Both of Honda’s current performance flagships are extremely fast.

The Civic Type R is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that features some mind-boggling tech to realize 306 horsepower (228 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton meters) of torque. That makes it the most powerful and consequently the fastest front-wheel-drive hot hatch there has ever been, with an official 0 to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 168 mph (270 km/h).

Then there’s the Honda/Acura NSX. It's powered by a 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 backed up by a trio of electric motors. Total output is quoted as 581 hp (427 kW) and 476 lb-ft (645 Nm), which goes to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. The result is a 0 to 62 mph time of just 2.9 secs, and a top speed of 191 mph (307 km/h).

Now, it’s self-evident that the NSX would blow the Civic into the weeds in a head-to-head drag race. But what happens if you give the hatchback a five-second head start against the supercar?

British magazine Auto Express went down to Bruntingthorpe airfield - which has the longest runway in the whole United Kingdom - to find out.

Now, five seconds is quite a long time, but over the course of the one kilometer (3,280 feet) race, you would expect the NSX to have enough pace in hand over the Civic to reel it in. Right?

Despite the damp conditions, the Civic leaps off the line, hitting 30 mph (48 km/h) in just 2.5 secs, and 60 mph (96 km/h) in 5.7 secs. 100 mph (160 km/h) passes seven seconds later.

The NSX makes a surprisingly messy getaway, but hits 30 mph in 1.8 secs, 60 mph in 3.5 secs, and 100 mph in 7.4 secs. Massively quicker than the Civic, then.

But those numbers are against the clock. The full story only emerges when the cars reach the line. The Civic gets there in 25.0 secs, at 132.0 mph (212.4 km/h). The NSX crosses the line after 20.8 secs, at 158.2 mph (254.6 km/h).

The NSX was 4.2 secs quicker over the distance, but remember that the Civic had a five-second head start. So it actually crossed the line 0.8 secs ahead of its big brother.

Score one for the little brothers.


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Gallery: Honda NSX vs Honda Civic Type R

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