There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the old Honda Civic Type R.
With 305bhp from a two-litre VTEC turbo petrol engine and 400Nm of torque, it was rather nippy to say the least, hitting 62mph in 5.7 seconds with a top speed of 167mph.
And yet, less than two years since its introduction, it has been mercilessly replaced as key rivals, such as the 345bhp Ford Focus RS, left the old Type R wiping dust from its headlights.
Based on Honda’s tenth-generation Civic hatchback, the new Type R – now with 315bhp – will go into production this summer and it is already walking the walk after setting a new record time on the punishing Nürburgring Nordschleife.
It managed to complete the 14.1-mile North Loop, with its 154 turns, in seven minutes and 43.8 seconds. That is almost seven seconds quicker than the previous Civic Type R and sets a new benchmark lap time on the track for a front-wheel-drive car.
What has changed?
Steering response and cornering stability were improved thanks to a 16kg weight reduction to the car’s high-rigidity body frame and a 38 per cent torsional stiffness improvement over its predecessor.
Additionally, new multi-link rear suspension enhances stability under braking and reduces the total roll movement of the car, enabling later braking into corners and helping to achieve higher cornering speeds during the lap.
Ryuichi Kijima, the Type R’s lead chassis engineer, added that the car’s wider track and tyres allowed it to hit corners at higher speeds.
“For example, drivers typically enter the corner after Metzgesfeld at around 150 km/h (93mph). Even at this medium-speed corner, the speed is around 10 km/h (6mph) higher due to the new Type R’s excellent stability,” explained Kijima-san.
“So, with improved cornering performance, we can increase the speed throughout the lap, helping the new Type R to achieve a much quicker lap time.”
We already know that the regular Civic mk10 is one of the leading cars in its segment; we’ll see how its performance-honed iteration fares when it arrives here this autumn.
You can watch the footage of the actual lap, along with a couple of promotional videos by Honda on the record breaking lap, below.