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The FK8 Honda Civic Type R is the world’s fastest FWD production car but why does it have to look like that?

The Honda Civic Type R is probably one of the most coveted vehicles from the land of the rising sun. It’s the Civic with the red badge, and for people who love the Japanese car culture, you know that red badge is what’s up. Yesterday, the company unveiled the latest iteration of this vehicle in Malaysia, the FK8 Honda Civic Type R.

And this car, for all intents and purposes, is a monster.

First, headline features. It’s powered by a 2.0L VTEC Turbo engine producing 310 PS (305 bhp) and 400 Nm of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox in classic Civic Type R fashion.

But power isn’t the only thing that allowed this hot hatch to blitz the Nurburgring in just 7 minutes and 43 seconds. It’s also got a set of special tires that are apparently really sticky, and a whole bunch of other — probably really effective — car tech that ultimately helped this vehicle reclaim its front-wheel-drive (FWD) king of the ring title. Yep, FK8 Civic Type R is the fastest FWD car to ever lap infamous German track that has become the de facto proving grown for any production car worth it’s weigh in performance and handling.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how this thing drives because the most hands on I got with this car was me literally putting my hands on it. Oh, I did get to sit in the driver’s seat and look like I was driving it really fast. Here’s photographic evidence:

You also get to see my patented 8 and 4 o’clock steering wheel hand position (I’m kidding, I don’t always drive like this), and constipated race face.

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I did at least get a nice walk around the car and the thing that surprised me the most was how spacious the interior was. Sure, a hot hatch’s philosophy is to be fast, exciting and practical, but when you see something with angry red accents, sharp bits sticking out in various places, plus that massive rear wing, the first thought that runs through your mind isn’t “Gee, I could fit gramps AND gran in the back seat!”.

But you totally can.

I think I’m a pretty OK height for a Malaysian and even with my further-back-than-necessary seat position, there was still plenty of room in the backseat. Oh and speaking of the seats, they’re really comfortable too. They’re covered in this soft material that feels kinda like alcantara and it’s awesome. Despite being very bucket-y, it wasn’t so much uncomfortable as it was snug — which is useful when you’re whipping this thing around a circuit. It’s also got a big boot, which really drives home the point that it’s quite practical.

However, that’s where the practicality ends and the brash boy racer genes take over. I mean, look at this thing. If I only had one word to describe it, it’d be gaudy. It’s like someone asked an 8-year-old to pick the extra-racey parts of this car off the shelf in a dollar store.

I could use more words to describe it but in Malaysia, there is really only one title for a car that looks like this: It’s very Ah Beng.

There’s just no running away from it. It’s a….looker and while I’m sure a lot of the extra bits on this vehicle are probably functional, it’s just not a design that I can get behind. That said, I could be alone in this (though I highly doubt it) and the rest of the car is reportedly really outstanding. Personally, the new Ford Focus RS is about as racer-y I’d go for a daily driver, but I know there are people out there who really dig this design and to those people, this is probably the car for you.

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That is, if you happen to have RM320,000 (excluding insurance) lying around somewhere. This is more than RM120,000 than the retail price of the previous Civic Type R that went on sale in Malaysia. Yeah, this is NOT an affordable car. It costs a LOT of money, but then again this is a Honda Civic Type R and to some people, it’s worth every Ringgit.

Of course, if you have RM300,000+ lying around and you want a car, you could also opt for something like the Mercedes-AMG A45 (around RM350,000) which is also a practical hot hatch like the Civic but packs a whopping 381 bhp under the hood instead.

The 2017 Subaru WRX STI (about RM315,000) is also a great option for performance plus practicality. But, if you want to dive head first down the performance side of things, you could also go all out and get a 2015 Lotus Elise 220 Cup (around RM346,000). Just remember that you’ll be leaving practicality at the door for the Elise.