Honda has kept good on its promise to slay the Nürburgring with its new hot hatch. The 2017 Honda Civic Type R clocked a time of 7 minutes, 43.80 seconds on the Nordschleife, setting a new record for a front-wheel-drive production car.
The time represents a big improvement over the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S, which lapped the Nürburgring in a record-breaking 7 minutes, 49.21 seconds last year. The new Civic Type R is also around 7 seconds quicker than the previous-generation model.
Ryuichi Kijima, lead chassis engineer for the Type R, explained some key adjustments Honda made to the new version to achieve a better lap time. “The cornering speed achieved in the new Type R is higher because the car features a wider track and tires, a longer wheelbase, a new multi-link suspension in the rear and optimized aerodynamics that improve stability,” Kijima said in a press release.
“For example, drivers typically enter the corner after Metzgesfeld at around 150 km/h (93 mph). Even at this medium-speed corner, the speed is around 10 km/h (6 mph) 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 lap time.”
Honda broke the record on April 3 with a pre-production Type R deemed technically representative of the production version. The model was equipped with street legal, track-focused tires and a full floating roll cage that did not provide any extra rigidity to the frame. To compensate for the added weight of the roll cage, Honda removed the Display Audio system and rear seats.
The Type R goes on sale in the U.S. later this spring. Equipped with a six-speed manual and a 2.0-liter turbo-four, the hot hatch produces 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Its body is 35 pounds lighter than its predecessor and boasts a 38-percent gain in torsional stiffness.
Find out how the Type R became the world’s fastest front-wheel-drive production car in the videos below.