Two Rs do make a right
By Cam Tait / Tuesday, 20 December 2022 / Loading comments
We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to hot Hondas. All but two generations of Civic Type R – the original EK9 and FD2 saloon – were sold in the UK (in part because they were built over here) often establishing themselves as class-leading hot hatches. Sure, we missed out on the likes of the DC5 Integra Type R and Accord Euro R, but those absences have largely been catered for through grey imports. Without Honda, the Japanese performance car scene in Britain would be pretty thin on the ground.
There are some notable exceptions, of course. We never officially received NSX-R, the car that kicked off the Type R legacy, nor do we get many offerings from Honda’s racing division Mugen. The only time we got to sample the tuning arm’s handiwork was the FN2 Civic Type R, which, in Matt’s words, was “almost unbelievably mad.” But today’s Spotted, the Japanese-only Mugen RR, is on a whole ‘nother level.
The RR (because two Rs are better than one) was effectively Mugen throwing everything in its parts bin at the Civic Type R saloon, a car deemed too hardcore for us brittle Europeans, and consequently dialling it up to 11. Carbon fibre front and rear bumpers, as well as a carbon rear wing and a vented aluminium bonnet, helped shed 10kg. Not a massive chunk, but the Type R saloon was already relatively lithe, what with it being some 200kg lighter than the new FL5. The front seats were also replaced with lightweight, carbon fibre-shelled Recaro buckets, meaning the RR felt every bit as racy as it looked.
Of course, the FD2 was the last Civic Type R to come with a naturally aspirated engine, making it even more remarkable that Mugen managed to extract a further 15hp from the Type R’s K20 motor – bringing total power up to 240hp. The bump came from upgraded camshafts, a new ECU and exhaust system that produced one hell of a guttural scream as you hunt for the 8,600rpm redline. Larger Brembo brakes help bring the mega saloon to a stop, hidden behind Mugen’s lighter seven-spoke, 18-inch alloys.
Needless to say, the Mugen RR would be eaten up had it gone on sale in the UK. Legend has it that, when the RR launched in 2007, all 300 examples were hoovered up in just ten minutes, despite it carrying the equivalent of an £8,000 premium over the regular Civic Type R. That level of demand might not be unprecedented today in a click-and-point era, but it was pretty rare back in 2007. Especially with a global recession looming.
Honda didn’t think Europe could handle the Mugen, so now’s the time to prove them wrong by snapping up this example. Admittedly, values have gone up somewhat since the original went on sale in Japan for 4.8m yen (or £28,000 in UK money). How does £70,000 sound? The good thing is the previous owners haven’t messed with Mugen’s handiwork, so it’s about as stock as a hot hatch that’s been heavily tuned by a motorsport outfit can be. Plus, it’s only tallied 13,285 miles and is widely considered one of the ultimate Honda Civic Type Rs. Besides, you’ll probably be paying serious money to get your hands on a new FL5. At least this RR will let you make liberal use of the ‘VTEC just kicked in, yo’ meme…
SPECIFICATION | HONDA CIVIC MUGEN RR
Engine: 1,998cc inline four cylinder
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],000rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],000rpm
MPG: 31.7 (standard FD2 Type R)
Year registered: 2007
Recorded mileage: 13,000
Price new: c.£28,000 (4.8m yen)
Yours for: £70,000
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