The Honda Civic Type R is faster than ever. As if the 306bhp FK2 with its absurd front grip wasn’t already brisk enough, the current FK8 is more powerful still and even more capable.
No matter how quick the hot Civic gets though, for many, the ultimate version will remain the FD2. Based on the Civic saloon, it never made it to Europe through official channels, and that’s a pity, as it makes the FN2 Type which was sold in these parts look rather limp.
In almost every way, it’s superior. It has fully independent suspension where the FN2’s rear setup is a less sophisticated torsion beam/trailing arm arrangement. It had a mechanical limited-slip differential, while the FN2 did not. Its 2.0-litre ‘K20A’ N/A inline-four developed more power than the ‘K20Z4’ in the Euro-spec car, and it revved higher too.
It was faster, lighter, tauter and more serious than the FN2. Too serious, Honda thought at the time, for the European market. But that didn’t stop the Japanese manufacturer tasking Mugen with making an even more hardcore version. Dubbed the ‘Type RR’, it had a 10kg weight drop, fettled suspension, semi-slick tyres and carbonfibre aero bits, complementing a more powerful 237bhp 2.0-litre inline-four. 300 were built, all in Milano Red.
But it didn’t end there. For the 2008 Tokyo Auto Salon, a more focused version of this more focused version of the most focused Type R ever (still keeping track?) was revealed: the Mugen Civic Type RR Experimental Spec.
This ditched the 2.0-litre for a 2.2 producing 256bhp, which may sound a little pedestrian given the output of the current Type R, but the FK8 is a real fatty compared to the RR Experimental. Thanks to the extensive use of carbonfibre in its construction, this heavily worked-over FD2 weighed a pithy 1095kg.
The front wings, bonnet and wing were both made from carbon, while the bonnet was aluminium. Just to hammer that home, the show car left all these parts unpainted. More interesting perhaps is the use of even more carbonfibre as chassis bracing. Because, you know, the car wasn’t stiff enough already.
The vast brake discs were squeezed by six-piston calipers at the front and two-piston calipers at the rear, while the suspension was revised yet again. A titanium exhaust was added, contributing a drop of 7.6kg to the RR Experimental’s drastic diet. The finishing touch? That’d be a snazzy pair of new headlight clusters to further set the car apart.
The car was never intended as a production possibility so far as we can tell, and it’s not hard to see why. The limited-run Type RR already demanded the equivalent of an £8000 premium over the standard FD2 Type R, itself quite a bit more expensive than the less barmy FN2 sold in Europe. Had the RR Experimental ever gone on sale, it would have ended up being hellishly expensive.
As such, it’s little more than a curious footnote in the Type R’s history; an expression of just what Mugen could do with the most-celebrated Type R if common sense went out of the window completely. One just can’t help but wish the decision makers at the time had a momentary lapse of judgement.