Thursday, 17 March 2011 3:32 PM
Legendary Honda tuners, Mugen Euro, have cast their performance-eye over the Honda CR-Z, finding room for enhancement of the hybrid’s petrol-electric powertrain, suspension, brakes and wheels. The more powerful, faster prototype is to go on show at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.
Delivering “Type R-like” performance, the CR-Z Mugen will feature tweaks to both the 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine and the Honda IMA system to increase power and torque, while uprated brakes and suspension will be fitted in a bid to improve chassis dynamics. And while performance and handling are directed upwards, the company will also focus on trying to reduce CO2 emissions. However, final power, torque and fuel economy figures are not yet known.
Lightweight and no doubt rather attractive components, including a carbonfibre bonnet, will help to lower overall weight, with Mugen alloy wheels at each corner to reduce unsprung mass. Let’s hope they resemble the deep-dish beauties in the prototype sketch. Other Mugen parts will include deeper front and rear bumpers and a roof-tip loop spoiler. Paint it white and we’ve got a new Honda classic.
“We wanted to extend the performance of the CR-Z,” says Hiro Toyoda of Mugen Euro. “It is already a fun car to drive, with an excellent chassis, but we thought that with more power and enhanced torque delivery it could be even more exciting. However, as with all Mugen projects, we have stayed true to the Honda design and philosophy, and the electric motor is still a vital ingredient to boost performance and economy.”
The new CR-Z Mugen is a joint project between Honda (UK) and Mugen Euro – the Northampton-based subsidiary of Honda’s long standing tuning partner Mugen, Japan. In 2009, Mugen Euro produced the Civic Type R Mugen, an extreme, 240bhp version of Honda’s popular hot hatch.
And while this all sounds like a bright future of hybrid-happiness, at this stage, the bionic-battery-assisted CR-Z is being developed only as a one-off prototype, with no plans for a production version. However, hot Hondas have always done well in the UK, and with these power-partners onboard, hardcore hybrid fans could soon be in luck.
Mugen parts to include front and rear bumpers, side skirts, a carbon bonnet, roof-tip loop spoiler and - all fingers crossed - these gorgeous deep-dish wheels
By Daniel Anslow
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