The Nordschleife Nürburgring or the Green Hell, as some would put it, is easily one of the most demanding circuit around and is used by many car manufacturers to chase record lap times.
Although many of these results often yield controversies due to the fact that these record chasing cars are not in complete stock trim, it still remains as a common playing ground for many benchmarking purposes.
Before we list down the five most surprising cars the new Civic Type R lapped faster around the ‘Ring, do bear in mind that the latest R moniker’s 2.0-litre VTEC engine has gone down the blown route, making some 306 hp and 400 Nm of torque from 2,500 rpm. Power is then channeled to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. All this plus the ridiculously grippy Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres fitted to the Civic results in a lap time of 7:50.63 seconds.
So, without further ado, meet the five cars who bit the R’s dust.
5. Ford GT (2004)
Ah, if it isn’t one of Ford’s most distinguished four-wheeler, the 2004 Ford GT. It’s got a 5.4-litre supercharged V8 engine that makes 549 hp at 6,500 rpm and 678 Nm of torque at 3,750 rpm that’s paired to a six-speed manual ‘box, sprints from standstill to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and maxes out at 330 km/h. Ford’s mid-engined rear wheel drive sports car lapped the ‘Ring in 7 minutes 52 seconds flat, just over a second slower than the Civic. FYI, the new Ford GT will be getting a 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine and is rumoured to make upwards of 600 bhp.
4. BMW M5 (2011)
The BMW F10 M5 was the first in its model history to come with a turbocharged engine, down to 4.4-litre V8 from the previous E60 M5 which had the 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V10. Despite the downsize, the F10 M5’s engine delivered substantially better output – 552 hp at 6,000 rpm and 680 Nm of torque from 1,500 rpm. Performance wise, the rear wheel drive saloon manages the century sprint in 4.4 seconds, and top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h, although some have clocked over 300 km/h. That said, it lapped the full stretch of Green Hell in 7 minutes 55 seconds.
3. Honda NSX-R (2002)
Honda wasn’t lying when they said the new Civic is the most lethal Honda to bear the Type R badge. It’s so fast, it bettered the 2002 Honda NSX-R around the ‘Ring. The NSX-R is fitted with a free-revving, naturally aspirated 3.2-litre V6 engine that makes 290 hp at 7,100 rpm (redlines at 8,000 rpm) and 304 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm. It’s a mid-engined, rear wheel drive sports car with a proper six-speed manual gearbox, though the new NSX will benefit from turbochargers and electric motors to make over 550 horsepower. The 2002 NSX-R however, recorded a lap time of 7:56.73 seconds.
2. Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe (2011)
With more than three times the size of the Civic Type R’s engine and exactly half the cylinder count, the Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe’s engine is the largest by far, especially in this list of five. It’s got a 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine pushing 457 hp at 6,800 rpm and 600 Nm at 5,000 rpm paired to a seven-speed AMG SpeedShift transmission driving the rear wheels. It sprints as fast as the F10 M5 – 4.4 seconds to 100 km/h and manages a top speed of 280 km/h (uncapped). Despite having the largest engine, it’s also the slowest here, with a lap time of 8:01.00 seconds.
1. Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 (2008)
If you’re anticipating your new Civic Type R, you should be proud of this supercar-beating feat. It’s easily the most eye opening defeat in the hands of a Japanese hot hatch, the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. It’s no slouch around the ‘Ring either, having clocked 7 minutes 52 seconds (tied with the Ford GT) when it came out in 2008. Powering this Italian bull is a 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine (also used in the Audi R8) that makes 552 hp (or 560 chevaux vapeur, hence the LP560 name) and 540 Nm of torque. Its top speed is rated at 325 km/h, as compared to the Civic’s 270 km/h, while the Gallardo sprints to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds.
So there you have it, the five most surprising cars to have lost to the Civic Type R at Nürburgring. While some of you may think that we should have included its closest rival in the list, the Megane RS 275 Trophy-R (lap time 7:54.36 seconds), but it’s not exactly what we’re trying to convey here. After all, it is the five cars whose laptime we never thought the Civic could better.