Ready to have your preconceptions about front-wheel-drive blown right out of your skull? Honda just released video of a 2015 Civic Type R prototype . That's just 10 seconds off the pace of the Porsche Cayman GT4, and only 30 seconds behind the world-beating 911 GT3 that won our Performance Car of the Year competition.
It also soundly trounces the old front-wheel-drive record, a 7:54.36 set by the Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R.
This, of course, is no everyday Civic. It's the upcoming 2015 Type R, a Europe-only turbocharged beast with 306 horsepower and a top speed nearing 170 mph. Oh, and three-pedal manual transmission only.
Honda says the 'Ring lap shown in this video was filmed way back in May 2014, using a preproduction prototype. "The development car was in a standard state of engine tune, with suspension, drivetrain, exhaust, brakes and the aerodynamic package identical to those of the production Civic Type R," . The lap car, notably, had its A/C, stereo, and front passenger seat removed, to offset the weight of a full roll cage—which Honda says was added "specifically for safety reasons and not to add rigidity."
To some, that will sound like a lot of finicky detail, and to be fair, we won't know for certain whether the box-stock Civic Type R can repeat this performance until it hits the market later this year. And even if Honda's caveats give you some pause, a world-record-smashing lap time on the notoriously challenging 12.9-mile Nurburgring is something to behold in and of itself.
Behold it here. Because, at least if you're in the U.S. market, this is about as close as you'll get to Honda's insane, Europe-only muscle-hatch.