European-Specification Honda Civic Gets a Mugen Special Edition

For car enthusiasts who subscribe to the grass-is-always-greener theory, the 2012 Honda Civic Mugen Type R offers yet another point of corroboration.

This high-performance Civic, tuned by Honda’s longtime partner to squeeze a robust 256 horsepower from its 2.2-liter engine, is limited to European customers. Pricing, Mugen said, has yet to be determined, but a number might be announced at the car’s debut at the Frankfurt auto show next week.

Upgrades to the suspension and brakes differentiate the Mugen from the standard Civic Type R, and it is 30 percent more powerful than that model, according to Honda.

For years, the Civic marketed and sold in Europe has differed outwardly from those in North America. The latest generation is distinguished by its high rear deck and sharp creases. At Frankfurt, Honda is scheduled to reveal the new Civic for Europe, and the market differentiation of the model is expected to continue.

The first Mugen Type R, with a 2-liter engine, was released in 2010 in a very limited edition of 20, all hand-built in Britain. The company says that four of those Civics remain unsold and may be reworked to include the new 2.2-liter motor.

The tweaked Mugen also serves as somewhat of a homage to the current Honda 2-liter engine, known internally as the K20, which is no longer produced in Japan.

“Environmental pressures mean naturally aspirated engines are rapidly being superseded by other engine architectures and technologies,” said Hiro Toyoda, vice president of Mugen Euro, in a statement. “We may never see the like of the K20 in a mainstream production car again.”

Earlier this year, Mugen showed a higher-horsepower version of the CR-Z hybrid. Honda has not committed to producing it, however.