Think of the new Civic Type R’s spec as an equation to generate the front-drive Nürburgring lap record. The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine makes 228kW and 400Nm, enough to hit 269kph at the end of the Döttinger Höhe straight. The helical limited-slip differential slashes five seconds from the time. Adaptive dampers provide control whether you’re flying at Flugpatz or braking hard into Bergwerk. An aerodynamically optimised body with a nearly flat underfloor sucks the Civic to the ground at high speed. There are 19-inch alloy wheels and bespoke Continental Sport Contact 6 tyres, four-piston Brembo front brakes with 350mm drilled discs, Dual Axis Strut front suspension… All of it feeds into the Honda calculator to produce an answer of 7min 50.63sec, the current front-wheel-drive lap record (as we go to press, at least!).
Project leader Hisayuki Yagi makes no bones about this being the number-one target throughout development. Not ride quality, not steering feel, not throttle response. He just wanted to be fastest. And, he says, there’s more to come: if someone beats the record with a sensible, useable car, he’ll respond. There’s a risk, of course, that this willy-waving could result in a car that’s as suited to real roads as a jet-powered shopping trolley.