By on April 24, 2017

2017 Civic Type R (European Version)

“Tested on the Nürburgring,” is just the latest eye-rolling claim to be adopted by automakers desperate to instill a new product with an air of sportiness.

“Nürburgring?!” being the anticipated reaction. “Well, the Germans aren’t going to let just any minivan on that track … ”

There’s much guilt to go around. Just as a Ram maintenance truck trundling down the runway at Edwards Air Force Base is not a space shuttle or F-35, running some laps on the famed circuit does not a supercar make. Still, the track’s allure persists, especially among marketing types.

Sometimes, an achievement crops up that makes the typing of “Nürburgring” an acceptable practice — specifically, the setting of a record.

Honda is no doubt thrilled that it can now advertise the imminent Civic Type R as the fastest front-wheel-drive production car, having recently lapped the Nordschleife (north loop) three seconds ahead of the previous FWD record holder.

The former front-drive top dog isn’t well known in North America, as the Volkswagen GTI Clubsport S was never sold there. Neither was the Civic Type R, as for years Honda kept its top-tier Civic on the east side of the Atlantic. Now that the UK-built, 306-horsepower, 295 lb-ft five-door hatch is green-lit for U.S. driveways, assembling some bragging rights seems in order.

Still, “most powerful Honda ever sold in the U.S.” sounds more impressive to most ears than “front-wheel-drive Nürburgring record holder.”

The new Type R’s lap time of 7 minutes, 43.80 seconds beat the previous generation’s best by almost seven seconds, Honda claims. While the car sent to the track was a pre-production unit, the automaker claims its specifications mirror of the production vehicle. VW can blame the Honda’s legs.

“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,” said lead chassis engineer Ryuichi Kijima in a statement.

“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.”

The Type R’s output and exclusivity alone should prove plenty enticing for American consumers, very few of whom search for “Nürburgring” in ad copy before signing on the dotted line. Still, there’s a reason why “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday” became a thing in the 1950s.

[Image: Honda]

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23 Comments on “Honda Actually has a Nurburgring-related Feat Worthy of Bragging About...”

  • avatar

    I was very tempted by this car.

    Thought about preordering it… Dealer says they actually have no one in the waiting list and offered it at list…

    Still very tempted… Seems like it walks the walk and talks the talk in an affordable package.

  • avatar

    Maybe on the way back from Germany they can swing by Italy and have someone show these Japanese designers a thing or two about style and visual restraint. Damn that is one ugly car. I always thought if they didn’t make these type of cars so over the top with the big wings and boy-racer looks, they may actually appeal to a more mature clientele who can actually afford to purchase it.

    • 0 avatar

      Funny… I think it looks dang good.

      I’m sick of so many ugly cars on the roadway. I’m glad to finally see one fun and edgy.

      Fords, Hyundais, Kias, Toyotas, Nissans, All look like bland manure. Why would someone pay $40 grand to be caught dead in something as lame as a Ford Taurus, or a Chevy Malibu? Heck, I would love buying a Chevy SS if it didn’t look like the same bland car as all the rest…

      I’m glad to see Honda putting a little fashion to its cars and not looking as ugly as 99% of the cars on the market.

    • 0 avatar

      Honda has definitely gone “controversial” with the styling elements.
      To me these are awful, but perhaps an equal number are in love.

      • 0 avatar

        I like the way the new Civic looks. Way better than Toyota’s “edgey” styling.

        The new Civic is somehow both sleek and angular at the same time. And the car doesn’t come with an exoskeleton (like Toyota’s current design language) and doesn’t want to eat my face (Lexus’s design language).

  • avatar

    “The Type R’s output and exclusivity alone should prove plenty enticing for American consumers, very few of whom search for “Nürburgring” in ad copy before signing on the dotted line.”

    *I think 99.9% of the people interested in this car will absolutely be quoting it’s “Nürburgring” time as often as they can work it into conversation.

  • avatar

    I mean 150 km/h sounds fast through Metzgesfeld, but the 2011 WRX STi did around 160 km/h through the same turn, as far as I can tell, in its record attempt here:

    Is this demonstrative of FWD limitations? I would have expected a lighter car to perform better regardless of drivetrain. Though, Nürburgring laps are not a very good benchmark anyway due to the drastic weather variations in that region.

    • 0 avatar

      “Nürburgring laps are not a very good benchmark anyway due to the drastic weather variations.”

      Verily. Also, any true comparison of the vehicles would have to be done using the same driver after he/she had gotten exactly the same amount of experience with each car and having exactly the same kind of day during exactly the same weather/atmospheric conditions. Then apply chaos theory.

  • avatar

    To put this in context, “wider track and tires, a longer wheelbase, a new multi-link suspension in the rear and optimized aerodynamics that improve stability” have resulted in a <1.5% improvement over the old model. Even less vs. the Volkswagen GTI Clubsport S. Doesn't seem significant.

    It is important to note, however, that as the record times drop, any improvements made to vehicles will see diminishing returns.

  • avatar

    This being a Honda, any problems that develop during the warranty period will be due to “mis-use and/or abuse by the owner” and not covered.

  • avatar

    So fast,
    So ugly,
    going to cost too much money.

  • avatar
    old blue

    Editor, editor???

    Is there no editor for this blog?

    Never considered that shorter is better and clearer ?

    You could have written, “Honda Actually has a Nurburgring-related Feat Worthy of Bragging”

    and left off the “about” ?

    Or better yet:

    Honda bags Nurburgring bragging rights.
    Fastest FWD lap.

    Nobody here ever read Denis Jenkinson, Denise McCluggage or even David E Davis?

  • avatar

    “desperate to instill a new product with an air of sportiness”

    Who is Honda’s Akio and why can’t they can him?

  • avatar

    Longer wheelbase, wider track, excellent stability makes for a great GT. Assuming fuel range at speed is not unduly compromised by, eh….., sharing tank size with a frugal Civic…..

    For fun and tossability at street speeds, shorter, narrower, lighter ie where it’s at.

  • avatar

    A Konami car. The high-tempo 8-bit music and frenetic sprite-based action would be fun at first, but get old after awhile.

  • avatar

    If it didn’t set the record by running a set of the sort of barely streetable dry-only tires that so many manufacturers are using to get impressive cornering G’s on high end performance cars, then surely there’s at least another ten seconds available there.

  • avatar

    I can’t wait to be even more excited about next month’s new record-setter!

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    Just another reason why cars have to grow all the time.

  • avatar

    “Well, the Germans aren’t going to let just any minivan on that track … ” — Not true. They let anything on as long as the entrance fee is paid. Ref. Top Gear with Sabine Schmitz in the white Transit Diesel van.

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