“Tested on theÂ NÃ¼rburgring,” is just the latest eye-rolling claim to be adopted by automakers desperate to instill a new product with an air of sportiness.
“NÃ¼rburgring?!” 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 “NÃ¼rburgring” an acceptable practiceÂ â€” 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 theÂ 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-driveÂ NÃ¼rburgring record holder.”
The new Type R’s lap time ofÂ 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 “NÃ¼rburgring” 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]