In the sports car market, an auto manufacturer selling either a large super exotic or the modest two-seater strides to become the subject of an individual’s dream. Today, such dream machines can even attract the planet-conscious driver who also aspires to make the most of a gallon of gasoline.
A rather sporty looking compact which does pay homage to the Honda CR-X, the new for 2011 CR-Z most prominently featured long-enduring fuel mileage of 35 city and 29 highway. While the Honda CR-Z has a gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain that excels in providing outstanding fuel economy, a combined power generation equating to 122 horsepower has left a ho-hum feeling with the sports car. At the 2010 SEMA Show (one of the world’s leading performance car exhibits), Honda attempted to warm observers with refreshing images of the CR-Z in a multitude of factory-approved and aftermarket modifications.
One of Honda’s partners providing a compelling new look to the CR-Z at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas was the long-time Japan-based speed shop Mugen. Opened by the son of Honda’s founder and maintained as an independent company from the automaker, Mugen has a storied history dating back to 1973. Pushing the envelope of Honda products on the streets as well as in motorsports (including successful runs in the Formula 1 world championship), Mugen contributed a unique appearance kit on the silver 2011 Honda CR-Z. Promising of allow 300 buyers to purchase the limited edition Mugen CR-Z accessory package, there were certainly requests for more creativity from the Japanese Honda tuner. Awaiting introduction to the United Kingdom public at the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Mugen and Honda puts the spotlight on a comprehensively upgraded CR-Z concept worthy of sports car praise.
Styling of the Honda CR-Z Mugen begins by utilizing tricks exhibited on the 2010 SEMA show car. The forward air dam, grille insert and rear spoiler of the CR-Z Mugen is directly derived from the limited run body kit design. However, with the all-in effort on this UK show car, the Honda CR-Z Mugen drastically ups the ante. Lowered by 15 millimeters (0.6 inches), the hybrid sports car’s sleeker look is enhanced by a Brilliant Orange Metallic paint job. Replacing the stock hood and doors with lightweight carbon fiber pieces, Mugen shaved 50 kilograms (110 pounds) from the Honda CR-Z’s overall weight.
Weight reduction of the Honda CR-Z Mugen was also aided through the removal of the rear seat in what is a sport-oriented interior design. Recaro sport seats, a strategically weighted gear shift knob and the carbon fiber-covered rear view mirror are some striking hardware Mugen was able to add on the CR-Z by a simple trip to existing part bins. Increased aftermarket gauges provided by Mugen gives motorists detailed information on oil pressure and temperature.
Developed on the Japanese closed road circuit of Motegi, the Honda CR-Z Mugen’s suspension and handling package is aided by a low center of gravity. Five-position adjustable dampers as well as a stiffer set of springs reduces body roll and keeps the tires planted to the road surface. A limited slip differential has also been installed on the Honda CR-Z Mugen concept car for the appropriate application of electric and gasoline momentum. Featuring 4-piston brake calipers for improved stopping, larger front brake discs fitted to the CR-Z Mugen are ventilated to promote cooling. The Honda CR-Z Mugen’s upgraded road manner rides on larger tires circulating around lightweight, 17-inch Mugen GP forged alloy wheels.
Taking full advantage of the Honda CR-Z’s Integrated Motor Assist, Mugen had the opportunity to create a high-revving sports car. Utilizing an electric motor’s tendency for usable power at low-end grunt, the CR-Z Mugen receives maximum torque from 1,000 to 1,500 RPM. Once the vehicle launches to the electric motor‘s total output, the Honda CR-Z Mugen awakes the car 1.5 liter engine presented with support from a supercharger. Adding some much-desired gasoline engine grunt, Mugen iCF induction system along with a complete electronic engine remapping opens the powerplant up to 197 horsepower and 158 pounds-feet of torque. The Honda CR-Z Mugen’s supercharged 1.5 liter engine presents 25 horses and 30 pounds-feet of torque more than the stock sport hybrid.
With all the advancement made by Mugen, this special project car version of the Honda CR-Z handily outperforms its stock contemporary. In a rather disappointing move for an auto manufacturer promoting a sports coupe, Honda has not officially divulged the A road test update of the Honda CR-Z by automotive magazine Road & Track determined 0 to 60 mile per hour acceleration occurs in a sluggish 8.6 seconds. On the Mugen-prepped model of the Honda CR-Z, quite a remarkable improvement is presented in straight line runs. In 0 to 62 miles per hour, the Honda CR-Z Mugen concept has collected a test acceleration time in just 6.6 seconds.
Presented only as a concept vehicle at Goodwood in July, the Honda CR-Z Mugen will be shown alongside some of the greatest motorcar symbols of speed. Identifying the past and even the present, Honda and Mugen is intent to display electric-assisted hybrids could provide a window to the future of speed.
Information and photo source: Honda UK