RE: Civic Type R Mugen: PH Blog

RE: Civic Type R Mugen: PH Blog

Friday 21st August 2015

Civic Type R Mugen: PH Blog

There won't be another fast Honda in the conventional VTEC sense - time to try one of the last then!



Here's a sad fact for you: the Suzuki Swift Sport is the last naturally aspirated hot hatch on sale. Everything else you can buy, from a lowly Fiesta Red to a BMW M135i, has some form of forced induction. Many of them are very good, but aren't hot hatches more than any other car about chasing every last rev for whatever performance is there? Don't misunderstand, some of the latest hot hatches are truly excellent, but - cliche alert - something about the experience has been lost in the move to turbos.

Shy and retiring it certainly is not!
Shy and retiring it certainly is not!
So when the opportunity to spend some time in a hot hatch that couldn't possibly be more about revs and less about low effort torque, we jumped. Well, I did. To say I have a thing for fast Hondas might be underplaying it. Heck, I even got a pretty ropey Accord into Shed.

Now I could begin with the absurdly stiff ride, the seat that's a little too high and the ludicrous new price of £38,599 but that would be missing the point. Let's talk about the engine. Over a conventional FN2 Civic Type R, the Mugen received new cams, pistons, intake and exhaust tweaks plus an ECU remap. Power is 240hp at 8,300rpm. Torque? Who needs torque when you have revs? OK, it's 157lb ft. At 6,250rpm...

Even at low revs, the Mugen's incredible response and willingness is exciting. There's so little inertia to the way it revs, a trick even the best turbos haven't yet managed to replicate. It comes as a quite a surprise in fact.

Wheels save 5kg each and look ace
Wheels save 5kg each and look ace
But soon the oil has warmed up. The slip road is clear. Third would more than suffice but second would be even better. What was a free-revving engine at low revs becomes totally frenzied from 5,600rpm, the cam changing and noise hardening as the Civic now shrieks and sprints its way to somewhere nearly 9,000rpm. Good grief it's exciting. So exciting. Not exactly easy to access or even mega fast in the face of new hatches, but thrilling to a level they just wouldn't get. It's stunning.

Second to third as quick as possible is just brilliant too, the shift weight, speed and throw beyond reproach. Honda is known for great manuals and this one doesn't disappoint. It drops the revs right back into the VTEC zone (yo) and you're off again but all too soon the motorway traffic is looming and it's into sixth to cruise with them.

'Cruise' is a loose term when associated with the Civic Mugen. Not only is that wild 2.0-litre spinning at about 4,000 revs, people are looking. A lot. The old Type R was not a shy car in any form, but with a sod-off rear wing and gleaming Championship White paint it attracts a great deal of attention. Not much of it is positive. To some B-roads...

Eyes on the prize (aka the rev counter)
Eyes on the prize (aka the rev counter)
Here that maniacal appetite for revs can really be indulged, aided by some sensibly close ratios and that glorious gearbox. The official line from Honda was "not to rag the s**t out of it" but, but... I didn't, because the grumbly brakes and unrelentingly stiff ride temper your B-road pace. Honest. I just ensured the straight bits were as fun as possible...

The Mugen feels built for a track, the uprated suspension lacking the compliance of the best hot hatches that work so well in Britain. I have no doubt it would be superb on a circuit as the grip just feels phenomenal and the upper reaches of the rev range would never be left. Those fleeting experiences of holding the brakes in second through a bend to then explode out the other side will remain for a while though. It's spectacular.

Given only 20 were ever made for the UK, it's not surprising to find no Civic Mugens for sale. Especially as, a year after launch, four remained unsold and the 2.2-litre model was developed to encourage buyers. I also have no doubt that a new Civic Type R would be miles faster than a Mugen down a road and on a track. But that engine alone ensures the Mugen has very, very special place in the annals of fast car history and also in this little fanboy's heart. What a magnificent thing.

Matt

Unfortunately we didn't get any audio of the Mugen. See here for an old Autocar vid. The noise certainly comes across!
 









[Photos: Ben Lowden]

Author
Discussion

WCZ

Original Poster:

6,426 posts

134 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
Buyer beware when looking at these second hand, I travelled to see one which was advertised as a mungen but in reality just had the exhaust

zebra

4,482 posts

154 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
WCZ said:
Buyer beware when looking at these second hand, I travelled to see one which was advertised as a mungen but in reality just had the exhaust
Unfortunate spelling mistake fella:


https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&a...

