Should Honda make an all-wheel drive Civic Type R? Rumours flow
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At least, that's what some people would label the idea of the Honda Civic Type R going to an all-wheel drive format.
The humble red-badged pint-sized performance Honda line has always been associated with front-wheel drive. And while this hasn't necessarily been a talking point for past Civic Type Rs, it's starting to become one as, one by one, all of its main rivals gravitate to all-wheel drive.
A recent Automotive News interview has further fanned that flame, with the Civic's chief engineer Hideki Matsumoto confirming that more Civic Type R models are on their way in support of the incoming new model (the first of which landed in NZ just recently).
“We’re hoping that by gradually putting out more [variants] that we’ll be able to maintain a more stable sales volume,” Matsumoto said, through an interpreter.
Reports have said that the lead priority for Honda is to produce a somehow even-more-bonkers Type R with increased power, as well as a more, um, sensible version that Matsumoto said will focus “more on the grand touring aspect”.
To date the all-wheel drive tag is purely speculation, although it does make sense. Having seen the hot hatch in person, it's very hard to see how else they could extract more pace from a car that's already chiseled on every surface to achieve performance, and already has enough power to school a host of more fancied cars around the Nürburgring.
So, should they do it?
Well, they've done it before. Both the Japanese and European Type Rs from two generations ago (that's the FD2 and the FN2) later rolled out with their own respective 'full milk' Mugen versions — given the 'RR' moniker. They're now rather sought after, with a couple of FD2 RRs lurking around Kiwi streets.
And also, spreading out the love with more models is a sound recipe for profit — even if it's at the expense of the Type R's exclusivity. It really comes down to whether Honda are willing to let go of the front-wheel drive format that's seen the Civic Type R become such a hallowed car among its die-hard fans.
I can only imagine the amount of times Porsche have been tempted to move the engine of the 911 from the back to the front...