Some laps around the Nurburgring reveal some details.
Next year will mark its fourth model year if you can believe it. The Honda Civic Type R launched for 2017 and the latest reports indicate a refresh is due for 2020. Our spy photographers were hanging around the Nurburgring earlier this week and managed to snap a lot of photos of the updated hot hatch doing some lap time.
Actually, there were two prototypes, one white the other yellow. The white one was testing with and without its big rear wing. But while it was testing with the smaller rear spoiler, you can see a deeper spoiler lip up front. Does this mean Honda is planning to have two different power output levels? Or, is it simply testing different rear spoilers for different markets?
Also noteworthy here is the yellow car's camo-covered roof. The white prototype's top is completely naked, so why is the other one covered? Our best guess is because Honda is hiding a carbon fiber roof. We don't know this for sure but it's something we certainly wouldn't rule out. Under the hood, the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four will likely receive some improvements as well. At present, it produces 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The sole gearbox, a six-speed manual, directs that power to the front wheels.
Remember, the Civic Type R currently holds the Nurburgring lap record as the world's fastest front-wheel drive car. There's no way Honda is going to risk losing that title to someone else. We've previously reported that Volkswagen is wrapping up development on its next-generation Golf GTI, and we fully expect to see it attempt to outgun the Honda at some point. Let's just say Honda is already taking pre-emptive action. Given that this is a facelift and not a complete redesign, we expect to see Honda release full details in the coming months, likely over the summer in time for sales to begin this fall.