. What's more, with 400Nm of torque available from 2,500rpm to 4,500rpm there's plenty of mid-range power too. It pulls magnificently even if you're already cruising in top gear.
A new rear multi-link suspension and adaptive dampers introduced a couple of years back allowed Honda to add a Comfort mode which smooths out lumps and bumps as effectively as many everyday hatchbacks.
It's obviously a little noisy on the motorway - 20-inch wheels don't help - but the real pleasure of the Type R is the way it behaves away from the maddening crowds of our motorways and A-roads in its default Sport mode.
It's a B-road thriller, its standard limited slip differential distributing power impressively to whichever wheel can cope with it best, meaning you can punch through corners with speed and stability.
Its low centre of gravity, wide track and tyres help deal with those higher cornering speeds - there's loads of grip and it just feels wonderfully poised.
Charging up and down the gears of its precise, slick and short-shifting six-speed manual transmission is an enduring joy too. There is no auto.
The track-focused and thoroughly bonkers +R mode is best left for the track unless you have access to a road with a surface like a billiard table.
The Type R's cabin also has plenty of space for four adults to travel in comfort.
The driver and passenger sit low in figure-hugging sports seats and there's plenty of adjustment for the driver's seat and steering wheel so no one should feel cramped behind the wheel.
A seven-inch colour display sits on top of the centre console. As well as being a touch-control device for the infotainment and climate control functions, it also integrates with a reversing camera, which handily helps mitigate for the poor rear view caused by the rear spoiler. It also provides full smartphone integration via both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
In a welcome move, in response to customer feedback, Honda revised the infotainment and climate controls by adding physical buttons and dials for easier use across the Civic range.
Boot space is a generous 414 litres, which makes the Type R the most practical and versatile of high-performance hatchbacks. Ease of use is ensured by a wide and low boot opening and 60:40 split folding rear seats.