And it comes straight from Japan.
The Honda Civic Type R has been in the news again lately, most recently with the Limited Edition variant setting a new lap record at Japan's Suzuka Circuit. In addition, the Type R has received a refresh for the 2020 model year, but it still dates back to 2017. In other words, a redesign isn't too far away and a new rumor coming from Japan claims that next Type R will be radically different.
BestCarWeb.jp says it has obtained insider information claiming the next-gen Type R will be a 400 horsepower all-wheel-drive hybrid. This is in direct contrast to last month's rumor saying the exact opposite, stating the next Type R will retain its turbocharged four-cylinder and FWD setup, sans hybrid system.
According to what we're hearing from Japan now, Honda could use the Type R's current 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with a pair of electric motors, which will power the rear wheels. The four-pot, like as it does currently, would power the front wheels. It definitely sounds doable on Honda's part. What's more, the competition is quickly becoming fiercer than ever. The Renault Megane R.S. Trophy, next-gen Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R, and the Hyundai Veloster N are just a few examples.
The Japanese-language publication also claims the next Type R will debut sometime in 2022. In reality, that might be a bit too soon because Honda officials have been quick to point out no final decision has been made regarding the makeup of the next Type R.
It really boils down to two options: evolve the current setup or take things to a higher performance and technological level, at least for the segment. Obviously going for the latter is the more expensive proposition and given the economic fallout resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, Honda, like all automakers, needs to save money wherever possible. Niche models such as the Type R could be placed on the backburner as a result.
Whatever direction Honda ultimately takes, a decision will have to come relatively soon.