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The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

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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