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Top Gear drag races #5: Honda Civic Type R vs VW Golf R

Time for two very different takes on the hot-hatch formula to face off

Yes, yes, yes, we are well aware that hot hatches represent attainable performance, that they should place chuckability above outright power and straight-line acceleration. But bragging rights are bragging rights.

Although both fishing for roughly the same customers, the Volkswagen Golf R and Honda Civic Type R are very different, erm, rods. One is a Manga-inspired eye-ache, the other as subtle as magnolia curtains, and that’s just the styling.

The Golf has all the tools for a fast getaway: four-wheel drive, a DSG gearbox with launch control and 296bhp at it disposal, while the Civic relies on the front tyres for propulsion and is only available with a manual ‘box. But, the Honda claws its way back into the game with more power (306bhp) and around 100kg less to haul around.

Intriguing stuff. It could be the gearboxes that make all the difference here – after all, a human can never be as fast as a machine, can it? Click on to find out.

Come back next Friday for drag race #6

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