It's official. The upcoming Honda Civic Type R—America's first Type R—is the fastest front-wheel-drive production car around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. Honda's hot hatch blitzed around the 'Ring in 7 minutes 43.80 seconds, topping the previous front-wheel-drive record set by the Volkswagen GTI Clubsport S by over 3 seconds. It also marks a 7 second improvement over Honda's previous generation CTR—you know, the FK2 we never got stateside. The car's lead chassis engineer, Ryuichi Kijima, attributes the blistering time to higher cornering speeds due to "a wider track and tires, a longer wheelbase, a new multi-link suspension in the rear and optimized aerodynamics that improve stability."
Despite what some of you—including James May or certain Porsche execs—might feel about Nurburgring lap times, setting a record-breaking time at what is arguably the world's most demanding track is not a technical achievement to sneeze at. Perhaps Honda will show up next year with that cheaper, lighter Civic Type R and raise the FWD bar once again.
Fun fact: at 306 hp, the new Civic Type R will officially be the most powerful Honda ever sold in America. Yes, the new hybrid NSX obviously makes more power, but that's not sold as a Honda over here, now, is it?