One of the best cars to come out of Japan recently is the Mugen Civic RR. Starting life as a saloon Civic Type-R, the Mugen RR then has the important bits stripped out and replaced with racing kit including carbonfibre bumpers and spoiler, aluminium bonnet, lightweight alloys, bespoke brakes and super-stiff suspension. The 2.0-litre VTEC engine receives new cams, a special 4-3-1 exhaust and high-flow catalysts to raise power to 237bhp version of the 2.0-litre VTEC engine, up from 197bhp in the standard Type-R.
The Mugen RR was only available in the saloon shape and went on sale in Japan very briefly in 2007, with a handful of cars coming tp the UK as grey imports, leaving Honda fans frustrated that the Civic Type-R is only a shadow of what it could be. Now Mugen are said to be considering doing the same job on the UK spec Type-R and are aiming their sites at the highly acclaimed Renaultsport Megane R26.R.
That would be an interesting battle, particularly considering the difference in the two cars engines. The naturally aspirated Mugen-tuned VTEC delivers 237bhp at 8,000rpm and will continue to rev up to 9,000rpm, where the Megane 26.R kicks out 227bhp lower down the rev range at 5,500rpm. In terms of torque, the Mugen is up 10% on standard with 160lb.ft at 7,000rpm, but the turbo-assisted Megane easily beats that with 229lb.ft at just 3,000rpm. This is typical for Honda’s high-revving VTEC engines, and as long as you keep the engine in the sweetspot they are an absolute blast.
The bad news is that if you want a new Mugen Civic hatch you may have to pay out over £35k, if the car goes on sale. On the bright side, the Mugen extras could be made available for retro-fit to second-hand cars, opening up an exciting world of possibilities for existing owners.