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If you’re into sporty Hondas, you can’t do much better than the Honda Civic Type R and the first-generation Acura NSX. Both cars are special in their own right, as the Civic represents Honda’s current engineering at its finest, while the NSX did the same during the time that it was in production. But now, years later, these enthusiast dream cars present an interesting comparison between new-school technology and old-school precision.

But which one is faster around a race track? Fortunately, Fifth Gear recently posted a video that answers that question.

The 2021 Honda Civic Type R vs the 2005 Acura NSX

a blue 2005 Acura NSX
2005 Acura NSX | Acura

In case you need a refresher on which car has what, we’ll break it down for you. The 2005 Acura NSX that Fifth Gear brought to the showdown is outfitted with a 3.2-liter naturally aspirated V6 engine that produces 280 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque. That might not sound like much, but one thing that the NSX always proved was that power wasn’t everything.

Instead, the NSX provided a great balance with its aluminum chassis and a double-wishbone suspension that worked well with its mid-engine, rear-drive layout. On the other hand, the 2021 Honda Civic Type R provides an opposite setup with its front-engine, front-wheel-drive configuration.

And while you might think that the Civic is at a major disadvantage, take into consideration that it’s about 100 pounds lighter than the NSX, and it’s motivated by a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that puts out 320 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Performance-wise, according to Fifth Gear’s data, the NSX is able to get from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds while the Civic Type R can do it in 5.8.

a blue 2021 Honda Civic Type R on a track
2021 Honda Civic Type R | Honda

How well does each car do on a race track?

The Fifth Gear presenter, Jason Plato, initially took the Acura NSX around the track for a few warm-up laps. In addition to calling the chassis “gorgeous” and the steering “beautiful,” he also noted the car’s suspension is “supple yet stiff,” which is what you would want out of a road-going supercar. Ultimately, he was able to click off a hot lap time of 1 minute, 21.3 seconds around the Castle Combe track.

When it came to driving the Honda Civic Type R, it seemed as though Plato thought the opposite of the car’s ride qualities. Since he had the drive setting turned to “+R” mode, the Civic tended to bounce excessively despite its supercar-like handling prowess. “It has amazing grip in the corners,” Plato said. “The only thing is that the rear is a little too planted, it definitely needs more rotation.”

Otherwise, he praised the Civic Type R for its power and handling overall. When it came time to do the hot lap, the Civic Type R managed to finish the track with a lap time of 1 minute, 17.5 seconds.

Does that mean that the Civic Type R is faster than an Acura NSX?

Yes, and no. While the latest Honda Civic Type R can complete a lap time faster than the NSX, that does mean that it’s technically faster, but it really depends on the driver as well. It’s easy to bench race these two cars and make comparisons all day.

But the main takeaway is that Honda’s current technological advances can supremely outweigh the more analog engineering configurations of the past. And this video clearly shows that.


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