Honda CR-Z Mugen (2011) more details | CAR Magazine

Honda CR-Z Mugen (2011) more details

Published: 21 April 2011 Updated: 26 January 2015

This is our first glimpse under the bonnet of the new Honda CR-Z Mugen, as Mugen Euro reveals further details of how it’s going to turn the CR-Z into a hot hybrid hatch.

The promise? Nearly 200bhp and over 180lb ft, increases of around 50% over the standard Honda CR-Z hybrid. Should make for one of the most exciting hybrid sports cars yet.

Knowing Mugen’s speciality with high-revving, naturally aspirated engines, presumably the Honda CR-Z Mugen has a ridiculously tuned VTEC to produce that power?

Er, no. Mugen Euro is actually using a supercharger to deliver the extra power, and the internals of the 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine have been upgraded with bespoke componentry to serve up that substantial increase in output.

The CR-Z Mugen also keeps the CR-Z’s standard IMA integrated motor assist hybrid package, but Mugen Euro has developed its own electronic package to allow the newly upgraded electro-mechanical system to work in harmony.

Boffin talk: Mugen CR-Z by its maker

‘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 Mugen Euro’s project manager Colin Whittamore. ‘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.’

The result is Mugen Euro reckons it’ll coax around 197bhp and 181lb ft from the upgraded CR-Z – standard CR-Z outputs are 113bhp and 107lb ft from the combustion engine, and 122bhp and 128lb ft from the combined hybrid package.

And Mugen Euro is hoping that together with induction and exhaust upgrades, it may actually be able to improve on the standard CR-Z’s 56.5mpg and 117g/km CO2. Not bad when Mugen promises the petrol-electric powertrain will offer ‘Type R-like performance’.

Presumably there are some other upgrades to cope with the extra power?

Of course, and top of the list are front and rear five-stage adjustable dampers. There’s an increase in track width too, lightweight 17in forged Mugen GP alloys to reduce unsprung mass, and bigger brakes with four-pot monobloc calipers. There’s also a full visual upgrade, including Mugen-spec front and rear bumpers, a particularly large rear wing and some side skirts. And finally, Mugen is promising a ‘large reduction in overall weight’ so reckon on the removal of the back seats and a carbonfibre bonnet to cover that supercharged engine.

The Honda CR-Z Mugen will be officially unveiled at the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed in July. It’s billed as a one-off prototype, but if there’s enough interest it could be built in limited numbers, or at least Mugen Euro will make some of the part available as aftermarket extras.

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By Ben Pulman

Ex-CAR editor-at-large