Studio117

4,250 posts

131 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
zebra said:
WCZ said:
Buyer beware when looking at these second hand, I travelled to see one which was advertised as a mungen but in reality just had the exhaust
Unfortunate spelling mistake fella:


https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&a...
biggrin

loose cannon

5,367 posts

181 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
Were they not something ridiculous like £50k for a couple of higher lift cams and a spoiler and still out done by an r26 let alone the r

750turbo

5,784 posts

164 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
loose cannon said:
Were they not something ridiculous like £50k for a couple of higher lift cams and a spoiler and still out done by an r26 let alone the r
Nope, they had the proper Mugen treatment.

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loose cannon

5,367 posts

181 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
Which is what exactly ?

havoc

24,305 posts

175 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
750turbo said:
loose cannon said:
Were they not something ridiculous like £50k for a couple of higher lift cams and a spoiler and still out done by an r26 let alone the r
Nope, they had the proper Mugen treatment.
yes

This is the Rennsport version to the 'standard' Type R's GT3-esque approach.

Arguably designed more for Japanese roads and tracks - the car would be undone by a properly gnarly B-road* - but a ridiculous statement-of-intent in the hot-hatch world, without descending into the modern bhp wars.




* Hell, my FD2 can be.

750turbo

5,784 posts

164 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
loose cannon said:
Which is ?
Gooogle it as I CBA, I am just quoting from memory,and I think it was £40K, not £50 as stated above.

(I had tarted up FN2 called the M200, so had a slight interest at the time)

Axionknight

8,380 posts

75 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
loose cannon said:
Were they not something ridiculous like £50k for a couple of higher lift cams and a spoiler and still out done by an r26 let alone the r
The article even states what the base price of the car is........

loose cannon

5,367 posts

181 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
But £40 to £50k laughsorry I shouldn't but it wasn't even groundbreaking

Axionknight

8,380 posts

75 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
It probably wasn't, but bespoke/low volume engineering is expensive.

loose cannon

5,367 posts

181 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
Very true but to expensive for me I'm afraid,the 275 trophy r is far to expensive in reality but this is on another level tbh
I'd rather just buy the bits and bolt them on myself £50k indeed hehe
God only knows how much they would want for a new shape mugen type r !

Edited by loose cannon on Friday 21st August 13:28

Axionknight

8,380 posts

75 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
loose cannon said:
Very true but to expensive for me I'm afraid
I'd rather just buy the bits and bolt them on myself £50k indeed hehe
The Mugen ones? Check the price list, fking arm and a leg man!

loose cannon

5,367 posts

181 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
You no the main problem axion is I'm just not the rich man I wish I was biggrin

Axionknight

8,380 posts

75 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
Nor am I frown

loose cannon

5,367 posts

181 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
Well it's not even the money I just want loads of cars and somewhere to keep and run them all everything else is a side order in my little world silly

DS197

989 posts

46 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
loose cannon said:
Well it's not even the money I just want loads of cars and somewhere to keep and run them all everything else is a side order in my little world silly
Well said beer

sh33n

164 posts

127 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
Wonder how much one would go for now?

I'd imagine like the R26R they will hold pretty good value.

Many man points to whomever bought one new / used - couldn't lavish that sort of money out however when the std. one would be almost as good at a fraction of the price.

Hackney

5,487 posts

148 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
loose cannon said:
Were they not something ridiculous like £50k for a couple of higher lift cams and a spoiler and still out done by an r26 let alone the r
So you didn't even make it as far as the third paragraph?

Guvernator

9,802 posts

105 months

Friday 21st August 2015
quotequote all
I've not managed to have a go in a Mugen (pretty difficult considering how few where made) but I have had a go in plenty of "normal" Type R's and without fail the engines have always been the star of the show so I can't even manage how good a Mugen tuned one must be.

Razor sharp response and an engine that seems to want to keep spinning and spinning, it's amazing to hear the engine sing, look down and see you've still got another 2000rpm to play with. Unfortunately lots of people spoil them by putting loud exhausts on them which drowns out the noise. Be sensible and just stick a decent air filter kit on it to release some more of induction noise and hear that engine sing, yes a 4 pot engine CAN sound good.

Unfortunately we probably won't see the likes again due to emissions regs etc but also due to the fact that it seems people don't want to have to work hard to extract enjoyment from a car any more. I remember posting on here once (where you'd hope the audience would be more receptive) about the joys of revving to 8000rpm+ only to get many posts asking "what's the point" and "why would you want to when a modern turbo gives you more power at 3000rpm"? Err the point is it's fun, requires a bit of effort on your part and because you can, I seem to have been left behind the times. Don't get me wrong, some of the modern turbo engines are VERY effective but they are all beginning to merge into one diesel-alike amalgam of dullness.