The first carbon item on the list is the front bumper. It was decided to make this entire piece in composite in order to shave off precious weight from the very front of the car in order to improve weight distribution and balance. Its aggressive and angular design helps the Mugen RR get an even more in-your-face attitude while generating some useful downforce. A set of HID foglights have also been integrated into its sides. Together with the bumper a carbon air guide system was developed to channel cooling air to the front discs. The grille, which is mostly for show, is made from deeply polished carbon and is adorned with the RR badge.
The hood, made from lightweight aluminum, features two air outlets which help expel air from the engine bay. Front fender trims create a race-car-like over-fender look while the side skirts help stabilize the car at high speed. These merge into the rear fender trims, giving an assertive lowered contour to the body. The rear bumper features a very angular feel thanks to the complex integrated diffuser that improves under-car aerodynamics. The adjustable wing on the rear spoiler is made from carbon fiber and features an integrated gurney flap to help increase downforce at higher speeds. An F1-inspired LED rear foglight nestles within the rear diffuser, which is painted in contrasting black to continue the black-on-red theme of the car.
Open the driver’s door and much of the exterior feel is carried into the interior with the carbon-backed Recaro semi-buckets. These deeply contoured seats are upholstered in soft suede-like material and embroidered with the Mugen RR logo. A Mugen marked instrumentation is joined by a set of additional gauges mounted in one of the DIN spaces. To help cut shift times, the gear lever position has been lowered by 25 mm and a Mugen shift knob thrown in. Everything in the cabin is driver oriented — the only toys are the A/C unit and the power windows, there really is nothing else. Just what you expect to see in a car like this!
After picking the car up from the Mugen HQ just outside Tokyo, we headed straight to Mt. Tsukuba to find some roads where the Double R could be let loose. We arrived to find semi-wet roads, incredibly slippery in certain places — perfect to see how this car behaves in varying conditions. On the fast third and fourth gear stretch of meandering road leading up to the more involving sections, the Mugen RR truly shined. If kept past the iVTEC switch over point just below 6,000-rpm, the K20A always responded with instant acceleration at even the smallest prod of the accelerator. The gear-changes via the wonderfully notched gearbox are fast and precise, but fall out of iVTEC and progress becomes a little lethargic, but it’s actually worth dropping into lower rpm’s just to feel that kick in the pants when the more extreme cam lobes kick into action.
Mugen’s amazing RR somehow feels more linked to the DC2 than the DC5, as it manages to combine the refined qualities of a modern car with the more extreme character of past Type R icons. The handling perfectly exploits the light curb weight of 1255 kg, the impressively rigid chassis and the monumental grip of the Bridgestone tires. The result is a car that always seems to have more grip than you could possibly want, and you find yourself pushing further and further into its abilities. With the trick torque sensing LSD you can floor the throttle in second gear coming out of off-camber tight corners and there’s no unwanted drama, even in the wet! This has to be without a doubt the world’s best front-engine front-wheel drive production car every built. There’s no question the Mugen RR will double your driving pleasure in every imaginable way, so the only real question left is whether the extra performance and exclusivity warrant paying close to $18,000 on top of a regular $26,000 JDM Civic Type R? While nudging close to that 8,000 rpm red-line on the roads of Mt. Tsukuba, we certainly thought so.