Honda takes wraps off fastest Civic Si yet

Henry Payne
The Detroit News

Los Angeles — Honda took the wraps off the Civic Si prototype, the quickest variant of its best-selling, tenth-generation compact car.

The Si previews what the production Si will look like in coupe and sedan form when it hits showrooms next year.

Baselined to the Audi A3, the all-new Civic sedan was launched last year and immediately won 2016 North American Car of the Year with its superior handling and sharp styling. The new Si will join a broad Civic lineup that includes the sedan, coupe and hatchback siblings.

Estimated to produce 220 to 230 horsepower, the Si won’t be the quickest Civic for long: Honda is expected to tease the radical, 300-horsepower Civic Type-R Prototype later this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

In addition to the Civic’s trademark bat-wing taillights and wrapped headlights, the Rallye Red Pearl Civic Si prototype showed off a full aero kit that includes front and rear splitters and rear spoiler. Dual center-mounted polygonal exhaust finishers and 19-inch forged aluminum alloy wheels are part of the package.

For the first time the Si will get a forced-induction engine, replacing the high-revving, 8,000 rpm 2.0-liter screamer of recent generations. The new turbocharged 1.5-liter, in-line 4-cylinder will be mated to a short-shifting 6-speed manual transmission.

Additional performance upgrades for the Si variants will include a new active damper system, active steering system, limited-slip differential and available high-performance tires.

“With the new Honda Civic Si, we’re injecting even more sporty goodness into our 10th-generation Civic lineup,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of Honda. “This will be, hands down, the fastest, best-handling Si we’ve ever offered to our customers.”

The Civic Si Prototype interior closely previews the production model and features Si-exclusive front sport seats with red stitching, including stitched Si logos. The red sport stitching carries through to the doors, steering wheel and leather shift boot with aluminum shift knob.

The Si promises more tire-smoking, boy-toy handling for another generation of “Fast and Furious” movies.