770 HP Audi S8 Battles RS3-Swapped Golf R in Ultra-Close Drag Race

Modified Audi S8 vs Volkswagen Golf R Drag Race

This Audi S8 makes far more power than the Golf R, but it also weighs more, resulting in one of the closest matchups we’ve seen.

Drag racing is a fascinating sport for a variety of reasons, but to us, one of the best things about it is getting to watch very different machines battle it out in a straight line. While many sports match up competitors based on skill or capability, that isn’t always the. case in drag racing, at least in the “run what you brung” sort of situation. That’s exactly what took place in this latest showdown conducted by the YouTube channel Officially Gassed, which pits a pair of modified German vehicles – an Audi S8 and Volkswagen Golf R – against each other.

However, these two cars do share one thing in common that most wouldn’t expect – an engine, or at least an engine from the same manufacturer. That’s because the Golf R seen here is packing the same 2.5-liter inline-five cylinder engine as the Audi RS3, and in this guise, it’s been boosted to around 520 horsepower thanks to a tune and a few other goodies. It also utilizes the RS3’s gearbox and rear end, and weighs in at around 3,300 pounds.

Modified Audi S8 vs Volkswagen Golf R Drag Race

In the other corner, we have the Audi S8, which has received one big update for its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 as well, giving it a substantial 770 horsepower to play around with. Amazingly enough, this car needs nothing more than just a tune to achieve that mark, but as one might imagine, it’s quite a bit heavier than the Golf R, tipping the scales at around 4,400 pounds.

Modified Audi S8 vs Volkswagen Golf R Drag Race

The very first race between these two is conducted from a roll, and despite their many differences, it’s a shockingly close one, with the Golf R just barely taking the win. However, there was some controversy regarding the VW driver jumping early, and the next go-round, they seem to be too conservative, giving the S8 an easy win. Amazingly, the third race was so close that it’s impossible to call, so the team goes to the numbers to decide, which shows that the Audi was indeed quicker.

From a dig, the Audi S8 proves to be superior in the first-go round, though the second round produces another race that was essentially too close to call. Thus, the two line up for a third time yet again, and in another photo finish, the Golf R takes home the victory. After reviewing the footage later on, however, it appears that the S8 actually won the second match, but regardless, this is easily some of the best racing we’ve seen in a while, which means that we’re all winners for getting to watch it all take place.

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Honda Civic Type R review

Honda Civic Type R review

We put the latest incarnation of Honda’s hot hatch through its paces – on the road and on track…

There are a handful of new cars worthy of a genuine fanbase, and the Honda Civic Type R is one of them.

With a pedigree stretching back to 1997, it’s become a legendary model in the automotive world – and now it’s the turn of the sixth generation Civic Type R (which is based on the 11th generation Civic).

Known as the FL5 in Honda-speak, it takes over from the FK8 (2017-22).

Honda Civic Type R review

I had high hopes for the new Civic Type R after driving the impressive family hatchback version of the now hybrid-only Civic, because it handled very well.

I praised its agile drive, adding, “it stays flat in more challenging corners, there’s good grip and the steering is nicely weighted, which all bodes well for the upcoming Type R”.

Well, I got my first taste of the new Honda Civic Type R at a wet Thruxton circuit, preceded by a varied road route on and around a sodden Salisbury Plain.

The new Type R is really a finely tuned evolution of the acclaimed outgoing model, so a tough act to follow.

Honda Civic Type R review

Already the track record holder at Suzuka, Honda reckons the FL5 “is a fitting way to celebrate 30 years of the Type R nameplate”.

Priced from £46,995, it’s the best looking Type R yet. Inheriting the standard Civic’s softer lines and good proportions. Let’s say it’s less boy racer and all grown up.

Sure, there are plenty of extra aerodynamics compared to its sensible sibling, but even the considerable rear wing seems restrained compared to previous generations.

Unlike the regular Civic, there’s no electrical assistance. Instead, there’s a more powerful-than-before 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

Honda Civic Type R review

It’s got 325bhp to offer up – slightly more than the 316bhp you got in the old car – as well as 420Nm of torque.

Slightly swifter than its predecessor, it can sprint to 60mph in a time of 5.2 seconds and go on to a top speed of 170mph. In terms of economy, that’s 34.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 186g/km.

Inside, it’s had a much-needed update. Not only has the overall quality improved, but there’s also a new infotainment system (lifted straight from the standard Civic).

Add red Alcantara-trimmed sports seats up front, red carpets, a brushed metal gear knob and a ‘serial plate’ with the car’s build number on the dashboard, and you know you’re driving something special.

Honda Civic Type R review

There are three drive modes (Comfort, Sport and R) and they alter the car’s engine, steering and suspension feel.

There’s also a new ‘Individual’ drive setting, where the steering, adaptive dampers, rev match system and engine response can all be adjusted separately.

Comfort is just fine for long journeys and cruising motorways. Sport sharpens things up nicely, while things get hardcore when you engage the R mode.

