Civic Si Confirmed for Debut at LA Auto Show

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A few days ago, the LA Auto Show posted a press release of the confirmed debuts from various auto manufacturers. Coming as a surprise, Honda was confirmed to debut the upcoming turbocharged Civic Si. We haven’t heard any news lately of the Si since a coupe test mule was spotted out in the wild back in July. Honda hasn’t released any official details on the Si, but it’s safe to assume it’ll also be offered in sedan and hatchback forms as well.

We’ve known for a while now that the upcoming Si will come turbocharged, but there was one huge detail that has remained shrouded in mystery – the engine. The author of the original article speculated that the Si will most likely be fitted with a more powerful version of the current generation Civic’s turbocharged 1.5L engine. Other sources mentioned that a detuned version of the current generation Type R engine could be a possibility. If ask me, I have a different opinion that just might blow your mind.

I had quite the chat with my buddy Elton Lo at Raceline USA (Some race shop in Temple City). I mentioned that the Si was confirmed for debut at the upcoming LA Auto show. With no official details on what engine will be finding its way into the Si, it was time for some speculation. So we broke it down into fine detail. First we looked at what current engines Honda offer on their lineup. Starting from lowest horsepower figures to the highest. First, we have the K20C2 producing 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque which can be found in the Civic LX and EX trims. Next is the L15B7 (174 horsepower and 164lb-ft of torque) found in the EX-T and higher trim levels. Lastly, we have the K20C1 making 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque found in the current Type R overseas. Next year’s Type R is rumored to make even more power.

With the engines and power numbers all lined up, we took a step back and saw that there’s something missing: The engine that will power the Si doesn’t exist. Or does it? Rumors have spread that the Si will most likely be powered by a tuned up version of the L15B7 or perhaps detuned K20C1? Let’s start with the L15 – Has there even been a performance variation of the L-Series? Go ahead and do your research. The answer is a simple:no. The L-Series has always been nothing but an economical engine powering models like the Fit, Aria, City, etc. Recently, Honda has unveiled the upcoming 2017 (5th Gen) CR-V which will be available with the L15 turbo, but will be producing a bit more power rated at 190 horsepower and 179 pound feet of torque. If you ask me, that’s as far that engine can go. Yes, I’m sure it could be tuned a bit further, but it’s got to be reliable.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback


The other theory about the Si being fitted with a detuned K20C1 from the Type R just doesn’t fit the bill. Just look at the numbers, the only way to really restrict the power would be to lower boost pressure. Talk about a tease… What’s the fun in having a sandbagged Type R engine in your Si? So Elton and I quickly through that idea out the window.

So we thought about it… 10-15 years ago, the K20A2 was the top performance 4-banger Honda offered. Look at the K20A2 as the K20C1 offered today. Which engine was a step down below the A2? The K20A3 found in the EP3 Civic Si/DC5 RSX base model. What was the main factor that differentiated the A2 from the A3? The cylinder heads – A2 was big port and the A3 was small port. The second question we asked was, “Which engine was equivalent to the K20A3?” The answer was right in front of eyes – the K20C2 found in the current Civic LX/EX. It produces 158 horsepower naturally aspirated and if you add a turbocharger… BOOM! There’s the missing engine that produces around 240 horsepower and perhaps 210 pound-feet of torque. It’s safe to assume this engine will be dubbed K20C3. Mind blown right? Again, this is just us speculating. We’ll see what Honda has to say in less than a month’s time at the LA Auto Show.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback

There it is folks! Expect the upcoming Si to be today’s version of a turbocharged EP3 with a 6-Speed gearbox.. Let us know what you think of our theory and give us your own thoughts!

Longtime auto journalist, editor and photographer Matt Eugenio has contributed news stories, features, reviews, photography and more for over five years to the popular automotive websites Both Hand Drive, Drive Tribe, Motor1, and other popular media.

Matt is currently a featured writer for Internet Brands Auto Group's Corvette Forum, Honda-Tech, 6SpeedOnline, and Rennlist, among other auto sites.

Eugenio can be reached at [email protected].

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