Track Battle: Honda Civic Type R vs BMW M3 and Audi RS3

The Honda Civic Type R has beaten the hot hatch elite, now it takes on some more serious rivals...

We’ve been blown away by the performance of the new Honda Civic Type R. It’s already beaten a SEAT Leon Cupra and Renault Sport Megane Trophy round our test track at Llandow in South Wales. And that got us thinking. Let’s just say you want a practical performance car with four doors and a reasonable boot, but one with even more power than the 306bhp Honda Civic Type R. Just how much extra would you have to pay and how much more performance would your extra dosh get you?

Well for £10,000 more than the £30,000 Honda, the Audi RS3 Sportback has a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo with 361bhp – which is a 55bhp improvement over what you get from the 2.0-litre four-cylincer turbo in the Type R. However, if you were to pay a further £6,000 you could have a BMW M3. Then you get a 3.0-litre twin turbo engine developing 425bhp, which is 64bhp over the Audi and 119bhp more than the Honda Civic Type R.  

Unless you're playing top trumps, however, performance stats don’t matter all that much. How the cars perform out in the real world is what really matters. So we took a BMW M3 and an Audi RS3 Sportback to the exact same track where we had previously timed the Civic Type R to see just how their power advantages translate into improved lap times.

This test would allow us to compare three different ways of putting power down to the ground: front wheel-drive, all wheel-drive and rear wheel-drive. Fortunately, on the day of our test the conditions were exactly the same as when we timed the Honda and so this meant we would have a fair comparison. However, what actually happened came as quite a shock to us all. We won’t give the game away here: you’ll have to watch the video for the full result. But suffice to say, the outcome won’t be quite what you are expecting…

Read a full review of the Honda Civic Type R here...

Recommended

Best hot hatchbacks 2021
Best hot hatchbacks
Hot hatches

Best hot hatchbacks 2021

The best hot hatches offer giant-killing performance and a gripping drive, all wrapped in a user-friendly package
8 Jan 2021
New 2022 Honda Civic Type R: prices, specs and release date
Honda Civic Type R

New 2022 Honda Civic Type R: prices, specs and release date

Eleventh-generation Honda Civic will get a new range-topping Type R performance model – and our exclusive image previews how it could look
30 Nov 2020
Hot Hatch of the Year 2020: Honda Civic Type R
Honda Civic Type R

Hot Hatch of the Year 2020: Honda Civic Type R

The Honda Civic Type R is the 2020 Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year, with the Ford Focus ST and Mercedes-AMG A 45 S commended
13 Oct 2020
New Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition 2020 review
Honda Civic Type R

New Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition 2020 review

The new Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition has already sold out, and those buyers are in for a treat
30 Sep 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 van teased
New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 van teased
Volkswagen Transporter

New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 van teased

Next-generation Volkswagen Transporter T7 will break cover later this year with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain
14 Apr 2021
'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'
Opinion Nissan EV
Nissan

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'

Steve Fowler thinks Nissan is in a great position to build on the Leaf's success
8 Apr 2021
New 2021 Audi Q4 e-tron revealed with sleek Sportback option
Audi Q4 e-tron - front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New 2021 Audi Q4 e-tron revealed with sleek Sportback option

Three powertrains revealed for Audi’s Q4 e-tron small electric SUV, including a 295bhp quattro option
14 Apr 2021