On the evidence of their Nurburgring lap times, these are the fastest front-wheel drive production cars of all time. In issue 215 of the magazine we explore that in a little more detail, but this video sets out to determine which of the Honda Civic Type R and the Renaultsport Megane 275 Trophy-R is faster in an independent test.
The Megane set an impressive time of 7min 54secs around the 13-mile Nordschleife. It usurped the Seat Leon Cupra Sub8 as the fastest front-wheel drive car and became only the second front-driven production car to lap the ‘Ring in under eight minutes. To give that lap time some context, a Ferrari F430 set a time of 7min 55secs in 2006.
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Remarkably, the Civic knocked a further four seconds off the Megane’s time to set a new record of 7min 50secs. That always struck us at evo as being slightly odd – the Megane uses a much gripper Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyre than the Civic’s Continental Sport Contact 6 and whenever we’ve driven these stripped-out, track-ready Renaultsport machines on circuit they’ve shown up much more exotic and expensive sports cars.
So just how did the Civic go four seconds quicker than the Megane? Sure, it does have 306bhp to the Renault’s 272bhp, but it also carries an additional 80kg. It could be that the Nurburgring’s straight, fast sections played into the Honda’s hands, or perhaps the unnamed driver had just arrived from another planet. Or maybe, as some have suggested, the Civic wasn’t wearing the same tyres that customer cars are being supplied on…
As we very well know, the Nurburgring lap time race is a flawed comparison. By getting the Megane and Civic together at the Bedford Autodrome we can compare them in consistent and fair conditions and work out which one really is the fastest.
It is worth noting that on price alone the £29,995 Civic Type R is a closer rival for the £28,930 Megane 275 Trophy – the one that still has air conditioning and rear seats. We’ve put the Honda up against the more extreme version of the Renault simply because it’s the car that set the Nurburgring lap time.
These two cars, then, are the fastest front-wheel drive production cars around the Nordschleife. But which one is quicker around our test track?