Honda CR-Z Mugen (2011): the first sketches | CAR Magazine

Honda CR-Z Mugen (2011): the first sketches

Published: 17 March 2011 Updated: 26 January 2015

This is our first glimpse of the new, Mugen-tweaked Honda CR-Z. Developed by Mugen Euro, the UK-based arm of Honda’s long-standing tuning partner Mugen, this CR-Z features a whole raft of tweaks to turn it into a hot hybrid.

As with the previous UK-spec Civic Type R Mugen, this new Mugen model is currently being touted as a one-off prototype, but just as that Civic was then built in limited numbers the same may happen with the CR-Z – and the individual parts may become available as aftermarket accessories too.

So how will Mugen Euro turn the Honda CR-Z into a CR-Z Mugen?

The two sketches released so far give us a taste of the visual tweaks that Mugen Euro is planning. The carbonfibre bonnet is obvious, and together with Mugen alloy wheels, will help save weight. The CR-Z Mugen will feature new front and rear bumpers too, and a new rear spoiler, no doubt inspired by the Mugen-tweaked CR-Z available in Japan. Other Mugen-spec parts include bespoke brakes and suspension components.

There are a whole host of upgrades planned for under the skin too – the Japanese Mugen CR-Z doesn’t have any engines tweaks. Mugen Euro promises ‘enhancements’ for the 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine, and the IMA hybrid system, boosting power and torque. 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’.

‘We wanted to extend the performance of the CR-Z,’ said Mugen Euro vice president Hiro Toyoda. ‘It is already a fun car to drive, with an excellent chassis, but we thought that with more power and enhanced torque delivery it could be even more exciting. However, as with all Mugen projects, we have stayed true to the Honda design and philosophy, and the electric motor is still a vital ingredient to boost performance and economy.’

The Honda CR-Z Mugen will make its world debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July 2011.

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By Ben Pulman

Ex-CAR editor-at-large