The 2011 Honda CR-Z found itself on the receiving end of much criticism from the automotive press and enthusiasts, ourselves included, when it launched last year. Greenies didn't like the hybrid's merely average fuel economy, and enthusiasts chided its less-than-hard-core performance. A few of these enthusiasts figured they could do better. This is where Mugen, Honda's sometimes-official tuning division comes into the picture with its CR-Z Mugen concept, set to debut in July at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.
Realizing that you can't please everyone, Mugen instead focuses on the needs and wants of the FWD tuning crowd, slapping a supercharger onto the hybrid's 1.5-liter gasoline engine and IMA electric motor, boosting total output to 198 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. The gasoline engine also receives internal upgrades to cope with the power enhancement. Further increasing the power-to-weight ratio is a reduction of 110 pounds from the curb weight. Performance of the CR-Z Mugen is said to be on par with the high-revving Honda Civic Type-R.
Outside of the engine bay, the CR-Z Mugen also has also receives upgraded Mugen parts for its suspension, brakes, and body components, as well as 17-inch forged alloy Mugen GP wheels. As the IMA hybrid system is still intact, the CR-Z still retains its three modes of operation, including a fuel saving Eco mode, Standard mode, and Sport mode. However, there's now also a fourth, Mugen, which we're assuming allows the CR-Z Mugen to take full advantage of that supercharger's maximum output.
Unfortunately, the CR-Z Mugen that rolls out at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in early July will be a concept that will likely never grace the showroom floor of your local Honda dealer. Still, it doesn't hurt to dream. So is this the CR-Z that Honda should have built in the first place? Maybe, but maybe not. Try dropping the additional weight of the IMA drive and its supporting battery pack and building a superlight performance concept and then we'll talk.