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Honda Civic Type R versus Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy-R in the test

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Honda Civic Type R vs. Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R
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The Honda Civic only kicks in disgruntled Type R for a photo shoot with the Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R arrives in Hockenheim at 6 a.m. Despite the early hour, there is actually no reason to be in a bad mood. In the battle for the Nordschleife crown for the fastest series front-wheel drive vehicle, a near-series prototype of the Japanese compact sports car raced around the Nordschleife in 7.50.63 minutes and wrested its record from the French compact sports car. It stood at 7.54.36 min (all N ordschleifen-records ).

Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R sets target time

Why is the Honda Civic Type R in such a bad mood anyway? Look back at the test day before. Green pit traffic light, the aggressive wing work of the Honda Civic Type R is the first to storm the small circuit in Hockenheim in the test. How good that we don't send both fighting cocks onto the track at the same time, otherwise there would probably be a crash in the north curve.

The expected performance of the Renault Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R is, at the latest after the Comparison test in sport auto 3/2015 , when the French dumped the Seat Leon Cupra 280, known to every regular sport auto reader. The Mégane special model is the fastest production front-wheel drive car in test history on our reference track in Hockenheim. The goal is to beat a lap time of 1.14.0 minutes.

Open the door, into the red and black bucket seats of the Honda Civic Type R, which score with phenomenal lateral support, but for people around 1.85 Meters are mounted a little too high. Even tall people would like to be able to adjust the steering wheel further horizontally. Unfortunately, taller sports drivers only have a frog position behind the wheel. Simply make the most of it and enjoy the refreshingly futuristic design of the dashboard.

The digital speed display in the upper part of the dashboard is easy to see. Green, yellow and red shift lights accompany the pilot today up to maximum speed. Just as emotional as shift lights: the crisp oneSix-speed manual gearbox with precise lanes and short distances.

Honda Civic Type R with four-cylinder turbo and 310 PS

Speaking of revving up and revving it up - while we're the brand new Conti-Sport-Contact To bring the 6 tires of the current Honda Civic Type R up to temperature for use on the racetrack, we have a moment to look back at the Type R predecessor model. We can still remember the sharp Civic of the FN2 series (built from 2007 to 2010). At sport auto it passed the 60,000 kilometer endurance test with almost no technical problems ( sport auto 10/2009).

Only consumption and performance The Japanese, which at that time still had a 201 hp four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine with a displacement of two liters and VTEC valve control, left a lot to be desired. Several times, sayings such as 'The engine is an air pump' were found in the long-term test notes. It wasn't as if nothing happened under full load. On the contrary, the Civic climbed up to 8,400 tours again and again, screeching emotionally, but it just didn't go forward as expected. 0–100 km /h in 7.0 seconds, 0–180 km /h in 24.8 seconds and a lap time of 1,21.2 minutes on the short circuit were not a hit.

Everything new, everything better? From now on, the Honda Civic Type R has a four-cylinder turbo with a displacement of two liters and 310 hp. Well, he has to become the samurai warrior of the compact scene. R as in radical - the Japanese releases its 400 Nm maximum torque exclusively on the front wheels. Crazy, nobody else dares to do that. Despite the force acting on the drive axle and despite its mechanical differential lock, the drive influences in the steering are restrained in everyday life. Just as praiseworthy: the turbo in the Honda Civic Type R can still sound like a turbo. Not loud, but deeply grumbling with all the blow-off noises that the charging technology brings with it.

Both compact athletes with mechanical lock

With 6.1 seconds, the Honda Civic Type R missed its factory specification by four tenths of a second in the test when sprinting from zero to 100 km /h. R for racing? After the published Nordschleife time, there is much more interest in what the Honda Civic Type R can do in terms of lateral dynamics. Now at the latest you should switch to R mode, which is activated via a button to the left of the steering wheel. Steering, dampers, responsiveness - in R mode the Honda Civic Type R not only sharpens the senses, but also changes the lighting of its instruments from innocent white to fiery red. Additional displays (including oil pressure and oil temperature) now accompany the journey.

While the stiff suspension attracts attention on many bumps in everyday life, the Honda Civic Type R shines on the racetrack with its suspension set-up. DirectTurning in, precise steering, agile self-steering behavior when braking and when changing loads and, thanks to the mechanical lock, ample traction under load characterize it. Last but not least, the good grip level of the new Conti tire helps the Honda Civic Type R on the fast lap in Hockenheim.

Only the turbo engine could subjectively work better - is that 310 hp built across the front under the Hood? With a lap time of 1.15.9 minutes, the Honda Civic Type R laps the small course at the level of the 300 hp Golf R, which weighed 70 kilos more than the Honda.

The Honda Civic Type R is significantly heavier than the Renault

Keyword weight: At 1,413 kilos, the Honda Civic Type R already loses the duel on the scales against its current adversary. No rear seat bench, Recaro bucket seats, lithium-ion battery, no insulation material, titanium exhaust system - compared to its series relatives, the Mégane special model Trophy-R has conscientiously starved itself down. At 1,327 kilos, however, the current test car is 16 kilos heavier than the Trophy-R, which came up in sport auto 3/2015 for a comparison test against the Seat Leon Cupra 280. Regardless, 1,327 kilos is still a very good body mass index by today's standards.

Just like the Honda Civic Type R, the Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy-R completely deactivate the ESP. Tighten the harness straps, the Frenchman runs on the short course with a turbo huff. The acoustics rating goes to Mégane again today. In the empty interior there is a true brand cup ambience under full load. In addition to the hissing four-cylinder turbo, the Akrapovič exhaust system reports with wonderfully vulgar upshift burps.

With its 273 hp, the R with French roots storms from a standstill to 200 km /h in 21.1 seconds. The R from Japan needs two tenths of a second longer for the same exercise. Conclusion? Either the Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy-R too much power or the Honda Civic Type R too little. The latter is subjectively the case. And on the brakes? From 100 km /h, the Renault special model decelerates almost two meters better than the Japanese compact sports car in 35.3 meters.

Mégane R.S. now with Pirelli-Trofeo-R-tires

But we are really interested in what the enault Mégane R.S. Trophy-R today in our test epicenter in Hockenheim. Instead of the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires in the last test, the R.S. now Pirelli-Trofeo-R-tires - according to Renault, the hardcore Mégane will be delivered with the latter tires from now on. Subjectively, the Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy-R in the test with the new tires even greedily. Compared to that of the Honda Civic Type R, the steering requires higher holding forces and looks even more honest overall.

The Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy-R with a cup chassismechanical lock as well as Öhlins dampers adjustable in rebound and compression. When braking and when changing loads, the Frenchman scores with even more agile self-steering behavior. As expected, the grip level of the Trofeo-R tires is very high, but the Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy-R this time don't bring its power to the asphalt quite as well. If the load is applied too early in tight corners, the front wheel on the inside of the curve always wants to build up some slip.

Regardless of this, the Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy-R confirm its performance - with a lap time of 1:14 min, it remains the fastest production front-wheel drive car. And that, although this time with outside temperatures above 20 degrees it did not go as well as in the last test, when temperatures were around freezing point. Now it is clear why the Honda Civic Type R was reluctant to go to the photo shoot in Hockenheim despite its eye-catching appearance.

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