Honda Civic Type-R | Frankfurt Motor Show 2013

Honda's current range is so bereft of spirit and excitement, the company has to talk about a hot hatch still two years away to get any attention.

Okay, that's a little harsh, but no less valid. The company that gave the world the Integra Type R, the NSX, the CR-X, heck even Prelude had its moments, has very little about which we enthusiasts can enthuse.

The company that forged a delicious reputation on high-revving small capacity engines and lightweight sports car - before lightweight was truly fashionable - has struggled more than most to survive the GFC and acclimatise to the modern automotive landscape.

That's not likely to change, at least not overnight. At the Frankfurt show Honda again trotted out the NSX, which has been seen so many times it'll need a mid-life facelift before it finally reaches production.

This one, however, is not a concept. It's a prototype, and therefore closer to the production version both in looks and time. The mid-engine supercar looks very tasty, and we're confident it'll drive as good as it looks.

Of more interest was news of the next-generation Honda Civic Type-R. Honda has set an ambitious target for the front-drive hot hatch: it must be the fastest front-drive production car around the 21.8km Nurburgring.

To that end, Honda has endowed the Type R with a 2.0-litre turbocharged, direct injection four-cylinder engine with "in excess of 206kW".

That's a lot of grunt for a north-paw scorcher to handle, so it's a fair bet the Type R will have some kind of tricky diff up front to help the hardest working front tyres in the trade turn and not just burn.

Honda says a prototype "came very close" in recent testing to breaking the current record of 8min 08 seconds, held by the Renault Megane RS. Honda's got plenty of time to improve the Type R's time; it's not due in dealerships for two years.

Fingers crossed the Type R gets its passport stamped for a tour Downunder.

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