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...

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