The 2023 Civic Type R won’t pack much more power than before


Finally! Honda is feeling generous and opened the taps to give us some tangible specs for the 2023 Civic Type R, which is, as expected, the most powerful Honda production vehicle ever offered in the U.S.

On sale this fall, the all-new Type R, based on the 11th-generation Civic hatchback, is much easier on the eyes than the outgoing model. Horsepower is 315, torque is 310—an improvement of nine horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque. Earlier this week, a leaked Japanese brochure on the Type R reproduced on a fan website pegged horsepower at 326; if that’s true the U.S. will make do with a less-powerful version.

2023 Honda Civic Type R engine closeup

Oh, well. “Under its new vented aluminum hood,” Honda says, is a studlier version of the K20C1 four-cylinder engine. Horsepower, torque and acceleration response are improved by a redesigned turbocharger, increased air intake flow rate, and a new, more efficient exhaust system that features a straight-through design and an active exhaust valve. The size, shape and number of the turbocharger’s turbine wheel blades have been optimized along with the flow path of the intake charge, enabling the turbocharger to generate pressure more efficiently and in a wider range.

2023 Honda Civic Type R front end black matte

A larger grille opening, a bigger radiator and a new large-diameter fan improve engine cooling. “To further strengthen the driver’s connection with the car,” the active exhaust valve opens at higher rpm to heighten and enhance the sound of the engine, which was not that invigorating in the outgoing model.

The Type R’s six-speed manual transmission—no automatic is mentioned or expected—is matched to a lighter flywheel and a revised rev-match system that “ensures perfectly paired rev-matching when shifting down through the gears.” The gearbox gets a high-rigidity lever and optimized shift gate pattern. There’s also a standard helical-type limited-slip differential.

“Type R is very important for Honda as the pinnacle of our factory performance and an irreplaceable brand that enables enthusiasts to experience Honda’s racing spirit, and seek the ultimate in speed and driving pleasure,” said Hideki Kakinuma, global Civic Type R development leader. “The all-new Civic Type R will continue that legacy, leveraging Honda’s racetrack-proven engineering to deliver extreme performance and passion, both on the road and on the racetrack.” The car recently set a new production-car front-wheel-drive track record at Suzuka, home of the Japanese Grand Prix.

With the Civic Hatchback as a starting point, the Type R’s performance is increased by a significantly more rigid body structure. The wheelbase has been extended 1.4 inches; now measuring 107.7 inches, it’s the longest wheelbase in its class.

Its front and rear tracks are also significantly wider by one inch in the front and three-quarters of an inch in the rear. There’s a retuned dual-axis strut front (brilliantly designed to mitigate torque steer) and multilink rear suspension. The Type R’s two-piece front brake rotors reduce unsprung weight. Brake cooling is also improved, and a retuned brake booster enhances feel and controllability.

Drivers can switch between four pre-set performance settings, selecting different modes for the engine, steering, suspension and engine sound. In addition to Comfort, Sport and R+ Mode, a new “Individual Mode” enables customization.

Outside, the Type R was designed in Japan with input from aerodynamic development members of the HRD Sakura Super GT team. Its exterior is also more aerodynamically efficient, generating additional downforce. The body is eight-tenths of an inch longer, half an inch lower and six-tenths of an inch wider. Wheels are 19-inch matte black alloys with wider Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. The new wheels use a special “reverse rim” design that supposedly improves the stability of the tire contact patch under load.

All body panels ahead of the A-pillars are new and unique to the Type R, including a new more aggressive front bumper design. Wider rear doors are exclusive to Type R and a reshaped rear bumper makes room for the signature triple round-exhaust outlets. There’s a redesigned rear spoiler with aluminum stanchions and a new rear diffuser. The Type R will be offered in five colors: The traditional Championship White, Rallye Red, Boost Blue, Crystal Black Pearl, and Sonic Grey Pearl.

Inside, the CTR’s iconic red seats, carpet, and trim return alongside a redesigned aluminum shift knob and a serialized Type R plate on the dash. Front seats are lightweight with firm bolsters and “suede-effect” upholstery.

A new meter design is exclusive to Type R’s +R mode and allows the driver to obtain necessary information instantly, with the engine rpm and gear position placed at the top. An illuminated rev indicator is located above the gauge cluster. There’s a new nine-inch HD touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A Bose Centerpoint premium sound system is standard.

2023 Honda Civic Type R interior driving action readings

Exclusive to Type R, an enhanced version of the Honda LogR Performance Datalogger combines the Type R’s onboard computer and sensors with a new built-in vehicle app. Honda LogR no longer requires a smartphone app, so drivers can use the on-board system or connect to their smartphone for added capability and data sharing. Key features include a stopwatch to record lap times, a tire friction circle in 3D motion that displays the maximum tire force the vehicle can achieve, and a scoring function that helps drivers improve their skills on the track. Users can share their lap times and data with other Type R owners.

The new Civic Type R is built at the Yorii Plant in Japan, and the Type R’s K20C1 engine continues to be built at Honda’s Anna Engine Plant in Sidney, Ohio.

Honda gives us the obligatory, “Pricing and additional details on the 2023 Honda Civic Type R will be provided closer to launch this fall,” but we know the last-gen Type R started at about $40,000, and a limited-edition model cost just over $45,000. We’re pretty sure the new Type R will fall into that range, but best of luck getting one of the first models for list price.

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