The Honda Civic Type R has always been a force to be reckoned with since the arrival of the VTEC engine, being used successfully on the drag strip and on track. In the last few years the hot hatch competition has been more fierce than ever with Renault, Ford, and Volkswagen producing some formidable machines.
Fitting with its heritage, though, the new Type R has once again come out on top in terms of its latest Nürburgring lap time – a lighting fast 7:43.8, making it the fastest front wheel-drive car to ever lap the German race track. This beats the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S – the stripped out track weapon – by nearly 4 seconds, and the last generation of Civic by nearly 7.
The model driven has been described by Honda as being representative of the final car in terms of its specifications and its 316bhp 295lb ft producing 2.0-litre turbo VTEC engine.
As you can see from the video, it’s a manual gearbox with shorter gear ratios for making it more potent under acceleration. Aiding this, 16kg has been tripped from the car. Unfortunately acceleration figures haven’t been revealed by Honda, yet, but I expect a 0-60 time of somewhere around the 5.5 second mark, with the previous generation boasting a respectable 5.7 seconds.
A number of changes have been made to the chassis to further optimise its behaviour on the track. For example, its now 16% more rigid, multi-link suspension has been implemented in the rear, and the body shape is claimed to offer the best-in-class in terms of downwards lift and drag.
The lead chassis engineer for the new Civic Type R, Ryuichi Kijima says:
“The cornering speed achieved in the new Type R is higher because the car features a wider track and tyres, a longer wheelbase, new multi-link suspension in the rear and optimised aerodynamics that improves stability.
“Drivers typically enter the corner after Metzgesfeld at around 93mph, even at this medium-speed corner, the speed is around 6mph higher [than the previous car].”
Now reaching its final phase of testing, the Civic will be set to arrive late this year – the only differences between the production version and this version being a ‘floating’ roll cage, and the removal of the infotainment system and rear seats to compensate for the added weight. The price is believed to be higher than the previous at £30,200.
Once again Honda is leading the arms race of hot hatches, but with hot hatches now being released left, right and centre, how long will it be until they are undercut, and the race for the fastest time at the Nordschleife begins again.