The Honda NSX, when it was introduced in 1990, produced 252bhp. This was comparable to a standard Porsche 911 at the time.

By the time production ceased, although it was a little more powerful, it was easily outgunned by other lower-tier super cars.

Today there are some hot hatches that beat that figure in standard configuration, and some that come close.

One that doesn’t is the Honda Civic Type R. About to disappear from price lists in the UK the Civic Type R – the fastest Honda on sale since the S2000 was decommissioned last year.

My first encounter with the Mazda RX-8 was on a special handling course set up around the paddock area of the Laguna Seca racetrack, Monterey, California.

It was January 2003 and the long-lead media event seven months before the first cars arrived in the UK.

Working on a publication dealing with company cars, the idea of a £20,000 genuine four seater that looked like the RX-8 seemed impossible. I couldn’t believe my luck.

Being an Emap staffer, I was called in to help a colleague with a secret twin-test.