The Honda CR-Z might just turn out to be the darling of this year’s Tokyo Motor Show (apart from the Lexus LF-A, that is). Sort of a spiritual successor to the CRX of years past, the CR-Z promises to be light (enough), and sporty (enough) that gearheads will probably take to it quite well. Add to it the fact that the CR-Z sports a hybrid drivetrain, and Honda’s little ride could be the harbinger of cleaner, greener, affordable sports cars of the future.
Now comes word that Mugen, Honda’s semi-in-house tuning firms is eyeing the CR-Z as a model that might just get the factory tuner treatment.
So the chances for the upcoming CR-Z being embraced by the gearhead set seem to be pretty good. If you ignore the hybrid drivetrain for a moment, the car has “import enthusiast crowd approved” stamped all over it. Plus, it looks shiny and new, so the thing should be a hit. By this point, that’s to be expected, but if the word from the Tokyo show turns out to be true, the 2011 Honda CR-Z could potentially be one of the first hybrid cars to get the tuner treatment by an automaker\’s official performance arm.
Mugen European vice president Hiroki Toyoda said that the CR-Z’s electric motor part of the car’s hybrid powertrain could act like a low-pressure turbo by boosting performance at low engine speeds. The Mugen European VP mentioned this while speaking with reporters at last week\’s 2009 Tokyo Motor Show,
Not only did he mention using the electric motor for performance gains, but he also said that Mugen is looking into developing a range of handling upgrades for the CR-Z. Nice, more speed AND better handling. I like where this is going.
A few years ago, if you were to mention the word “hybrid” to a gearhead, they probably wouldn’t have though much about it, in performance terms.
I wonder what they’ll think about hybrids in a few years from now?