Sound the forbidden fruit alarm! It’s the new Honda Civic Si, which once again us Brits (and anyone outside of North America) must look upon with longing eyes, knowing we can’t buy one. But rather than sulk, we should take a look at what we’re missing out on.
A slightly less powerful 1.5-litre inline-four engine, for starters. The turbocharged unit now develops 197bhp, a reduction of about 5bhp. Torque is identical at 192lb ft, although it arrives from 1800rpm, 300rpm sooner than it did before.
Compared to the Civic Touring, the Si also gets a freer-flowing exhaust system and a 26 per cent lighter single-mass flywheel. As before, power goes to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox (no CVT nonsense going on here) and a mechanical limited-slip differential. Speaking of which, you get an aluminium shift knob similar to the one found in the Type R (albeit with added leather) and a rev-matching system pinched from the same car.
The 11th-generation Civic saloon is a good starting point for a warmer version like this, with a stiffer shell and wider rear track. To sharper it up further for the Si, Honda has increased the spring rates by eight per cent at the front and 54 per cent at the rear, beefed up the anti-roll bars, switched out the dampers and borrowed some bushings from the Type R.
The brake disc diameter has grown by about an inch at either end, and the rotors sit under Si-specific 18-inch wheels wrapped in 235mm-wide all-season performance tyres. Summer tyres are on the options menu if preferred.
It’s available as a saloon only, as the 11th-gen Civic does without a coupe option this time. The four-door Si looks smart enough anyway, thanks to redesigned front and rear bumpers, a neat little boot spoiler and gloss black trim. The lovely Blazing Orange Pearl paintwork seen in these images is exclusive to the Si.
The interior has been spruced up with some sportier Si seats featuring integrated headrests, red inserts, contrast stitching and Si logos. You get the new nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system we’ve already seen in the bog-standard Civic, along with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity and a posh Bose Centerpoint 2 sound system.
It’ll be at North American Honda dealers by the end of the year. A price hasn’t been revealed just yet.