Don't let common sense rule your entire life. There are plenty of things that you need to keep a cool head over, like what pension plan you should choose and perhaps which car insurance policy to get — the humdrum and the every day things. Most of us need to apply this logic to our choice of car too, but if you're a little fortunate and prepared to compromise a little, you can have a little bit of divine madness in your life.
Honda makes very good, very sensible cars. There's a brand-new Civic now of course, but the previous generation was no less impressive. And aside from the very slick and modern exterior and futuristic interior, it was as sensible and solid as any Honda. Then they brought out the Type-R version, which looked the business and went pretty well thanks to the fiery 2.0-litre VTEC engine.
But that wasn't enough for Mugen, the tuning arm of Honda. It went nuts and created the Civic Type-R Mugen. It was lightened by 100kg, including beautiful lighter alloy wheels and composite body panels, lowered and stiffened suspension and super grippy tyres. There were also some significant engine upgrades that liberated an extra 40bhp and 20Nm of torque. In short, it's a genuine fire-breathing hot hatch. It's not cheap at £38,995 (Dh226,914), although it is one of only 20 cars built with an added dose of some serious engineering.
The new Civic's arrival should have been the end of the story, but there were a few remaining cars and the Mugen people decided to go back and make it even more bonkers. By increasing the engine capacity to 2.2-litres power went up to 256bhp and torque to 240Nm for the last hurrah.
And what a car it is. You'll spot it's a Civic straight away of course, but like no other on the road. The exterior upgrades include a BTCC-like massive rear wing, which on another car could look daft, but on the Civic's modern, radical shape looks just right. Finished in Championship White with a prominent Mugen graphic on the flank, it is as purposeful as you could wish for. It looks ready to head out to the track and set a pole position time.
Climb inside and you drop straight into the ultra-snug Recaro seats. Apart from being very supportive and comfortable, they have huge side bolsters that clamp you in place. If you hadn't realised by this point that the Mugen Type-R is a proper driving machine, the fact that your bottom isn't going anywhere tells you all you need to know.
Turn the key then prod the starter button and the engine spins rapidly to life, idling quite high at first with a serious rasp from the large diameter exhaust. The gear lever slots firmly into first, and the upgraded clutch has a sharp bite — a brief kangaroo moment is inevitable until you get used to it, and it sums up the whole car; it is a precision tool that needs to be driven with purpose.
Within 50 yards you'll notice that the suspension is firm. On really rough roads you might wish it was a shade softer, but if you want a compromised car then look elsewhere. Driven sedately the engine feels more than sufficiently torquey, the steering is sharp and the pedals all respond with pinpoint accuracy. And yes, you can relax while behind the wheel — the Civic settles right down to the task of just getting you where you want to go.
But to drive it this way is a waste. You need a twisty and open section of road to discover what the Mugen is all about. If you didn't know it already, Type-Rs are all about revs and with this 2.2 Mugen even more so.
You need to work this car hard, and once the needle passes 6,000rpm the exhaust note turns from a roar to a manic blare, it surges forward with renewed vigour and the grin grows further across your face. No other production car bar six-figure supercars can provide such an intoxicating mix of noise and pace. And the super-slick gearshift helps you keep it on the boil; snap changing between ratios is a pure delight.
And when you arrive at the first bend, the experience continues in the same vein. The uprated brakes give a very firm pedal action that inspires huge confidence, and it takes a long time before you find the limit of the braking power. Then the sharpness of the steering takes over as you peel into a bend, the front tyres biting hard and gripping more than you thought possible. You have to push and push before the Mugen Civic starts to bite back, and when you eventually find the grip running out it helps you gather it all up again.
Driven like this you forget all about the price tag and savour the engineering that has gone into it and the visceral experience that it delivers. And yet it still has something called the Magic Seats that fold completely flat to give you a huge boot. It still has all practicality and usability of a regular Civic. It'll cope even better in our region, thanks to its dry-optimised tyres.
This is not a car for everyone of course, not at almost £40,000. But who wants a car for everyone anyway?
This is a machine for the true enthusiast, someone who can appreciate fine engineering, a unique approach and a car that will only ever have 19 siblings worldwide.
Soon they will all be gone, and each owner will have a car to cherish and savour — not bad for a car that can still do sensible.