Last week, Honda confirmed that in-house tuner Mugen is working on a heavily tuned version of Honda’s new CR-Z hybrid hatchback, which will have Type R-like performance. According to Honda Research and Development chief Tomohiko Kawanabe, the company is also working on a high-performance CR-Z for the mass market. In an interview with AutoCar, Kawanabe admitted that development work on the more powerful two-door has begin and that it will keep its IMA hybrid system.
“It’s true: we are working on a more powerful CR-Z,” he said. “Our problem with the car as it stands is that it looks very good, but it doesn’t have the performance some customers expect.”
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While there is no word on what engine the hotter CR-Z will use, the more powerful hybrid hatch is expected to use Honda’s next-geneation IMA hybrid system, which will debut on the next Civic Hybrid.
“The decision on the engine hasn’t been made,” he said. “Turbocharging is an option, but a high-compression petrol engine would work better in tandem with a hybrid assist system.”
Refresher: The 2011 Honda CR-Z is powered by a 1.5L i-VTEC mated to Honda”s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system. It produces a total of 122-hp and a maximum torque of 128 lb-ft. When mated to a 6-speed manual, the CR-Z returns an EPA-estimated 31/37/34 mpg (city/highway/combined). With the CVT transmission, the CR-Z returns 35/39/37 mpg. Prices in the United States start at $19,200.
2011 Honda CR-Z MUGEN:
– By: Omar Rana