Following the production model’s debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the all-new Honda Civic Type R has set a new benchmark lap time for front-wheel drive cars at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. On 3 April 2017, a pre-production car lapped the world-famous circuit in 7 minutes 43.80 seconds.

The lap time was achieved during the final phase of the model’s testing regime, on a dry track with an optimum ambient temperature for the best tyre and powertrain performance. The new time represents an improvement of nearly 7 seconds compared to the model’s predecessor.

The new Civic Type R was part of the all-new tenth-generation Civic’s development programme – the largest in Honda’s history – and was engineered to deliver the most rewarding drive in the hot hatch segment, both on road and on the race track.

Several factors contributed to the new Civic Type R’s new benchmark time at the Nordschleife. At its heart is the optimised and refined 2.0-litre VTEC TURBO engine, producing 320 PS and 400Nm of torque. New lower gear ratios in the six-speed manual transmission further improve the car’s acceleration, while the new Type R‘s comprehensive aerodynamic package delivers outstanding high-speed stability, with a best-in-class balance between lift and drag.

The high-rigidity body frame of the all-new Civic Type R is 16kg lighter than the previous model’s, with a torsional stiffness improvement of 38 per cent, which provides significant benefits to steering response and cornering stability. New multi-link rear suspension enhances stability under braking and reduces the total roll movement of the car, enabling later braking into corners and helping to achieve higher cornering speeds during the lap.

Ryuichi Kijima is the lead chassis engineer for the Honda Civic Type R. He explains where the all-new model shows the most significant improvements around the Nürburgring compared to the previous generation car.

“The cornering speed achieved in the new Type R is higher because the car features a wider track and tyres, a longer wheelbase, new multi-link suspension in the rear and optimised aerodynamics that improves stability, ” said Kijima-san. “For example, drivers typically enter the corner after Metzgesfeld at around 150 km/h. Even at this medium-speed corner, the speed is around 10 km/h higher due to the new Type R’s excellent stability. So, with improved cornering performance, we can increase the speed throughout the lap, helping the new Type R to achieve a much quicker lap time.”

The development car that achieved the lap time was technically representative of production specification. A full floating roll cage was installed for safety reasons, but its presence did not provide any additional rigidity to the body frame. The extra weight of the cage was compensated for by the temporary removal of the infotainment system and rear seats. The car was using road legal track-focused tyres.

Production of the new Civic Type R will begin in summer 2017 at Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) in Swindon – the global manufacturing hub for the tenth generation Civic hatchback. The Type R will be exported across Europe and to other markets around the world, including Japan and the US. Its arrival in North America will mark the first time that any Honda-badged Type R has been officially sold there.

A new model-specific front splitter in exposed carbon fibre defines the face of the new BMW M4 CS, which cuts an unquestionably dominant and dynamic figure even when standing still. The car’s athletic lines extend along the CFRP bonnet and powerdome, over the roof – with its shallow central channel – and the new, likewise carbon-fibre spoiler lip on the boot lid, to the rear diffuser and its four exhaust tailpipes, integrated with impeccable stylistic fluency. The shape of the M4 CS appears as if cut from a single mould, underlining the design aspirations of the modern sports coupe.

The extensive use of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) ensures that the new BMW M4 CS is extremely light; indeed, its kerb weight is just 1,580 kilograms (acc. to EU, excl. driver). As well as the rear diffuser, large sections of the body are also made from CFRP. The bonnet, for example, is around 25 per cent lighter than that of the BMW M4 as a result. BMW’s many years of experience in the production of carbon-fibre components and carbon fibre-reinforced plastics has paid dividends with the new BMW M4 CS.

Indeed, the CFRP roof is more than six kilograms lighter than a conventional metal item. Another benefit of this extremely light and yet highly robust composite material is the corresponding lowering of the car’s centre of gravity, which endows the BMW M4 CS with even more agile handling.

Unlike the BMW M4 GTS, BMW has deliberately steered the M4 CS away from a focus on the track. For example, the front splitter is not adjustable and instead of a large, adjustable wing, the rear end sports an exposed-carbon-fibre Gurney – i.e. an aerodynamic spoiler lip running across the trailing edge of the boot lid that significantly reduces rear-axle lift once again compared to the M4 with Competition Package. In the interests of everyday practicality, the M4 CS also forgoes the roll cage fitted in the M4 GTS.

The BMW M4 CS was honed at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, one of the world’s most exacting test tracks for high-performance sports cars – proof, if any were needed, that the new BMW M4 CS has been set up to deliver exceptional dynamics as well as unrestricted real-world usability. The M4 CS lapped the ’Ring in 7 min. 38 sec., which ranks it between the BMW M4 and the uncompromisingly track-focused M4 GTS.

The excellent dynamics of the new BMW M4 CS are rooted not only in a fresh round of suspension revisions over the M4 with Competition Package in terms of spring/damper settings, but also in a moderate increase in power for the six-cylinder in-line engine. Fitted in the M4 CS, it develops 460 hp – that’s 10 hp more than in the M4 with Competition Package. Peak torque increases by 50 Nm (37 lb-ft) to 600 Nm (442 lb-ft).

Generous use of Alcantara and leather has allowed the development engineers and designers at BMW M GmbH to conjure up an interior with an enviable sporting feel. Paring down the passenger compartment to the essentials and, in so doing, achieving significant weight savings was also the declared aim with the interior door panels and the side trim in the rear compartment. Both are made from compacted natural fibres – renewable raw materials, in other words – and have been given a special carbon-fibre look.

Conventional door pulls give way to lightweight loops in the BMW M4 CS. And yet, despite the rigorously sporty mindset embodied by its cabin and also expressed in the presence of lightweight M sports seats, passengers in the BMW M4 CS need not go without niceties such as single-zone automatic climate control and a high-quality, specially adapted version of the HiFi System Professional.

Hyundai Motor’s close to production, i30 N, the first model from Hyundai’s high-performance sub-brand N, entered the VLN (Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nürburgring) endurance race on Saturday, April 8, 2017. Hyundai Motor engineers from Namyang, South Korea, and European R&D centers will help hone the car’s performance characteristics ahead of its global launch later this year.

The endurance race – held at the world-famous Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany – provides the opportunity for Hyundai Motor to intensively test i30 N car that feature technical specifications very close to the actual production car. The i30 N cars will be up against cars from other manufacturers that are heavily modified to cope with the demands of the VLN race.

Albert Biermann, Hyundai Motor Head of Vehicle Test and High Performance Development, said: “We want our high performance brand to have considerable racing pedigree so it is important that we compete with minimal modifications. Nürburgring is where the i30 N has undergone much of its testing and chassis development.”

The cars that Hyundai Motor will enter in the race are both equipped with a 2.0-liter turbo engine and six-speed manual transmission – the same powertrain and transmission set-up that will be used in the production i30 N. As they race the car, Hyundai Motor engineers will identify areas for further refinement and potential performance enhancements for the i30 N.

Hyundai Motor has its own 3,600 square metre testing center at the Nürburgring operated by the Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center. The technical team based in Germany takes advantage of the Nordschleife’s 73 corners, gradients of up to 17 per cent and a difference in altitude of some 300 meters, in order to perform a host of demanding tests.