Honda says its latest high-performance Civic Type R is the world’s fastest front-wheel drive production car, and it has a seven-minute-44-second lap of Germany’s famed Nurburgring racetrack to prove it.
Covering the 21-km loop that quickly makes the new Type R nearly seven seconds quicker around the course than the outgoing Type R, and more than three seconds faster than the last FWD record-holder, the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S.
The April 3 record-setting lap comes a few weeks before the Type R’s North American launch later this spring, when it will become the first Type R to be sold on this continent, after years of generating lust among hot hatch enthusiasts.
“Lustworthy” is a good descriptor, here: the Type R squeezes 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that comes hooked up to a six-speed manual transmission. That engine will make this the most powerful Civic ever sold in North America.
Some of the credit for the new car’s extra speed goes to a more rigid body structure and a curb weight about 15 kg lighter than the old car’s. But Honda says its engineers built in a bigger advantage through the car’s chassis, which boasts a wider track and tires, longer wheelbase, rear multi-link suspension and improve aerodynamics, all of which allow for higher cornering speeds.
The Type R’s lap time puts the car in some highly-regarded company, looping the ‘Ring in the same amount of time as a Pagani Zonda (in 2002) and the Audi R8 V10 5.2, in 2009. And the hottest of Civics is quicker around the track than a BMW M4 managed back in 2015.
Check out the in-car camera view of the Type R’s lap below: