Honda invited me to come and drive the new, stylish Civic Coupe this week, in San Diego, California. Unfortunately, driving impressions from that event are embargoed for another few weeks, so you’ll have to wait to read about how the car goes down the road.

But the Civic Coupe wasn’t the only piece of news that Honda brought to Cali for us. Far from it. Available for very short driving tests was a prototype version of a Civic sedan, powered by the new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, and managed by a six-speed manual transmission. (Hat tip to Michael Schlee of Autoguide for the picture of the car.)

For those of you not up on this 10th Generation Civic, that’s a combination we didn’t expect to come to life. Currently the sedan can only be equipped with a manual transmission if you opt for the most-basic version, and only with the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine. Every turbo trim comes with the CVT; an acceptable unit for most drivers but a real buzzkill for Honda enthusiasts looking to exploit the new car’s excellent handling profile.

Now, Honda didn’t give any detail about the prototype; not when the turbo/manual combo might be offered for sale, not if it’ll come with the coupe and/or the sedan, and not which trim levels it might appear on. But just the fact that it exists in the world is pretty good news for three-pedal enthusiasts. The 1.5T is a really fantastic engine; giving it a transmission worthy of your favorite driving roads really opens up Civic to another category of buyer, I think.

Expect to hear more about the Honda transmission excitement as plans get firmed up. We're told that the press days of the New York Auto Show will be the time and place to learn more. 

Gallery: Honda builds prototype Civic turbo w/ manual trans

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