The new Honda Civic Type R will finally be unwrapped on Thursday 21 July, Honda has officially confirmed, putting an end to months of speculation.
The hugely anticipated hot hatchback has also been previewed in a new teaser image (below) which gives little away beyond confirming it will be marked out from the standard Civic by traditional red Type R badging, a bespoke honeycomb grille and a more aggressive air intake arrangement.
But futher details – most notably about what lies behind the grille – will only be made public at the car's public debut, the date for which has been confirmed 50 years (to the day) since the first-generation Honda Civic went on sale. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the Civic Type R.
Even before being revealed, the new Type R claimed a new lap record for a front-wheel-drive car at Japan's Suzuka circuit in April, rounding the 3.6km circuit in 2min 23.120sec - 0.873sec faster than previous record-holder, the Honda Civic Type R GT Limited Edition.
We still don’t know the new hot hatchback's performance figures, but the broken record suggests that it could gain a slight boost in power. The Civic Type R was earlier said to be "ready for Nürburgring testing", suggesting a front-wheel-drive record attempt could be on the cards at the Nordschleife, too.
The new Renault Mégane RS rival won't be radically different from its predecessor externally. The overall body shape, with its low, wide stance, saloon-style bootlid and big rear wing is familiar, while distinctive triple-exit exhaust pipes and red brake calipers provide another nod to its performance potential.
The spoiler features a new raised mounting, while the smaller lip spoiler on the bootlid no longer appears to dissect the rear window. Further visible changes include a lower shoulder line, a lower bonnet line and lower headlights, all features derived from the freshly launched eighth-generation Civic hatchback.
The cabin design is expected to largely follow suit, too, with a new free-standing central touchscreen mounted atop a minimalist dashboard - albeit marked out with the use of Alcantara and red styling cues.
Honda has made good on a promise to electrify its European line-up by 2022, but notably that goal applies to only the brand's "mainstream" products. The Civic Type R is an enthusiast-oriented proposition that accounts for only a small percentage of European sales.
So it remains a strong possibility that the Civic Type R will forge ahead with an upgraded and enhanced version of the current car's 2.0-litre turbo four, which sends 316bhp to the front axle for a 0-62mph time of 5.8secs and a top speed of up to 169mph. Honda has gone only so far as to reveal that it will be "the most powerful Civic ever", leaving official figures for next week's reveal.