While the current Acura NSX is a bit of a benchwarmer in the hierarchy of high-performance sports cars, Honda may apply the NSX’s hybrid technology to push the fan-favourite next-generation Honda Civic Type R to the edge of 400 horsepower.
Japanese website Best Car, via The Drive, claims the next-generation Honda Civic Type R will debut in 2022 after the regular next-gen Honda Civic debuts next year. The report also claims it will feature the current Civic Type R’s same 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, but linked to a new powertrain inspired by Honda’s premium brand, the Acura NSX’s SH-AWD hybrid layout.
The report claims each rear wheel will get an electric motor as part of the car’s torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive layout, with the gas engine powering the front axle. This would be inverse the NSX’s setup, which has its electric motors upfront due to its mid-mounted engine commanding over the rear axle.
If the report is true, the additional electric batteries and motors will juice up today’s Type R 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine — one of the greatest engines of the last decade — which currently makes 306 horsepower and 134 kg-feet of torque up to a claimed total of 395 horsepower.
Since it’s pretty obvious this will be the type of hybrid that leans heavily on performance intentions, I doubt we should expect a large battery, and with that any “electric-only” range from a hybrid Type R at all. May they make an EV-only “pit-lane” or “quiet start” mode, if we’re lucky.
Also, with performance in mind, mounting the electric motors in the rear is an interesting choice. I know it’s a simple one: take the car we have and put motors where there’s space. That logic tracks and I can respect it.
I know the Civic has to be a Civic, with the gas engine in the front, but you would think one of the biggest benefits of electric motors is their compactness and potential for packaging.
It could, in theory, be a much simpler system on the front end with two electric motors powering the wheels that steer, and have the heavy motor sitting over the rear axle without any steering shit to get in the way. Or throw in the steering stuff to make it really interesting, like some miniature Honda Halo Warthog.
But of course, that is pie-in-the-space thinking. Honda would never flip the Type R into some weird rear-mounted hatchback, despite the potential packaging efficiency (with admitted potential detriment to cargo space… in the name of performance and excellence!).