The legendary Civic Type R is finally in America, and while it might not be the same car we drove in Gran Turismo, it’s pretty awesome. Honda is reportedly planning even more variants including a harder one, a softer one, and maybe one that will send power to all four wheels.
According to Automotive News, Honda is taking inspiration from Porsche and Chevrolet who are both known for numerous variants of their high-performance specialty cars and will apply that philosophy to the Civic Type R. This is a smart move from a business perspective, because the more versions of the same car a brand can sell, the more profitable it can be.
Automotive News spoke with Hideki Matsumoto, chief engineer for the Civic model range, who confirmed that more Type R models are in the works, and the top priority is a more hardcore version with more power. Despite the fact that Honda now has the Nurburgring lap record for a front-wheel-drive car, the Civic Type R is still eclipsed by similarly priced sport compacts that either bring more horsepower or more traction to the fight.
Matsumoto also discussed a more toned down version of the Type R “focused more on the grand touring aspect” to broaden the car’s target market. How exactly that will manifest itself would be interesting to see. Will it mean the possibility of an automatic gearbox? A less over-the-top exterior? Perhaps a “grand touring” Type R would be akin to a Corvette Grand Sport to the hardcore Z06.
The article also mentions is the possibility of adding all-wheel drive to the Civic Type R. While AWD would certainly close the traction gap between the Type R and similar cars like the Focus RS and Golf R, this version seems the most unlikely for a few reasons.
First, the Type R nameplate has pretty much been aligned with front-wheel-drive performance cars, meaning an AWD Type R would be a major shift from that lineage. More importantly, adding more differentials would essentially mean a totally different car and therefore run counter to the reasoning of using more variants to maximize profitability.
So if the current Type R is either too extreme, not extreme enough, or the current market for the limited edition Civic has you frustrated, it looks like there will be more opportunities to get a Civic Type R even after the first round of cars find their customers.