The current Honda Civic Type R is the most expensive Civic ever sold to the public. That is if you exclude the first FK8 Civic Type R that sold at an auction for $200,000 for charity and various flippers over the years. The most loaded 2023 Type R you can get, sans Honda’s accessories, will set you back $51,400, before markups of course. That’s a lot of money for a performance Civic. Just over 15 years ago another car was wearing the crown for most expensive Civic.
Back in 2008, Honda was selling tons of eighth-generation Civics. With the eighth generation came the introduction of the quickest Si to date. This gen was also the first time an Si sedan was offered. Seeing how popular the Si was with the tuner crowd, Honda decided to introduce something a bit different to appeal to both the tuner folks and the young fans who lusted after both the Si and tuned Civics: a factory tuned Si.
Inside was identical to a stock Si save for an aluminum Mugen shift knob and a small placard above the shifter that read “ Mugen Si Limited Edition”.
Weirdly though, Mugen didn’t touch the Si’s 2.0-liter 197 horsepower I4, which some found strange for a tuner who was known for, you know, tuning Honda engines. The result was an Si that handled better than the stock one, but wasn’t any faster. When Motor Trend got their hands on one, they said the package inspired more confidence.
The rear wheels seem to follow the fronts more closely; there is no slop or wobble in quick esses, no instability in high-g sweepers, just pure carving precision and the heady feeling of being able to chuck the Mugen into every corner and pull it clean on the other side.
Car and Driver was impressed by the handling as well, but were less impressed with the slower performance. All the Mugen parts added weight to the tune of 81 more pounds over the standard Si. This resulted in a zero to 60 mph time that was 0.1 second slower and a slightly lower number on the skidpad; 0.88 g vs the standard Si coupe’s 0.91 g.
What most didn’t seem to like was the Mugen Si’s high price. All those Mugen parts added $8,190 to the price of the Si, resulting in an MSRP of $30,135. That was a big ask for a Civic at the time and put it in a weird gray area: competitors like the Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart could perform better for less while the WRX STI and Mitsubishi Evolution were on another level with their performance for nearly the same money. The only thing the Mugen Si had going for it over the standard Si was the Mugen parts, that Fiji Blue Pearl color and exclusivity: Honda only made 1,000 for the U.S.
The Mugen Si’s high price also brought into question whether or not someone could tune their own Si cheaper. You could, but you’d have to use parts from other tuners to do it. Parts for the Mugen Si weren’t available to the public. It also made many wonder why Honda didn’t just bring over the Type R which would have made more sense for the same or a bit more money.
Luckily though it only took another decade before Honda finally brought over the Civic Type R and oddly enough we have an Si on the market that now costs nearly as much as the Mugen Si did when it was new.
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