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2017 Honda Civic Type-R - It's About Time

Waiting was the hardest part, but now it's finally over. Here are the numbers; 306* horsepower @ 6,500 rpm, 295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,500 rpm, and a pokey 2.0-liter direct injected turbocharged VTEC 4-cylinder sending its juice to a 6-speed manual transmission. All for an MSRP $33,900. As a cherry on top - U.S. citizens don't have to wait long. Honda says the 5th generation Civic Type-R is slated to go on sale in late spring of 2017.

Actually, we did have a long wait. 20 years in fact. Since 1997 car enthusiasts all over the States have had to watch European and Japanese petrolheads putt around in one of Honda's best hot hatches. It just wasn't fair. Then, in 2015 the pain of observation grew deeper as we saw the 4th version of the Civic Type-R lap the Nürburgring in 7:50 making it the fastest front wheel drive production car in the world (Until the Volkswagen GTI Clubsport took the title).

So it stands to reason that the excitement for the latest Civic Type-R is justified. Ever since Honda stopped selling the S2000, Prelude, or Integra the only way to buy a sports car from them is to go all the way up to the $160,000 NSX.

But that's enough about the past. Let's look at what makes the new Type-R so exciting.

For starters, there's the drivetrain. In the front, Honda uses strut suspension with bespoke springs, dampers, and bushings exclusive to the Type-R. This suspension utilizes what Honda calls a Dual-Axis setup that takes advantage of an aluminum lower arm and steering knuckle for reduced torque steer. In the back, Honda ditched the torsion beam rear suspension for a more advanced multi-link geometry. All four wheels have adaptive dampers making it one of the cheapest cars to have such a sporty feature.

Keeping the Civic tight on the corners should be a cinch as the Type-R is controlled by a dual pinion variable ratio electric steering rack. Grip is provided by 245/30 R20 Continental ContiSportContact 6 summer tires wrapped around aluminum alloy wheels. A helical (Torsen) limited slip differential runs between them. If you peek through the spokes you'll see Honda's choice of Brembo four piston calipers over 350mm vented discs in the front while a floating caliper 305mm solid rotor sits in the rear.

One of Honda's greatest achievements with the Type-R is its chassis. According to Honda, the 5th gen is 38% stronger in torsional rigidity and 45% stiffer in bending rigidity. It's also 35 lbs (16 kg) lighter than the previous Type-R as it uses ultra high strength steel in its body along with an aluminum hood for weight reduction.

Three driving modes are at your disposal in the Type-R - Comfort, Sport, and +R with Sport set as the default. Each mode changes the throttle response, steering, rev-matching, throttle blipping, stability assist, and dampers to match your needs.

Inside the very-red-and-black cabin Honda has so graciously decided to offer the Type-R only in the highest Civic touring trim. This means you get a 7-inch infotainment and navigation touchscreen, Apple Carplay, Android Auto, 12-speaker 540 watt sound system, and a native Pandora app. The Type-R also comes with bucket seats, aluminum pedals, and an aluminum shift knob.

All Honda Civic Type-R will be assembled at the global Honda Civic factory in Swindon, U.K. Type-R engines will be built in Anna, Ohio, U.S.

*Note: 306 Horsepower as stated by the U.S. press release. Global press releases quote 320 PS (315.6 hp). It could be a typo but it could also be an emissions issue. In any case, I will change it when more information is out.