With 306 hp, the new 2.0 liter turbocharged Honda Civic Type R just trounced that record, and by over 30 seconds. Okay, so 27 years may have elapsed, engines have become smaller and more powerful, chassis, braking and suspension systems are far more advanced, the NSX was rear-wheel-drive where as the Civic is front-wheel-drive. But still, the Civic Type R’s lap time of 7 minutes 43.8 seconds is simply phenomenal making it the fastest front-drive car around Germany’s famed race track.
When Honda launched its iconic NSX sports car way back in 1990, it arrived in showrooms boasting a Nurburgring lap time of 8 minutes 16 seconds. That car packed a mid-engined 3.0-liter V6 engine pumping out 280 hp. How times change.
And for the first time, Americans will have access to this car that’s being billed as the most powerful Honda to ever land in U.S. showrooms.
In the world of sports cars, bragging rights mean a lot, especially when you’re king of the “Ring.” For the record, that’s read – king of the “Ring” for front-drive cars. Obviously, gutsier 4WD supercars are much faster. As the Type R rolls out through 2017 in Europe, Japan and the U.S., that record lap time will no doubt be a major draw card and talking point for the brand on a global scale.
What may stop some potential buyers in their tracks however is when they lay eyes on the car’s over-the-top, edgy, fanboy body kit in the flesh. It’s not pretty, but it’s functional. In fact, the Type R appears to have taken design hints from an Apache attack helicopter than past Honda sports cars.
In their efforts to generate the slipperiest aerodynamic profile leading to that record lap time, Honda stylists slapped on airdams and air vents, spoilers, brake ducts and rear diffusers rivalling those of a fully blown touring race car, and a mammoth rear wing that’s been likened to a park bench.
Compared to the more reserved Golf R and Focus RS rivals, this Honda is not only the most powerful to ever land on American shores, it also just happens to be the most aggressively styled Honda ever. It would look at home in a Fast and Furious movie directed by Tim Burton – edgy and plenty scary at the same time.
Powered by a 306-hp turbo 2.0-liter inline-four with a six-speed manual, the Type R also employs a rev-matching function that sends output the front-wheels. Directing that much grunt to the fronts however is a classic recipe for torque steer overload, so a limited slip differential has been fitted as standard equipment.
It also gets 20-inch wheels, Brembo 4-pot pistons up front and employs three driving modes. Normal. Sport and you guessed it, the essential race mode “+R.” Each one modifies dynamic parameters such as the suspension stiffness, weight of the steering and throttle response to ensure the Type R delivers on the track.
Interestingly, hot laps at Nurburgring always seem to come with certain conditions. Honda says that the car used for the record breaking lap was a development model, incorporating a roll cage and with no rear seats to compensate for the added weight of the cage. The company’s engineers claim that the cage adds no structural rigidity and that the lap is representative of what the production car can achieve. And given the brands past records, I would argue that the much lauded lap time is pretty close to the real thing. Make no mistake.
The Type R will start to appear in showrooms from spring 2017. In the U.S., expect to pay just north of $35,000 while in the U.K., the sticker price will hover around £31,000.