Of all the Civic models Honda introduced at the New York Auto Show, the most powerful of them is the Civic SI. Coming in both sedan and coupe form, the Civic SI represents the next-generation of high-powered Civics that prioritize the performance potential of the Civic platform.
The most telling improvement of the next-generation Civic SI lies in the powertrain where it improves from the past model’s 2.0-liter engine to a more powerful 2.4-liter engine with 201 horsepower and 170 lb/ft of torque. This year’s numbers are up by 4 horsepower and 31 lb/ft of torque compared to the 2011 model.
The Civic SI represents the sporty side of the Civic series, one that puts a premium on performance over anything else and it’s evidenced by the impressive improvement in torque numbers compared to the previous year’s model.
"The broadened torque band of the 2012 model increases its appeal as a daily driver while adding a new dimension of mid-range performance," said John Mendel, the company’s executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Details on the Honda Civic SI after the jump.
The design of the new Civic is highlighted by a sleek windshield rake, a sweeping roofline, and a completely new interpretation of what the previous generation’s model describes as its "one-motion" profile. The lines of the Civic SI come with a shorter length to go with a unique front and rear styling, which then results in a more aggressive and dramatic styling package. The car comes with a low and wide stance that contributes to its distinctive visual presence, with the A-pillars becoming thinner than before to improve visibility and the perception of interior space. Conversely, the C-pillars stretch toward the rear of the vehicle to better enhance the flowing one-motion appearance. Another unique element of the Civic SI - be it a coupe or a sedan - is the choice of a new Sunburst Orange Pear paint finish on the car that further accentuates the model’s dramatic bodylines.
In addition to the more dramatic look of the new Civic SI, the styling is further detailed with the inclusion of a number of elements, including a body-color deck lid spoiler with an LED center brake light, fog lights, a chrome exhaust finisher, and a set of 17" alloy wheels with 215/45R17 tires.
Inside the car, Honda gave the Civic SI an exclusive aluminum shift knob with leather to go with textured aluminum pedals and firmly bolstered perforated cloth sport seats. Each of the seats come with a suede-like trim and red stitching. Likewise, the steering wheel is leather-trimmed with red stitching while the new Multi-Information Display (i-MID) comes with an exclusive Power Monitor that is capable of showing the percentage of total horsepower generated by the engine. There’s also a Sequential Rev-limit Indicator found on the upper instrument panel. This indicator can show exactly when the i-VTEC high-lift camshaft profile is properly engaged.
The new Civic Si is powered by a 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine made of lightweight aluminum and produces a total output of 201 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 170 lb/ft of torque at 4300 rpm. These numbers come with an improvement of 4 horsepower and 31 lb/ft of torque over the previous model. The engine is mated to a sport-oriented six-speed manual transmission that sends power to a helical-type limited-slip differential (LSD), which helps the car accelerate more forcefully when exiting corners due to both wheels delivering equal torque distribution to the road compared to a conventional open-type differential.
No word yet on the pricing of the 2012 model of the Honda Civic SI, although we do believe that it should retail for somewhere a little north of $22,000, which was the price of the 2011 SI model.
The new Honda Civic SI is one attractive car, but does it hold up against something like the Hyundai Genesis Coupe? While the former can be considered as the old guard, the latter is a young buck looking to make a name for itself against its Japanese rival. Looking at it in terms of performance, both cars have slightly similar numbers. The Genesis has a 2.0-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder that delivers 212 horsepower and 217 lb/ft of torque, giving it just enough of an edge over the SI.
Aesthetically speaking, we like the new aggressive design of the Civic SI, although we still have a little problem with Honda’s apparent insistence on not making the Civic SI’s front end a little meaner and more aggressive than what it is. For this, we give the nod to the Genesis Coupe. It’s got a better engine, albeit not by much. Plus, it’s got a meaner profile, something that serves well for coupes.
More powerful engine
Should be reasonably priced
Good tech features
Could have been designed more aggressively
Plenty of other options