We love a good hot hatch here in the Petrol News office and the Honda Civic Type R has always met our performance hatch needs in years gone by.
This autumn will see the arrival of an all-new Civic Type R – based on the standard tenth-gen model – in UK showrooms and the car is already making headlines after setting a new benchmark time on the famously punishing Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Production of the new Civic Type R won’t begin until the summer, so instead, Honda sent a development car to tackle the 14.1-mile loop and its 154 corners.
It managed this in seven minutes and 43.8 seconds, which not only sets a new record for front-wheel-drive production cars, but also knocks seven seconds from its predecessor’s time.
‘How was this possible?’, you may well ask. Better driver? More favourable conditions? Maybe, but this feat was achieved mostly due to the car’s physical improvements. The body frame is now 16kg lighter, while the torsional stiffness has been upped by 38 per cent.
Ryuichi Kijima, the lead chassis engineer for the Honda Civic Type R, explained that a wider track and tyres allowed the car to hit corners at higher speeds than its predecessor.
“Drivers typically enter the corner after Metzgesfeld at around 150 km/h (93mph),” he said.
“Even at this medium-speed corner, the speed is around 10 km/h (6mph) higher due to the new Type R’s excellent stability. So, with improved cornering performance, we can increase the speed throughout the lap, helping the new Type R to achieve a much quicker time.”
The new car has 15bhp more than before too – now 315bhp – while the six-speed manual transmission’s lower gear ratios improve acceleration. However, the two-litre engine’s 400Nm of torque remains unchanged.
You can watch footage of the actual lap at youtube.com/watch?v=6LAB4cZ2V3Y.
Stephen Hasley, brand manager at Petrol News, adds: “Just the mention of the Civic Type R is enough to set some pulses racing and we can’t wait to see how the improved hot hatch fares out on the open road when it launches later this year.”