The Honda Civic Si might be the closest thing Honda has to a sport compact car in our market, but we've come across some spy shots that would suggest the sharper looking (and driving) Honda Civic Type R is headed back to European dealers.
The spy shots in question show what appears to be the current Euro-spec Honda Civic driving around with a giant rear spoiler placed atop its hatch. Considering the current Civic has a small spoiler--the molding between the top and bottom rear windows, which also houses the center high mount stop light--a bigger wing could suggest there's more firepower under the hood, a better suspension at all four corners…or both.
At current, the most powerful engine in the Euro-spec Honda Civic is a 2.2-liter i-DTEC turbo-diesel I-4 that makes 150 horsepower and 256 pound-feet of torque. Not bad, but demand for a hotter hatchback could mean that Honda willwhip up something more powerful.
We're not sure exactly what engine that will be: while we'd appreciate the return of the K20, a 2.0-liter DOHC I-4 with VTEC (which made 198 horsepower in stock form and either 240 or 256 in Mugen-tuned guise) that powered the previous Civic Type R, it's been reported that the naturally aspirated motor won't conform with European emissions regulations and therefore is out of the question. Still, new reports from Autocar suggest that the next Type R will again use a high-revving, naturally-aspirated I-4, so don't expect Honda to go the downsized, turbocharged route any time soon.
As for the looks, it's the Honda Civic we've come to covet from across the Atlantic: from the taillights that look slightly melted to the strips of LED running lights (a la Porsche 911 or Mercedes-Benz C-Class), to the angled, vaguely rocketship-esque design, the car is still the redheaded stepchild to the conservatively penned Honda Civic we buy in the U.S. If the finished product also bests the U.S.-spec Civic Si coupe/sedan's 201 horsepower, we'll covet it even more.
Which begs the question: what should Honda do for its European customers? And considering the U.S. Civic's well-publicized shortfalls have forced Honda to push a mid-cycle refresh up in the timetable, is it finally the time for Honda to pull the trigger on sending the red-hot Civic Type R to our shores? Let us know in the comments below.