Honda announce new Civic Type R

Details of one of the most anticipated cars of the last few years have finally been released by Honda.

The new Civic Type R is one of the first so-called "superhatches", which offers high levels of comfort without compromising on performance or handling.

On sale from March 2007, the new Type R will retain the awesome naturally-aspirated, high-revving 2.0-litre DOHC i-VTEC engine, but it’s had plenty of tweakery - and that means improved responsiveness.

It’s also much torquier with a much wider power band - 5200rpm all the way up to 8000rpm - which means you get more power on tap more of the time. You even get a little indicator on the dash that tells you that you’re in the "power band".

All in, bhp is up to around 205, reached at the 8000rpm level. Superb aerodynamics and low drag factor also means that you get to wring as much out of those rampaging horses as possible. Figures are expected to be virtually identical to the 6.6 second 0-62mph time and top whack of 146mph in the old Type R car - even though this one weighs considerably more.

Uprated suspension, fat 225 tyres, lowered ride height, quicker gear ratios and the moving of the fuel tank so it sits under the cabin all aid balance and handling, which is already superb in standard five-door Civic thanks to a very stiff chassis.

Looks are suitably mean, too. A deep front spoiler incorporates a huge air intake and the body-coloured tailgate spoiler follows the lines of the rear quarter windows and provides added down-force. You also get a whole mess of R logos dotted around various parts of the body - after all, what’s the point in having one if you don’t show it off, eh?

The inside looks great, too - from the bucket seats to the red stitching, fabric seat cushions and illuminated dials. An all-the-trimmings GT version has cruise control, dual zone air-con, front foggies, automatic lights and wipers and curtain SRS bags. A voice-activated, state-of-the-art navigation system will be an option.

Pricing is yet to be confirmed.