Honda claims the Civic Type R was the most popular car on display at the Paris Motor Show earlier this year, and we’re inclined to believe them based on how much hype surrounds the new hot hatch. Now the car is making its North American debut at SEMA, reinforcing Honda’s earlier promises that the newest Type R is, finally, coming to the U.S.
Of course, Honda still calls this car a prototype, even though it’s clearly not too different from the production Civic Type R that will launch in 2017. I doubt the 20-inch wheels will be standard, for instance, or that the weird red central exhaust tip will still be there, but otherwise this car appears extremely close to production – it even has parking sensors, which you wouldn’t bother sticking on a pure concept. Sadly, we still haven’t seen the inside of this hatch; tinted windows and locked doors defeated our search.
What Honda will say so far is that this car will have 245 section-width tires, LED headlights, vortex generators on the roof that work on concert with the big wing to improve downforce, Brembo brakes squeezing cross-drilled rotors, and a functional air intake on the hood. An aggressive carbon-fiber body kit, complemented mesh grille inserts and a subtle red accent line, help this Honda Civic set itself apart visually from the regular hatchback. It’ll be built at Honda’s plant in Swindon, U.K.
Underhood the production Civic Type R, we’re expecting to see a hotted-up 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine, probably sending about 300 horsepower (223 kilowatts) through a manual transmission to the front wheels.
Stay tuned over the coming months as we hope to learn even more about the Civic Type R – and hopefully see a production model.
Photos: Nathan Leach-Proffer & Dave Pankew / Motor1.com