New Honda Civic Type R vs BMW M140i vs Ford Focus RS

Can the new Honda Civic Type R balance speed with everyday comfort better than its hot hatch rivals?...

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What Car? team
16 August 2016

Our verdict

All hail the new Civic Type R. It’s a huge step forward over its predecessor and deservedly becomes the new king of the upper hot hatch echelon. Perhaps most surprising is that, despite a big power deficit compared with its rivals here, the Civic will show both a clear pair of treads along a twisting country road. It’s a wonderfully well-engineered machine that will put a huge beam on your face when you want it to and yet prove remarkably easy to live with at other times.

The Focus RS lost out to the M140i’s forerunner, the M135i, only last year – so what has changed? Well, while the Focus is now available with some tempting finance deals and is predicted to hold its value almost as well as a Banksy, the M140i is expected to depreciate quickly and finance deals aren’t so competitive right now. Given that the Focus is the more capable and exciting hot hatch, it just sneaks the runner-up spot.

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1st – Honda Civic Type R

New Honda Civic Type R vs BMW M140i vs Ford Focus RS

For Staggering cornering ability; brilliant gearshift; superb driving position; loads of standard kit; easily the most practical

Against Woeful infotainment system; most expensive to buy and own

Must-have options None

Rated 5 out of 5

2nd – Ford Focus RS

New Honda Civic Type R vs BMW M140i vs Ford Focus RS

For Capable yet playful handling; all-weather traction; cheapest to own; loudest engine

Against Wearingly firm ride; cheap-feeling interior; so-so practicality

Must-have options Luxury Pack (£1000), Active City Stop (£200)

Rated 5 out of 5

3rd – BMW M140i

New Honda Civic Type R vs BMW M140i vs Ford Focus RS

For Stonking engine; real-world fuel economy; great infotainment

Against Lowest handling limits; stingily equipped

Must-have options Adaptive dampers (£515); driving assistant (£390), adjustable lumbar support (£195)

Rated 4 out of 5

Specifications: BMW M140i 3dr auto

Engine size 3.0-litre petrol

List price £34,450

Target Price £31,207

Power 335bhp @ 5500rpm

Torque 369Ib ft @ 1520rpm

0-60mph 4.5sec

Top speed 155mph

Gov't fuel economy 39.8mpg

CO2 emissions 163g/km

Specifications: Ford Focus RS 2.3T Ecoboost 350PS

Engine size 2.3-litre petrol

List price £32,265

Target Price £32,265

Power 345bhp @ 6000rpm

Torque 347Ib ft @ 2000-4500rpm

0-60mph 4.8sec

Top speed 166mph

Gov't fuel economy 36.7mpg

True MPG 31.2mpg

CO2 emissions 175g/km

Specifications: Honda Civic Type R 2.0 VTEC Turbo GT

Engine size 2.0-litre petrol

List price £32,995

Target Price £32,995

Power 316bhp @ 6500rpm

Torque 295Ib ft @ 2500-4500rpm

0-60mph 5.5sec

Top speed 169mph

Gov't fuel economy 36.7mpg

True MPG 35.1mpg

CO2 emissions 176g/km

Read more: The best hot hatches >