Track Tested: 2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe

Track Tested: 2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe

civicsi2_tt.jpgNo, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. This is not the last gen, but rather the all-new 2012 Honda Civic Si.

For 2012 Honda expanded the stroke and bore of the old 2.0 so now the Civic Si displaces 2.4 liters and produces 201 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 170 pound-feet of torque at "only" 4,300 rpm. That's 22 percent more torque than the outgoing car, arriving nearly 2,000 rpm sooner.

We walked away from a first drive of the 2012 Honda Civic Si pleased with the additional torque, and the handling was exactly what we expected from the Si. But that was on a Honda-prepped autocross course under careful supervision.

Now that we've got one on home turf, it's time to see what the 2012 Honda Civic Si will do in our performance tests...

Vehicle: 2012 Honda Civic SI Coupe
Date Tested: 5-3-2011
Driver: Chris Walton

Drive Type: Transverse, front-engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed manual
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,354
Redline (rpm): 7,100
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 201 @ 7,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 170 @ 4,300
Steering System: Electric-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, lateral links, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 215/45ZR17 (91W)
Tire Size (rear): 215/45ZR17 (91W)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot Exalto PE2
Tire Type:  Summer performance
Wheel size: 17-by-7 inches front and rear
Wheel material (front/rear): Cast aluminum
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,845



Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 2.6 (2.9 with T/C on)
0-45 (sec): 4.6 (4.8 with T/C on)
0-60 (sec): 6.9 (7.1 with T/C on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.6 (6.9 with T/C on)
0-75 (sec): 10.1 (10.2 with T/C on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.1 @ 93.1 (15.3 @ 93.1  with T/C on)

30-0 (ft): 29
60-0 (ft): 120

Slalom (mph): 67.3 (62.8 with T/C ON)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g):  0.86 (0.84 with T/C ON)

Db @ Idle: 43.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 80.4
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 67.4

RPM @ 70: 3,000


Acceleration:  Power delivery is far more linear than previous 2.0L Si engine, but i-VTEC is still evident -- more audible than palpable, though. With trac off, it's tricky to launch with just-right wheelspin, but it can be done and subtracts about a half-second from time. It's difficult to hang revs at a desired rpm because the throttle is so sensitive and revs climb and drop with a millimeter of throttle travel. Shifter is still very good, but feels ike it has a longer throw than previous Si's.

Braking: Some initial pedal travel, then very firm thereafter. Not much initial bite. Zero ABS buzz, little tire squeal, but rear end gets light and wiggles side-to-side.

Handling: Skid pad: With ESC off, gently understeers all the way around. "Steering" with the throttle doesn't work -- no rotation possible. With ESC on, the system grabs a brake and keeps it just inside understeer. Steering weight is good -- not too heavy or light or electric-feeling. Slalom: With ESC off, the car is sensitive to entry speed and likes to rotate off-throttle. Best run was entry at just barely sub-limit, then barely adjust throttle for a tiny bit of rotation at each cone, then MASH the throttle at exit. It's a delicate technique, and there's probably +1 mph left, but this would be a "perfect" run. With ESC on, it's punishing to the slightest bit of tire howl or sliding -- hence slow.

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