The Honda Integra? An unlikely hero to be sure. But its job description was clear enough. All it had to do was be strong, light, taut, responsive, grippy and controlled enough not to impede the driver’s enjoyment of that four-pot Type-R. And what an engine: 187bhp at 8000rpm, 8400rpm red line, scalp-prickling noise.
The requirement, then, was for a front-drive chassis of exceptional talent. It had one. The Integra R was one of those rare cars that didn’t have to sacrifice control for comfort. Its firmness kept its sticky Bridgestone Potenzas planted to the tarmac but didn’t allow sharp inputs to upset the body’s composure. The Civic Type-R that followed kept the spirit of the Integra alive but not the brilliance of its chassis. Which is why the Integra is the true cult classic.
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Back in issue 095, we brought together the 15 greatest front-drive cars of recent times. The Integra was the overall winner. As Meaden concluded, ‘It’s a car as sweet and all-consuming as any I’ve experienced at any price, and as pure and focused in its own way as any Porsche RS. Forget the accolade of greatest front-wheel-drive car. The Integra Type-R ranks as one of the truly great drivers’ cars of any kind.’
|Engine||In-line 4cyl, 1797cc|
|Max power||187bhp @ 8000rpm|
|Max torque||131lb ft @ 7300rpm|
|Power to weight||173bhp/ton|
|Price new||£19,500 (1996)|