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Honda Civic Type R spotted testing in London’s Regent Street

Honda has a lot riding on its new Civic Type R, so you can be sure the company is putting it through its paces in some pretty extreme locales. Unusually, though, it’s also testing its flagship hatch in less demanding environments, not least London’s Regent Street.

We happened upon a pair of Honda Civic Type Rs whilst en route to Recombu Towers, slowly trudging their way through rush hour traffic. The pair were obviously in full disguise so as not to give away to much to prying eyes, but they were recognisable by their distinctive Civic silhouette and enormous whale tail spoiler.

Why was Honda driving its new monster hatch through London traffic? Only those inside the company know for sure, but a slow trudge through a sprawling metropolis could offer valuable insight. Honda’s engineers will know in minute details what it’s like on the limit (we have a fair idea after we took it for a spin on the company’s Tochigi test track) but it may be seeking assurances the engine doesn’t melt when idling in traffic for long periods, or that its sports suspension doesn’t destroy the spines of those that drive over potholes.

Aesthetically, the prototypes we spotted appears to be slightly different to the concept model. The rear spoiler, in particular, seems to lack the integrated “bull’s horn” brake lights, while there don’t appear to be any vents on the rear bumper at the bottom of the wheel arch curve.

We know for sure that the Civic Type R will be powered by a direct-injected, turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with VTEC technology, kicking out anywhere between 276 and 320hp through the front wheels. Its 0-62mph acceleration time is as yet unconfirmed, but it’ll do an incredible 167mph flat out, making it one of the fastest front-wheel-drive cars on the planet.

Honda will be showing off the final production version of the Civic Type R at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. We’ll be on hand to see it for ourselves and, of course, to bring you official pictures and videos of it in the flesh metal.

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