2023 Honda Civic Type R Revealed as Most Powerful Type R Ever

You, my friend, are finally looking at the new 2023 Honda Civic Type R in all of its official, uncamouflaged glory. As suspected, the sleek 11th-generation Civic makes a great base for a righteous hot hatch, and while some may miss the wild looks of the last Type R, there’s no doubt this one is setting itself up to be taken more seriously by buyers and the industry alike.

While we wish we could regale you with all the important data points, in the interest of taking the bandaid off early, Honda has not released full specs yet. We know. The Civic Type R that is thoroughly improved over the last generation, however vaguely. Instead of giving us a concrete horsepower number, for example, the company says this will be the “most powerful Type R ever,” meaning its 2.0-liter turbo-four will indeed get a power bump over the last CTR but the extent of that bump remains a mystery. Honda also laid out a very carefully worded boast about this car being the “fastest, most powerful Honda-branded vehicle ever offered in the U.S.”

So, optimistically, the new Civic Type R could come guns blazing with 100 extra ponies over its predecessor. Or Honda could also be referencing an increase of one single extra hp here.

2023 Honda Civic Type R

(See what not being upfront does, Honda? We either build it up in our minds and are eventually disappointed, or we assume the worst. There is no in-between.)

In any case, Honda says the engine will not only be more powerful but also more responsive than before. A six-speed manual with auto rev-matching remains Honda’s transmission of choice while front-wheel drive was already confirmed when this car set the FWD lap record at Suzuka back in April.

Aesthetically, this generation of Type R may be more subdued than the outgoing one but there’s still a good amount of active aero and red bits to take in. Based on the new, longer, lower, and wider-bodied Civic Hatchback, this new CTR gets “enhanced suspension and steering performance.”

Honda

Wider Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires replace the old Type R’s Continental SportContact 6s (the more hardcore Limited Editions used Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s) and while Honda did not explicitly provide specs, having a cheeky zoom-in on the sidewalls reveal 265-section rubber and wheels measuring 19 inches. For comparison, the outgoing Type R used 245-section tires and 20-inch wheels. Smaller wheels may seem like a downgrade but as somebody who once listed pothole-banging, rubber band-thin tires as one of the only weaknesses of the old Civic Type R, this change is actually a welcome one.

These new smaller-but-wider wheels sit underneath some delightfully swollen fenders. New rear doors had to be made to flow into this car’s wider hips.

Air vents behind the front fenders and a GT3-style rear wing are both present and physically smaller than their counterparts on the last car while triple-exit exhaust tips also make a return. Further upping the Type R’s visual maturity game is the removal of all that red pinstriping and a lot fewer fake vents this time around. At launch, this car will be available in five colors: the iconic Championship White you see in the pictures, Rallye Red, Racing Blue Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl and Sonic Grey Pearl.

Inside, Honda has fitted a pair of very big, very red, and very plush-looking front seats. Red carpets, red trim, and a numbered “Type R” plaque on the dash tie the place together as a bona fide Fast Honda.

Quick sidebar about that plaque: Last week, CarBuzz reported on a rumor that this generation of Civic Type R would be produced in ultra limited numbers. Like only-three-production-years, 546-cars-total-for-Canada limited. However, the serialized dash plate still has five digits, allowing for at least the possibility that total build counts will end up that high. Of course, this little tidbit does not confirm anything either way and when I confronted Honda about it, a spokesperson refused to comment. But nonetheless, it’s something to think about and keep in mind whenever you hear about this car’s alleged production numbers.

Other interior features of note include a digital gauge cluster that now goes into a race car-esque, horizontal-tach setting in +R mode and a screen in the infotainment labeled “Auto Score” which appears to take g forces into account and give you a numbered score, sort of like how the current BMW M3 and M4 will rate your drifts out of five stars. More things we can glean from the provided pictures include the same aluminum tear-drop shift knob out of the old car, Bose audio, parking sensors, and—as another fix to one of my only complaints with the old R—a custom Individual drive mode.

The 2023 Honda Civic Type R is set to launch in the fall and more details and specs will be revealed closer to then.

Got a tip or question for the author about the new Civic Type R? You can reach him here: chris.tsui@thedrive.com

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