Call it anticipation or call it wishful thinking, but reports of a hotter version of the Honda CR-Z have been circulating pretty much ever since the hybrid hatchback hit the market. The CR-Z may be sportier than most hybrids, but when the faithful were expecting a spiritual successor to the iconic CRX with an added jolt of electricity, many were left disappointed.
Along those lines, we have good news, and we have bad news. The good news is that some new details on the hotly anticipated Mugen version of the CR-Z have dropped. The bad news is that it's still strictly a one-off show car, at least for the time being.
The concept car will be revealed in July at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. And when it is, it won't be turbocharged as earlier speculated, but it will be supercharged. With the added benefit of forced induction, the output from the 1.5-liter i-VTEC four that forms the internal combustion part of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system will be increased by 50 percent, and when coupled with the electric component will serve up 200 metric horsepower (197 on our scale) and 181 pound-feet of torque.
To go with the added power, the pseudo-works Honda tuner is also fitting adjustable dampers, a wider track, upgraded brakes and rolling stock, an enhanced aero kit and a weight-reduction regimen. Although Mugen insists it holds no plans for producing its breathed-on hybrid, there's no telling what sufficient demand might yield. Follow the jump for the press release and check out the two engine shots released to join the renderings released previously in the gallery below.
CR-Z MUGEN to be supercharged and deliver around 200PS
MUGEN Euro's tuned Honda CR-Z remains on course for its world debut at Goodwood in July.
MUGEN has revealed that the high-performance CR-Z hybrid will use a supercharger to deliver over 50 per cent more power and torque from the Honda's petrol-electric drivetrain.
The tuned version of the hybrid coupe is expected to produce around 200PS, and 181lb.ft of torque, with significantly enhanced performance throughout the rev range. The car retains the Honda IMA electric motor and the original 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine, which has been rebuilt to MUGEN specification with bespoke upgraded and strengthened internal components.
In order to give a fully integrated and smooth power delivery, MUGEN Euro has developed the MUGEN iCF system, which allows all the elements of the electro-mechanical system to work in harmony.
"The idea was to use the significant advantage of the early torque provided by the Honda IMA electric motor, then increase the torque available from the petrol engine gradually, to first maintain and then increase this," says Colin Whittamore from MUGEN Euro. "A supercharger and complementary electronics allow us to very neatly map the IMA to the extra power and torque of the engine in a unique package, giving a smooth, integrated and powerful driving experience."
As well as improvements under the bonnet, MUGEN has used its extensive motorsport and Honda tuning experience to further develop the chassis dynamics, with 5-step adjustable dampers fitted front and rear, an increase in track width and a large reduction in overall weight.
Bigger brake discs and 4-pot monobloc callipers help stop the more powerful car, while 17-inch forged alloy MUGEN GP wheels reduce unsprung mass.
Elsewhere, the CR-Z gets some cosmetic enhancements in the form of MUGEN body parts, including front and rear under spoilers, side skirts and a rear wing.
The Honda CR-Z MUGEN makes its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.
It is a joint project between Honda (UK) and MUGEN Euro - the Northampton-based subsidiary of Honda's long standing tuning partner MUGEN. In 2009, MUGEN Euro produced the Civic Type R MUGEN, an extreme, 240PS version of Honda popular hot hatch.
At this stage, the CR-Z MUGEN is being developed purely as a one-off prototype, with no plans for a production version.