Despite its warm sedan credentials, the new Honda Civic Si seems happy with its new life as a Q-car.
That’s a 180-degree shift from the previous generation Civic, which no matter how pedestrian the drivetrain wanted to sear its sporty credentials all over everyone’s eyeballs.
Gone are the profusion of oversized intakes, vents, spoilers and diffusers. This time around the most outlandish element of the Si’s design is the prominent boot lip spoiler, and the exclusive Blazing Orange Pearl paint.
Under the bonnet is a retuned version of the 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that served duty in the 10th-generation car.
Peak power is down 4kW, with 149kW available at just 500rpm below the 6500rpm redline. As compensation the car’s peak torque of 260Nm now arrives 300rpm earlier, making it available between 1800 and 5000rpm.
The Si’s engine is up 15kW on the 1.5-litre turbo available in more pedestrian models in the Civic range, but is well down on the 228kW/400Nm available in outgoing Civic Type R.
Pitched at enthusiasts, the Si’s only transmission is a six-speed manual that features 10 per cent shorter throws than before, and a 26 per cent lighter flywheel.
The Si rides on 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/40 tyres, Si-specific dampers, thicker stabiliser bars front and back, and stiffer springs and bushings.
Responsiveness is said to be improved by a 60 per cent stiffer torsion bar for the rack and pinion steering system.
To match the car’s higher levels of performance, the Si is also equipped with larger brakes at both ends — 312mm units at the front, and 282mm out the back.
Equipment borrowed from the Type R includes the front compliance bushings, and the rev matching system for the manual transmission.
Inside the cabin there are unique “body stabilising sport seats” with a one-piece back- and head-rest design, and embroidered with Si logos. The interior also features red contrast stitching, and red highlights.
A 7.0-inch instrumentation display, 9.0-inch touchscreen, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a 12-speaker Bose surround sound system are standard.
We’re waiting to hear back from Honda Australia about local availability, but we’re not holding our breath. The last time an Si-branded Civic was sold Down Under was in 2011 when sales of the eighth-generation five-door hatch ceased.
The futuristic looking hatch was powered by a 103kW/174Nm naturally-aspirated 1.8-litre four-pot hooked up to either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic.
The more powerful 147kW/188Nm 2.0-litre Si sedan wasn’t offered locally, with the Type R hatch solely responsible for holding aloft the company’s performance flag in Australia.
Subsequent Si models also weren’t sold in Australia, even when a contemporary Type R was either not available or not imported.
MORE: Everything Honda Civic