Honda's sporty-looking CR-Z hybrid will finally get the performance to back its looks, as the Japanese carmaker teamed up with its tuning partner Mugen Euro to develop a high-performance version of the hybrid model. As we wrote earlier this year, the car will be unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July, but until then, you can take a look at the first official photos of the car to see if they match the sketches released by Honda two months ago.
The Japanese company says development of the CR-Z Mugen is on track, with “performance figures already looking promising”. Honda revealed that early tests with a prototype car based on a standard CR-Z and a mid-tune engine have given 0-60 mph (96 km/h) sprint times around that of the European market Civic Type R (6.6 seconds). Later on, Mugen increased output by another 15 percent and reduced the chassis' weight by 50 kilograms, so that overall performance is expected to be even better than the Type R's.
The car will feature modifications to both the 1.5-liter i-VTEC petrol engine and the Honda IMA system in order to boost power and torque. Mugen Euro didn't reveal any output figures, but referred to the fuel consumption, deeming it encouraging.
"We've retained the three driving modes from the standard car and economy ranges from 50+mpg (41.6 mpg US) in 'eco' mode to mid-30 mpg (29 mpg US) when tapping into the supercharged power in a special 'Mugen' mode," said Colin Whittamore from Mugen Euro.
Engine and hybrid system aside, the CR-Z Mugen will also benefit from upgrades to the brakes and suspension, as well as from using lightweight components such as a carbon fiber bonnet and forged alloys to lower the overall mass. As the pictures show, the CR-Z Mugen sports a new body kit with upgraded front and rear bumpers, plus a rear wing and diffuser to improve aerodynamics.
For the time being, the CR-Z Mugen is treated as a pure concept study, but as Honda has shown in the recent past with the 240HP Civic Type R Mugen in 2009, there’s a good chance we may see a limited production run in the very near future.
By Dan Mihalascu