Hot hatches are gaining popularity worldwide and with the Focus RS taking most of the recent limelight, Honda is preparing to steal the show with their new Civic Type R. A camouflaged prototype has been spotted testing at the Nordschleife again and you can hear the exhaust system pop on the overruns.
These popping sounds aren’t usually triggered by test car drivers as it usually occurs when unburnt fuel combusts in the hot exhaust system. To hear it so often would suggest that Honda has modified the Type-R gearbox.
This is highly unlikely but, Honda could have added an automatic transmission to the new Type R. An engine map that is similar to that of the Mini JCW, Golf R and A45 AMG would create that exhaust pop when you’re changing gears and if they do decide to come out with an automatic Type R, we could be seeing Honda’s new dual clutch transmission.
Another possible cause would be a Type R with a manual gearbox that comes with rev-matching function. This is a more likely scenario and it’s already being used in both the Nissan 370Z and BMW's M2. The rev-matching function would get rid of the rev hang, something that Honda enthusiasts have dreaming of for years.
Of course, both possibilities are just speculations and maybe the driver really was consciously popping the Type R prototype. We’ll just have to wait for Honda to reveal the 2018 Civic Type R specs or a longer spy video of the hot hatch in action.