Hot Honda steals RenaultSport’s thunder as the battle for bragging rights escalates into full-scale warefare
THE Honda Civic Type R is the fastest front-wheel drive vehicle around Germany’s Nurburgring race circuit. The 228kW hatch, shown in production form at the 2015 Geneva show, has taken the crown from the RenaultSport Megane RS Trophy-R by almost four seconds, with a lap time of 7:50.63sec around the 20.8km Nordschleife circuit in the Ardennes.
The hot Honda sees the return of the Type R badge, which hasn’t been seen in Australia since the previous model went off sale in 2012, ahead of the arrival of the US-built Honda NSX supercar and as Honda re-enters Formula One. The Civic is the most potent Honda model to wear the badge, and is likely to arrive Down Under despite the fact that Honda Australia is not officially confirmed its place in showrooms.
Precisely 12 months ago at the Geneva show, it was VW Group-owned SEAT crowing about a new Nurburgring lap record with its then-new Leon Cupra 280, with a time of “7:58”. The Seat had barely held the record sixty days before Renault lowered this to 7:54.36, all while Honda was readying the Civic Type-R having already publically declared its intentions to claim the record for front-wheel drive cars.
While the lap times may be a moot point, one thing’s certain: we’re in a golden era of hot hatches, with the Ford Focus RS also wheeled out for its European debut at Geneva, and with the Audi RS3 finally coming to Australia by the end of 2015 – a hatch that clocks 0-100km/h in 4.3sec.