The Mugen-tuned Honda CR-Z is a one-off prototype from Honda’s go-to tuners, Mugen. And we dearly hope it gets put into production.
The performance comes courtesy of a reprogrammed Integrated Motor Assist and a good old-fashioned blower atop the 1.5-liter gasoline powerplant. According to Mugen Euro’s 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 electric motor provides only a small percentage of the total torque, it delivers its maximum almost instantaneously until around 1500 rpm. In the standard car, the torque drops away from this point on, but the supercharger is tuned to maintain and increase torque levels once the electric motor runs out of puff. The result is a flatter, longer, and higher torque curve that makes the car feel more muscular at every point in its rev range.
To recap, that means carbonfibre bonnet and doors, 18mm wider front track, trick Showa dampers with five compression damping settings, Mugen’s 17in forged alloy wheels and Yokohama Advan A048 tyres. And a set of three extra gauges on a binnacle on top of the dashboard.
How does it compare?
Mugen was aiming to equal the Civic Type R’s performance and it certainly feels as though that’s the case. This CR-Z is as quick as it looks. There’s no extra power from the electric motor. The performance comes from supercharging the engine, which now produces 197bhp instead of the standard car’s 122bhp.
Well, the official line is: “The CR-Z Mugen is purely a concept car at this stage, designed to demonstrate the potential and versatility of Honda’s IMA system, with no confirmed plans for further production.” But reading between the lines and from speaking with Mugen’s manager, it seems likely that a limited run will be produced – possibly 20 units to match up with the 240 hp Civic Type R Mugen from 2009. The cost for this one-off prototype is in the region of $240,000, but that would tumble well below $80,000 for any production models, depending on numbers built and specification, of course.
Honda CR-Z Mugen