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Mugen hatches hottest Type-R

2009-06-17 07:50
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Honda
Model Mugen Civic RR
Engine 2l
Power 175kW @ 8 000r/min
Torque 216Nm @ 7 000r/min
Transmission Six-speed manual
When it comes to hot hatches, the French build the best.

It’s hardly surprising either, considering their Channel cousins are the world’s most important hot hatchback market. A fait accompli then, that Renaultsport’s Megane R26.R is the most dynamically able hot hatch currently on sale in Britain.

The R26.R’s position of pre-eminence could be under threat though, with Honda tuning specialist, Mugen, planning to fettle the latest Civic Type R with all manner of Oriental engineering trickery.

Last year the fabled Honda tuner gave the Japanese spec Civic Type R sedan a serious going over, resulting in a phenomenally naughty small performance four-door sedan called the Mugen RR.

Now the British hot hatch market is about to benefit from a host of RR migrated upgrades applied to the Civic Type R hatch.

Nothing wrong in principle...

Everybody loves Honda's Civic Type-R.

All those repetitive geometric shapes adorning the bodywork repeated inside the whacky yet ergonomically cosseting cabin.

A screaming naturally aspirated engine partnered to a typically brilliant Honda front-wheel drive gearbox with incomparable shift quality. It really is a hot hatch which tugs at the heartstrings.

Peak power output – at only 148kW – has always seemed a little shy of potential though, even considering the conventional engineering wisdom which dictates front-wheel drive and 150kW is the tipping point for power and control.

Considering Civic Type Rs now run limited-slip differentials though (in Type R Championship Edition trim), a whole new avenue of exploitable front-wheel drive opportunities has opened itself.

Slippy diffs on board, the stock engine output was obviously a cue for Mugen’s technical team to clock in ample overtime in the quest for a Civic Type R which would run with the likes of the R26.R and Focus RS.

Mugen killer instinct

Dynamic purity is a key design directive of the Mugen Type R.

The rear seats and a host of cabin equipment will be unbolted and removed, with carbon-fibre shelled Recaro seats keeping the front occupants in position.

Exterior detailing should benefit from restyled front and rear bumper aprons (fashioned from carbon-fibre – what else?) and a vented bonnet cut from aluminium. Around the rear expect to find a new carbon-fibre spoiler unit and Gurney flap.

The engine rolls new camshafts and features a custom made 4-3-1 exhaust restricted by high-flow catalytic converters. Guaranteeing performance acoustics are generous diameter exhaust tips, sprouting out at each end of the rear diffuser.

Power is projected to boost from 148- to 175kW at a characteristically dizzying (for Honda) 8 000r/min.

Rotational force is never the issue of the day with any Mugen tuned products, and with only 216Nm on song at 7 000r/min for this Type R, expect to exercise the six-speed manual gearbox a lot.

Stoppers are from Brembo, actuating Mugen’s own in-house manufactured grooved discs and braided hoses.

A new damper kit should drop ride height and counter rebound too.

Megane R26.R and Focus RS owners might have to be scanning their rear-view mirrors at trackdays for something Oriental pretty soon.

With a projected price of $58 000, this ultimate front-wheel drive hot hatch from Mugen is a decidedly niche market product.

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