That didn’t take long.
The previous-generation Honda Civic Type R was the fastest front-wheel drive production car to lap Germany’s Nürburging, the track that has become the benchmark for new-car performance. Then the Civic was knocked off its perch by the Volkswagen GTI Clubsport S. But now Honda has reclaimed the Nürburgring crown with its new Civic Type R.
The new Type R, which debuted in production-ready form at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show last month and goes on sale in the U.S. later this year, lapped the ‘Ring in 7 minutes, 43.80 seconds. That gives it a decent lead over the 7:47.19 achieved by the VW GTI Clubsport S in October of last year. It’s also an improvement of nearly 7 seconds over the old Civic Type R’s best time and, considering that anything under 8 minutes used to be considered supercar stuff, a quick time by any measure. The hot hatchback arms race continues.
The car used in the record attempt was a preproduction model fitted with a roll cage. The car’s audio system and rear seats were removed to compensate for the weight of the cage, which was deemed necessary for safety reasons. Other than that, Honda claims the car was identical to the production models people will be able to buy in the coming months.
The Civic Type R uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, chucking out 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Honda says the new model is over 35 pounds lighter and 38 percent stiffer than the previous version, which wasn’t sold in the U.S. The new version will actually be the first Civic Type R sold here, although enthusiasts have craved this performance model for some time.
U.S. sales start later this spring. While the car itself is built at Honda’s Swindon, England, factory, its engine comes from a plant in Anna, Ohio. Talk about globalization.