It's a tough one to call, this. Place your bets carefully.

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

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

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?

Then there’s the Acura NSX. It's powered by a 3.5-litre, twin-turbo V6 backed up by a trio of electric motors. Total output is quoted as 581 hp and 476 lb-ft, which goes to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. The result is a 0-100 km/h time of just 2.9 secs, and a top speed of 307 km/h (191 mph).

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 kilometre 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 48 km/h (30 mph) in just 2.5 secs, and 96 km/h (60 mph) in 5.7 secs. Then, 160 km/h (100 mph) passes seven seconds later.

The NSX makes a surprisingly messy getaway, but hits 48 km/h in 1.8 secs, 96 km/h in 3.5 secs, and 160 km/h in 7.4 secs. Massively quicker than the Civic, then.

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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 212.4 km/h (132.0 mph). The NSX crosses the line after 20.8 secs, at 254.6 km/h (158.2 mph).

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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