There’s always a conflict when you try to put four different forces through the one axle on a car.
Front wheel drives are compromised by dealing with braking, steering/cornering, suspension and power transmission all at the one time.
It’s always been a bridge too far for even the best front drive or “bum dragger’ as they’re referred to in some quarters.
That will change with the arrival of Honda’s brilliant new Civic Type R, a front drive like no other.
Honda unleashed its engineering department (or what’s left of them) to deliver this superlative five door hatch.
They whacked in a tricky helical differential in the transmission to prevent torque steer phenomenon which, in lesser vehicles, wrenches the front wheels to one side under full acceleration.
It can be really alarming to the point of being dangerous.
No such issue here.
The backroom boys decided to go the turbo route and came up with a pearl of a 2.0-litre powerplant that kicks out 228kW and 400Nm all readily accessible simply by planting the right foot.
The engine has a swag of clever tech too including direct fuel injection and variable cam timing called VTEC to optimise efficiency.
In six speed manual only, the rifle bolt change mechanism will please purists and everyone else shouldn’t be in a Type R.
Even better is the rev matching system that automatically blips the throttle when you downchange. It makes an expert out of mugs.
Huge Brembo brakes behind 20-inch forged alloys and sports suspension are part of the package along with three mode drive select though there are more ‘modes’ if you correctly manipulate the stability control button.
I settled for the middle Sport setting for general driving, R+ the rest of the time. Comfort mode is for pussies.
Plenty of safety kit is in the Type R including a raft of driver assist stiff like autonomous emergency braking and the like. It’s controlled by Honda’s camera based ‘Sensing’ system.
Plenty of luxury kit too like Recaro race seats, premium audio, dual zone climate control and a large infotainment touch screen with satnav.
Though it’s an acquired taste, you get to like the looks of the angular Type R even though it’s a tad over the top.
There’s a reason for all the wings and things – they’re vortex generators to keep the car tracking true.
On the road is where the Type R really shines in just about every dynamic area.
It has sharp steering, brutal acceleration across a wide engine speed range, eye poppin’ brakes and stability unheard of in a car like this…. ever.
You just want to drive it and drive it.
Only two reservations – the non existent exhaust note despite triple outlets and the steering on really fast corners under full acceleration. You need to be `on it’ or else.
➔ Stonking engine performance eats V8s
➔ Razor sharp dynamics
➔ Grab you styling
➔ Great sports seats, you’ll need them
➔ High level of driver assist technology
➔ Three drive modes
➔ Will seat five peeps
➔ Large boot
➔ Can get 8.8-litres/100km
➔ Unlimited km warranty
➔ Built in the UK
NOT SO MUCH
➔ Must have 98 fuel
➔ No exhaust note
➔ Arresting looks – literally
➔ Challenging to get off the line quickly
ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbo four cylinder petrol 228kW/400Nm,
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
0-100KMH: 5.0 maybe
ALTERNATIVES: Ford Focus RS $51,000, VW Golf R $53,000, Subaru WRX STi $51,000, Peugeot 308 GTi 270 $46,000,