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New Honda Civic Type-R sets lap records

New Honda Civic Type-R sets lap records

LONDON: There are fast cars and then there’s really, truly, rapid cars. Honda reckons it’s got a hustler in the latter category, the Civic Type-R, which has just set several new lap records across Europe to prove it.

But it’s yet to claim the one lap record that counts, the fastest front-wheel drive production car time around the Nurburgring in Germany, a 20.83km gauntlet run that’ll put the fear of God into most mortals.

So why isn’t the Honda Civic Type-R the King of the ‘Ring? It claimed from the outset it wanted to be the Nurburgring champion but these latest records appear to be token offerings.

Delivering no less than 228kW and 400Nm from a 2.0-litre VTEC turbo-four that revs to 7000rpm, the current Civic Type-R accelerates to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds and has a top speed of 270km/h.

While Honda’s hottest Civic hatch won’t come to Australia until 2017, when the next-generation version arrives, the current model bettered the Nurburgring lap time of Renault’s Megane RS 275 Trophy R (7:54.36) with a time of 7:50.63 set in May 2014, although the result wasn’t announced until March 2015.

But that time has since been beaten by the freshly-crowed champion — Volkswagen’s Golf GTI Clubsport, or 40 Years Edition as it’s called in Australia – which set a Nurburgring lap record of 7:49.21.

So what went wrong? Nothing, says Honda. And it’s got five new front-drive production car lap records at some of the world’s most famous race tracks to prove it.

“This challenge secures Civic Type-R’s position as the benchmark in the front-wheel drive performance segment. With the support of our touring car stars, it is a fitting testament to the team who engineered and designed it as the ultimate race car for the road,” said Honda Europe supremo Philip Ross.

What are your thoughts? Is the Civic Type-R really the world’s benchmark front-drive hot hatch? Can a car be crowned the best without a Nurburgring trophy?