What Will the Future of Honda Sports Cars Be?
Honda knows performance. From Formula 1 titles to corner-carving sports cars, the company has a history of world-class engineering. While in the past, the company took its racing knowledge to the streets — with noted models like the S2000 and NSX (Acura)—as of late, they’ve strayed from their sporty roots.
But that could soon change. According to reports, Honda is working on multiple new sports cars, with hybrid or electric powertrains. And if past models are any indication, when the company takes on a project, they give it all they’ve got. The result could be their finest high-performance vehicles yet. Let’s take a closer look at past Honda sports cars, and what future models might look like.
What current sports cars does Honda have?
At the moment, Honda has two performance-focused models: the Civic Type R and the Civic Si. Both take an everyday coupe and add upgraded hardware, for enhanced dynamics on the circuit and the street. While the Si blends sensibility and athleticism, the Type R is a no-holds-barred track weapon.
The 2023 Civic Si sedan starts at $29,895. For that affordable sum, buyers get a reliable daily driver that can hang with legit sports cars.
Under the hood, a turbo 1.5-liter four makes 200 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. Routed through a slick-shifting 6-manual and FWD, the compact powerplant offers eager acceleration and commendable gas mileage. 0-60 mph takes 6.6 seconds, and fuel economy is an excellent 27/37 mpg city/highway.
And that’s not all. Tuned suspension and larger brake rotors enhance cornering ability and scrub speed with authority. Style accents inside and out—like Si badging, black wheels, and sports seats—show the Si is no ordinary sedan.
But the Civic Type R (from $44,890) takes things even further. The top-of-the-line Type R has abundant track-ready upgrades. And its 4-door hatchback style adds practicality.
Powered by a turbo 2.0-liter four with 315 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, the Type R can reach 60 mph in only 4.9 seconds. A classic Honda 6-speed manual offers positive gear changes and driver involvement. FWD brings everyday versatility. A lightened flywheel creates a rev-happy feel, while a larger radiator keeps things cool during spirited drives.
Chassis-wise, the Type R uses a dual-axis strut suspension up front, reducing torque steer and enhancing handling. Brembo brake calipers all around produce fade-free performance lap after lap. A limited-slip differential puts power to the ground during corner exits and acceleration runs.
Outside, the Honda Civic Type R has a bold, defined appearance. Black 19-inch alloy wheels come shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, for curb appeal and tenacious grip. Type R badging and a rear wing denote its track-ready capabilities. And carbon fiber interior accents look off a race car.
New sports cars could be on the horizon for Honda
While the Civic Type R and Civic Si are solid sports cars, they’re still based on an everyday design. Conversely, the legendary S2000 was a performance vehicle from the ground up, giving it a purpose-built feel. Thankfully, Honda’s set to introduce two new sports cars, giving driving enthusiasts something to look forward to. Here are the details.
According to Jalopnik, Honda representatives in the U.S. indicated “Honda will globally introduce two sports models, a specialty, and a flagship model.” They also talked about electrification and carbon neutrality, hinting at an EV or hybrid powertrain.
What could that mean for the driving public?
These new designs could follow a similar path to the S2000 and NSX (Acura). While the S2000 was a reasonably-priced sports car (around $35,000 in 2007), the NSX offered supercar performance and pricing (about $170k in 2022).
And with Honda’s 75th anniversary on the horizon, you can bet the company’s set to make a splash. It’ll be exciting to see what emerges.
A history of affordable and fun-to-drive sports cars
While we’re excited for Honda’s two upcoming sports cars, it’s also fun to look back at their previous designs. Over the years, the company has produced affordable models with fun dynamics, for a frugal yet quick drive. Recently, Slashgear ranked 10 of the best Honda sports cars ever made. Here are a few of our favorites.
For us, the Honda S2000 embodies the pure sports car experience. Introduced for Honda’s 50th anniversary and featuring an 8900 RPM redline, the open-top performer could hang with the best. Its sub-2,800 lb weight gave it athletic moves, and 50/50 weight distribution produced balanced handling.
Back in the 1980s, the CRX Si defined economical fun. With spry styling inspired by the Alfa Romeo Junior, the diminutive hatchback was an amusing presence on the streets. In addition to zippy performance around town, the sporty CRX also got excellent gas mileage.
The first Civic Type R debuted in 1997, setting the stage for future editions. Combining a high-revving engine with an economy car platform, the 3-door hatchback was eager yet economical. The DOHC 1.6-liter inline-4 produced 182 hp at a lofty 8,200 rpm and a seam-welded chassis enhanced handling. Only available in Japan, the initial Type R is a classic design.
Despite a history of making superb sports cars, recently, Honda strayed from that heritage. Though the Honda Civic Si and Type R are admirable performers, they lack the purpose-built feel of a focused design like the S2000. But there’s good news. With the Japanese automaker set to introduce two new models, sports car style and performance return to the Honda lineup. We can’t wait.