Honda Civic Si Sets Blistering Lap Time In Car & Driver’s Lightning Lap

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This lime green turbo machine shows promise for the future of sport compacts.

When you look at the outright lap times from this year’s Car & Driver Lightning Lap competition, a few things are abundantly clear. First, the Civic Si is an outstanding performance per dollar proposition. Second, the 2017 Civic Si is much faster around this track than a couple of highly regarded ‘traditional’ front-engine rear-drive sports cars on the market right now. With a lap time of 3:14.6, the new Civic Si is 2.3 seconds faster around this layout of VIR than the turbocharged sports phenom Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, and an incredible 3.1 seconds faster than Subaru’s famed BRZ with the new-for-2017 Performance Package. That alone would be quite telling, but it’s also worth mentioning that the Si even smokes Honda’s real-deal sports car 2008 S2000 CR by four tenths of a second, and is nearly ten seconds quicker than a 2012 Civic Si.

Sure, the new Civic Si ranks only 171st on the all-time Lightning Lap list, but in fairness the current lap leader is Porsche’s bonkers hybrid hypercar 918 Spyder, so just being on the list means it holds esteemed company. Besides, it ranks firmly in the top-10 on the all time list of “LL1” class participants, those lap time setters $34,999 and less. It was only beaten this year on pace by the Subaru WRX Performance Package. Consider the Civic’s simple $25,000 price tag and you’ve got a performance bargain for the ages.

Watching the lap, it is a bit strange to see the driver short shifting the car in order to set a fast lap. Being that the new engine’s turbocharged nature sees a fatter torque curve down low, there’s really no incentive to revving the poor little 1.5-liter engine out to redline at every shift anymore. While that was a true indicator of Si engines in the past, Honda is getting with the times and providing a torquier and more livable engine. What do you think about the new car’s sound and power delivery? Is it blasphemous, or are lap times all that matter?

[Source: Car And Driver Magazine on YouTube]


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