The hot Mugen Civic Type R
In spite of the jet-lag, it's hard to suppress the excitement as we approach Honda's Twin Ring Motegi race circuit after a 12-hour flight and a three-hour coach ride north from Tokyo.
PistonHeads and our Honda/Mugen competition winner Nick Ashby have come to Motegi to get an exclusive first look at the Honda Civic Type R Mugen Concept. This is a super-hardcore version of the Civic Type R that should put the Civic firmly in the realms of super-hatchdom, alongside the likes of the Megane R26 R and Ford Focus RS.
Ever since we learned of this exciting project, we've had high hopes that Honda's quasi-factory tuning arm Mugen would propel the
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Civic Type R to the top of the tree, and from the moment we set eyes on the car those hopes appeared well-founded. Yes, the Mugen bodykit is outlandish, but the overall effect adds a sense of purpose and menace to the edgy FN2 Civic's styling.
We're here at Motegi's south circuit test facility - a rather nondescript rectangle of tarmac with some white lines painted on to make a circuit - to witness the final shakedown tests of the Type R Mugen before the car heads off to Mugen's Northamptonshire European base for final testing. We'll also play our own small part, as we'll be the first Westerners to get a turn behind the wheel.
The car is visually dramatic...
It's a serious piece of kit, too. Beneath the lairy body is a 237bhp version of the K20A 2.0-litre VTEC that can also be found under the bonnet of the JDM Civic Mugen RR special edition from 2007. Torque is up, too, jumping from 142lb ft to a more healthy 162lb ft. The extra poke is transmitted via torsen limited-slip differential, the track has been widened by 10mm, the car sits 5mm lower and the springs and dampers have been uprated. Mugen has also developed bespoke monoblock four-pot callipers for the new car.
You'll be able to find out more about our experiences with the super-Civic - in words, pictures and video -
...and packs a 237bhp punch
on PistonHeads soon. For now, suffice to say that this exciting car lives up to the high standards set by its spec sheet - and that it’s far more than just a stripped-out track special. Just how much more, you’ll have to wait to find out, but you’ll find out here on PH first.
Tomorrow we visit Mugen’s M-TEC HQ, to talk to the people behind the Civic Mugen Concept, and to find out more about what makes the company tick.