Honda has teamed up with Mugen again for a new hotrod special - but this one's a hybrid. The new Honda CR-Z Mugen is a slightly more ecologically sound proposition than the banzai 2009 Civic Type R Mugen, and brings the race car treatment to Honda's hybrid coupe.
However, at this stage it's a one-off prototype, with no firm commitment to build even a limited run. Reading between the lines, we'd say it's likely that Honda will launch a sportier version to tap into the latent demand for rabid Hondas.
How much quicker is the Honda CR-Z Mugen?
The regular 1.5 i-VTEC engine develops 113bhp, while Mugen's bolting on a supercharger and fettling the IMA hybrid system for nearer 200bhp and 181lb ft. And Mugen's dieticians have stripped out 50kg of unnecessary heft, to make the CR-Z more agile. The bonnet is made from carbonfibre while the wheels are lightweight Mugen alloys.
You may pile some of that weight back on with the whopping front and rear spoilers, but Mugen claims improved aero drag. It's also fettling the brakes and suspension.
'Early tests with a prototype car based on a standard CR-Z and a mid-tune engine have given 0-60mph times around that of the Civic Type R,' says the blurb issued overnight. Sounds like 0-60mph in around 6.6sec then.
Won't a supercharged CR-Z totally remove the point of having a hybrid?
'Early fuel consumption tests have been encouraging,' claims Colin Whittamore from Mugen Euro, the go-faster Honda brand's European wing based in Northampton.
'We've retained the three driving modes from the standard car and economy ranges from 50+mpg in Eco mode to mid-30mpg when tapping into the supercharged power in a special Mugen mode.'
We'll know more when we see the car for the first time at the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
You can read the (rather long and drip-feedy) build-up to the CR-Z Mugen story by clicking on the related articles to the left.