Honda (UK) is working with MUGEN Euro to launch a 130+mph sports hybrid CR-Z, which boasts of Civic Type R performance. This initiative follows a successful program launch at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2011. This 175 PS1 "pocket rocket" hybrid has nearly 50 percent more power than the regular vehicle. It marks the strengthening of the engineering partnership between the two companies following the limited edition Civic Type R MUGEN in 2010.
Engineers at MUGEN Euro worked on the 1.5-litre power unit, keeping the 3-button IMA modes. They also added a centrifugal forced air induction system, induction system, charge-air cooler and a MUGEN Euro-mapped ECU. With these features, the vehicle has a remarkable power to weight ratio as well as an enhanced torque helping to deliver 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds -- over 3 seconds quicker than the regular vehicle.
According to Head of Honda (UK) marketing Martin Moll, the "MUGEN Euro magic" has developed a "super responsive yet eco-conscious model building on our sporting credentials."
He added that this allows them to compete in the "hot hatch" marketplace as they move towards 2012. Production development will still be at MUGEN Euro, with vehicles available for test drive in spring 2012 through the eight Honda UK MUGEN dealers. Prices are expected to be around £24,000, but have yet to be confirmed.
The exterior styling of the Honda CR-Z revolves around a "one-motion wedge" concept, featuring a wide stance and a low bonnet line. Of course, the new CR-Z is laden with signature Honda design features like the split level rear glass hatch and the shallow raked roofline – both elegantly complementing the vehicle’s curvaceous and deeply sculpted exterior.
Central to the performance of the Honda CR-Z is its engine and IMA parallel hybrid system that could provide 124 PS of max output as well as 174 Nm of peak torque. This level of torque -- accessible at just 1,500 rpm – is the same as that of the 1.8-liter Civic, although the Honda CR-Z emits 35 grams less carbon dioxide per kilometer. Likewise, the new Honda CR-Z boasts of very low harmful exhaust emissions.
In addition, its Nickel Metal Hydride battery pack – when it reaches the end of its life – is recyclable through Honda dealers. Interestingly, the new Honda CR-Z marks the first time that a parallel hybrid system is paired to an ultra-precise six-speed manual transmission, which is considered as a core part of the driver engagement that Honda's engineers aim to bring to the CR-Z.
Amazingly, Honda's IMA parallel hybrid system is flexible enough to be paired a wide array of transmission types, not just CVTs. Perfectly complementing this ultra-precise six-speed manual gearbox is a dynamic yet efficient 1.5-liter four-cylinder i-VTEC engine, which is derived from the same engine that powers some non-European versions of the Jazz.
Augmenting the dynamics and the excited revving nature of this four-cylinder i-VTEC engine is a 14-PS electric motor that provides an extra 78 Nm of torque. This electric motor -- placed between the engine and clutch – could boost torque at low and medium revs, thereby giving the Honda CR-Z a remarkable in-gear flexibility that is usually a nature of turbocharged engines.