After what seemed like years of teasing, hinting, and the always infuriating dangling of the proverbial carrot, Honda officially pulled the wraps off of the prototype Civic Type R today at the Paris auto show. The production model, a joint effort between Japanese and European Honda R&D groups, will be built exclusively at Honda's Swindon, UK, plant.
Honda's newest Civic offers more model and trim types than any other generation, and with the performance-focused versions yet to release, things are getting even more interesting. The latest Civic family is currently serving the market with a coupe, sedan, and more recently, a 5-door hatchback model, all of which are offered in LX through EX-L trim. The question on the mind of most enthusiasts, however, is when and if the Type R model would be made available to the U.S. The Paris show confirmed that the CTR will in fact begin its rollout next year as a 2018 model, and yes, it will certainly be making its way to U.S. shores. In addition, the long-awaited Si trim is expected to show up next year as well. Though Honda remains hush about the engine and output for both highly anticipated models, fans have been vocal about their expectation of a turbocharged 2.0L in place of the current 1.5L Civic power plant.
Wrapped tightly in a dark, brushed aluminum finish, the prototype Civic Type R looks every bit as menacing as expected. Lower front bumper openings, much closer in appearance to the current Civic lineup than original renderings led us to believe, use diamond-mesh grills and are accompanied by an upper grill that carries the unmistakable Type R badging. Just below, a carbon fiber splitter features winged ends that lead to aggressive fenders complete with rear venting that help to cover 20-inch wheels wrapped in 245-section tires. From there, other than the red striped, carbon fiber side diffusers, the CTR flanks are similar to that of the non-R.
Toward the rear, the quarter panels see some massaging with integrated flares that jut out slightly over the wheel wells and continue onto the widened rear bumper. And that's where things get even more exciting; the diffuser displayed on the prototype is sleeker, incorporates more aggressive fins and, once again, is built in carbon fiber rather than plastic, but it's the exhaust system it surrounds that really catches your attention. The dual exhaust tips are slightly larger than the current hatchback and are spaced apart by a few additional inches, allowing enough room for a third, fully functional exhaust opening. No word on what that mysterious third exit might be used for. The hatchback's stern features a deck-perched wing with rather angular lines that will share some of the aero duties with the vortex generators that sit atop the roof.
It's been 15 years since Acura offered the Integra Type R, the only "R" model to ever be offered in the states. And as the aftermarket industry and performance circles have seen constant change and progression since that time, Honda's once tight-clenched grasp on the enthusiast market has diminished considerably over the years. Whether the new turbocharged Civic generation, led by the Civic Type R, will serve as their saving grace with import performance fans, is the big question. One thing is for certain, Honda is hell-bent on making an impact with the CTR and Paris is only the beginning, as SEMA 2016 will be the car's next destination and will serve as the first time in history that a Honda-badged Type R has made its way to the U.S.