The 2017 Honda Civic Type R is once again the fastest front-wheel-drive car around the Nurburgring.
The previous-generation model held the record with a lap time of 7:50.63 until the new Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S came around and set a new mark with 7:47.19. But now there’s a new Civic Type R, and the Japanese automaker has reclaimed the title with a lap time of 7:43.80. Not only is this an impressive improvement over the last-generation model’s record, it bests Volkswagen’s entry by nearly four seconds.
More surprisingly, that puts the 2017 Honda Civic Type R in the company of some very prestigious supercars, despite being a front-wheel-drive hatchback sporting a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Sure, some of the cars on the list are a bit outdated and newer versions turn in better lap times, but you have to be surprised to hear a Civic is faster than a Lamborghini on the Nurburgring. Here are 10 of the most interesting cars the new Honda Civic Type R beats around the Nurburgring.
10. Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S
There’s no better car to start the list off than the one Honda just re-took the record from. The Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S is essentially a purpose-built machine to take on the Nurburgring, tossing out the back seats and reworking the suspension to tackle the turns. There are extra aero components to provide downforce while the powerplant provides 306 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Production on the model was limited to just 400 units and it never made it to North America.
9. BMW M3 GTS
Sport Auto recorded a lap time of 7:48 for the BMW E92 M3 GTS, a track-oriented model designed to be a lighter, more powerful version of the sports coupe. Like other track-oriented variants, the M3 GTS tossed out its rear seat, center console, and door trim to shed weight, while shoppers could opt for no air conditioning. Even the audio system and sound insulation were discarded while a standard roll bar and fire extinguisher were installed. Power was bumped to 444 hp and torque came in at 325 lb-ft, but even all that nets the E92 M3 GTS a slower lap time than the new Honda Civic Type R.
8. Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06
When the Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 was first introduced, it was at the time the fastest Corvette the American automaker had ever produced. Packing 505 hp, the Corvette Z06 featured a 7.0-liter V8 engine under the hood and even all that power isn’t enough to best the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Civic Type R. Sport Auto recorded a Nurburgring lap time of 7:49 for the Corvette Z06 on June 22, 2007.
7. Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
The Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano first came onto the market as a 2007 model, replacing the 575M Maranello. Powered by a 6.0-liter V12 engine, the 599 GTB Fiorano cranked out 612 hp and 448 lb-ft of torque and served as Ferrari’s two-seat flagship. It might be over 10 years old, but the GTB Fiorano managed a 7:47 lap time as recorded by Sport Auto. Yep, the Honda Civic Type R is nearly four seconds faster than a Ferrari with a V12 engine.
6. Porsche 911 GT3 RS (996)
There’s no arguing Porsche knows a thing or two about producing fast sports cars. In fact, for quite some time, the German automaker held the fastest Nurburgring lap time for a production car with the Porsche 918 Spyder until the Lamborghini Huracan Performante came around with its fancy aerodynamics. But still, the 996-generation GT3 RS with all its race-inspired goods turned in a 7:47 lap time courtesy of Sport Auto.
5. Porsche 911 GT2 (996)
There are definitely much faster 911 GT2 models in recent years, but the 996 generation is actually slower than the 2017 Honda Civic Type R around the Nurburgring. In June 2001, Sport Auto turned in a lap time of 7:46. At the time, the Porsche 911 GT2 was the most powerful series-produced Porsche ever built, sporting 456 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque. But also keep in mind, when the 996-generation Porsche 911 GT2 first went on sale, it was priced around $185,000, which is significantly more than the mid-$35,000 range Honda is promising for the Civic Type R.
4. Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera
It’s only fair if a Ferrari makes the list that there’s a Lamborghini model as well. The Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera managed a lap time of 7:46 by Sport Auto in September 2007, a few ticks slower than the new Civic Type R. The Superleggera was a hardcore version of the Gallardo, shedding weight while boosting performance to 523 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque from its 5.0-liter V10 engine. Like other cars on the list, you could argue it’s not fair comparing a 10-year-old car to the new Civic Type R, but this is a Lamborghini we’re talking about here.
3. Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Mercedes-AMG has since replaced the SLS with a new sports car, the GT. And while that model is impressive on its own at the Nurburgring, the SLS AMG is actually slower than the front-wheel-drive hatch. Auto Bild Sportscars registered a lap time of 7:44.42 in November 2010, but it’s worth noting that Sport Auto turned in a 7:40 time, so there’s certainly some variance with the model’s lap time.
2. Pagani Zonda S
There’s no confusing a Pagani exotic. They’re some of the finest machines in the world, which makes it even more shocking that a Civic Type R beats any Pagani model around the Nurburgring. The Pagani Zonda S has a recorded lap time of 7:44 by Sport Auto in February 2005 and that’s with a massive 7.0-liter AMG-sourced engine with 540 hp. There is, of course, the race-only Pagani Zonda R with a 6:47.50 lap time, proving Pagani knows a thing or two on how to conquer the ‘Ring.
1. Audi R8 V10
Sure, Audi has improved on the R8 with the introduction of the second-generation model, but the first-gen R8 V10 has a lap time of 7:44 as recorded by Sport Auto in September 2009. Keep in mind this is a supercar powered by a 5.2-liter V10 engine with 525 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque.
Like we said before, it may not be entirely fair to compare the 2017 Honda Civic Type R with vehicles introduced last decade, but it goes to show just how fast a front-wheel-drive, turbocharged four-cylinder hatchback can become with a few years of research and development behind it.
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