Apart from being the fastest front-wheel-drive car on the Nurburgring, and available in the U.S. for the first time ever, the new Honda Civic Type R comes exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission. While it may seem like an obvious nod to enthusiasts everywhere, there was another big reason Honda opted for the do-it-yourself shifter.

In an interview with Australian publication Car Advice, Assistant Large Project Leader for the Civic powertrain, Yuji Matsumochi, said that the decision for a standard manual gearbox with no optional automatic came down to weight. The current weight distribution for the Civic sits at 62.5 percent at the front axle, and 37.5 percent at the rear, so the heavier dual-clutch would only make it heavier.

"The Type R needs a lightweight powertrain because it is front-wheel-drive, and needs lightweight powertrain systems," said Matsumochi in the interview. "So, the engine is a little bit heavy, so the transmission side needs to be more lightweight."

2017 Honda Civic Type R Euro Spec

Currently, the Civic Type R produces 306 horsepower (228 kilowatts) via a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. All that power is channeled through a six-speed manual, or course, and sent to the rear wheels after going through a limited-slip differential. But Matsumochi confirms, it wasn’t all about weight.

"Then we decided just on the six-speed manual – and the gearbox is very fun to drive. Easy to drive, however sometimes it’s difficult to control shift timing for sporty performance, so then we applied the rev-match system," he said.

But don't be dissuaded by the lone manual gearbox, rumors suggest a range of Civic Type R variants could join the lineup, including a softer grand touring version, and possibly even an all-wheel-drive option to rival the Focus RS and Subaru WRX STI. For now, buyers will have to make do with the standard model... not that it's any less fun.

Source: Car Advice

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Gallery: 2017 Honda Civic Type R

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