Honda Civic Type R review

Here, the driver’s display switches to a new layout, more familiar to racing drivers. There’s a linear rev graphic flanked by a digital speed readout and 12 separate items of vehicle information, ranging from coolant temperature to steering angle and a G-meter.

The idea is to allow drivers to view their inputs and how the vehicle reacted. Ultimately, it can help you see where improvements can be made and go faster on track.

For comparison, I drove the outgoing FK8 on track before the new FL5. Overall, the FL5 is more sophisticated, forgiving and responsive. I had a couple of moments (corrected thanks to my razor-sharp reflexes!) in the FK8 on a couple of corners at soggy Thruxton, but no such drama in the FL5.

Honda Civic Type R review

I definitely felt more confident in the FL5, which ties in with the biggest gains over the old Type R, namely the improved chassis rigidity and handling performance as a result of tweaks to the steering and suspension.

Needless, to say, the new Honda Civic Type R is incredibly fast – and not just in a straight line. Its ability to corner at speed is phenomenal for a front-wheel drive car, while the traction on offer is nothing short of astonishing.

Honda Civic Type R review

The brakes deserve praise too. Not only do the Brembos (in conjunction with wider 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres) work superbly, but Honda has made changes to the front wheel arches to aid cooling.

Tweaks have also been made to the exhaust system (there are now three pipes!), so the soundtrack is better than ever. Naturally, it’s at its loudest in the R setting, but some may also find a long trip in Sport mode tiresome, so best to stick to Comfort, which is easier on the ears and offers a more compliant ride.

Final word to the smooth and precise six-speed manual gearbox.

Honda Civic Type R review

And as if all that isn’t good enough, then the Civic Type R is a practical daily driver too. There’s ample space up front and only the tallest of rear seat passengers have reason to complain (the penalty for that swooping roofline). You also get the same 410 litres of luggage capacity as the standard Civic, expanding to a useful 1,212 litres with the back seats flipped.

So, the new Civic Type R is hard to fault. Perhaps the only fly in the ointment is its premium price and the fact that it will be offered in very limited numbers in the UK – and we’re talking hundreds, not thousands.

Verdict: The Honda Civic Type R has matured into hot hatch royalty. Remarkably good to drive, it’s an awesome blend of performance, driving engagement, technology and practicality.

Honda UK

Honda Civic Type R review

RS 6 Avant Leaves Golf R in the Dust and the Wind

Audi RS 6 Avant vs Volkswagen Golf R

One’s a hot hatch. The other’s a hot wagon. However, the inter-family rivalry is one-sided in heavy favor of the monster RS 6 Avant.

Need to haul the whole family around, but don’t want a crossover? The Audi RS 6 Avant is the best answer. Not only do you and yours get tons of room for the kids and groceries, there’s also the big V8 with 591 horses to get you to all the after-school happenings in a flash. Why settle for anything else?

However, there’s another option out there for those who prefer compact hatches: the Volkswagen Golf R. The 2.0-liter turbo-four slams down 315 horses on its way to IKEA. Yet, Archie Hamilton learns that while the VAG wins the whole comparison, the little Golf is no match for the behemoth RS 6 Avant.

Audi RS 6 Avant vs Volkswagen Golf R

“It is Golf R versus RS 6 time,” said Hamilton. “How is this Golf R gonna do? I’ve got no idea. But what I do know is that this car matched an A 45 S. So I decided, ‘Let’s put it up against the daddy of all daddies of dailies, the Audi RS 6. Let’s see how it gets on for me. This is all about how much can it keep up with the RS 6.”

As it would turn out for Hamilton, not at all. Though he knew it would lose to the RS 6 Avant, the monster wagon left the Golf R far behind. On both pulls, the Audi stole the show and then some, proving that four more cylinders paired with a turbo will always beast all over a turbo-four. Perhaps a rolling start may even things up. Right?

Audi RS 6 Avant vs Volkswagen Golf R

“I messed it up,” said James Exton. “That wasn’t great, I must be honest. But now, I’m pulling straight ahead […] There’s no doubt about it: the RS 6 still in gear speed is quicker, but that’s no surprise. Bigger engine, isn’t it? More power.”

On both 30-mph rolls, the RS 6 Avant swept its baby cousin. Not even with Exton’s twin, Tom Exton, cheating by jumping the line on the second roll could stop the Audi’s dominance.

Audi RS 6 Avant vs Volkswagen Golf R

“The moral of the story on this one is that the Golf R couldn’t really keep up,” said Hamilton.

Perhaps an RS 3 might be more the Golf R’s speed?

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Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Louisville.com/Louisville Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aside from her contributions to Audi World, Aubernon can be found all through the IB Auto Group family, including 6 Speed Online, LS1Tech, and Team Speed. She also has her own independent automotive blog, Aubernon Highway.

Aubernon can be reached through her public Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts. She is wary of those she doesn’t already know, though; thus, she may not respond to messages sent.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.