Honda Civic Type R Mugen Ambleside
Honda Civic Type R Mugen
Meet the crazy Civic that’s gunning for Ford’s Focus RS! This one-off Type R has been modified by tuning company Mugen, and it’s aiming to
put Honda’s hot hatch back at the top of the class.
In the past few years, the 198bhp 2.0-litre Type R has been overtaken by ever more powerful rivals, such as the 301bhp Focus RS and 227bhp Renault Mégane R26.R. So the Japanese firm asked Mugen to produce a more powerful concept, with a view to putting the car on sale in limited numbers. And we’ve driven it!
With expertise that ranges from F1 engines to upgrades for Honda’s other road cars, Mugen knows its stuff. For the Civic Type R it has added lightweight body panels, a totally new suspension set-up, sticky tyres and bespoke brakes.
There is also a stripped-out cabin that loses the rear bench completely, gains some extra white dials and replaces the front chairs with low-slung Recaro bucket seats complete with racing harnesses. The 2.0-litre VTEC engine benefits from a fresh ECU, new pistons and camshafts plus a stainless
steel exhaust system. It now produces 237bhp and 213Nm of torque – improvements of 39bhp and 19Nm respectively.
Combined with a weight saving of 105kg, these power increases make a big difference, and the 0-60mph time drops 0.5 seconds to six seconds. Beyond 5,000rpm the Type R becomes as ferocious as a BTCC race car, wailing its way to 8,500rpm and making you glad that the Recaro buckets hold you firmly in place. Thanks to a sharp racing paddle clutch and a slick six-speed gearbox, the only limit on how fast you can change ratio is how quickly you can move your left arm and leg.
Show the Mugen a corner and it gets even better. Grip is incredible, body roll non-existent and the meaty steering full of feel. As with the Mégane R26.R the ride is very firm, and there’s plenty of engine and exhaust noise. However, the Mugen Type R is amazing fun on a fast road, and we reckon it would be even better on a track. Only 25 models will be made available for sale next year, and each will cost at least £35,000.
We agree that’s a lot of money for a hot hatch – but we don’t think Honda will have any trouble finding buyers.
Rival: Mégane R26.R
AS with the Honda, the Mégane is hardcore. It has a super-stiff set-up and no rear seats, but it is brilliant fun on a race track, where you can exploit
its turbocharged engine and engaging handling to the full.