Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mugen’s Latest Honda CR-Z Adds Supercharger, Offers 197 Horsepower

We first heard about Mugen’s Honda CR-Z project last month, which was welcome news for those who were disappointed with the stock CR-Z’s “sporty” performance. At that point, details on the project were mostly speculation, but we now have new info on Mugen’s plans to improve the CR-Z’s performance credentials.

First off, a supercharger has been stuffed under the hood. While it doesn’t provide the 200+ horsepower Mugen claimed last month, the blower does increase the stock 1.5-liter four-cylinder i-VTEC engine’s horsepower output from 112 to 184 horsepower. Torque increases from 107 to 123 foot-pounds. MUGEN states that the Integrated Motor Assist electric motor will remain untouched and will continue to put out 13 horsepower and 58 foot-pound of torque. Combined, that’s 197hp/181 lb-ft compared to stock engine’s output of 125hp/165 lb-ft.

To ensure transitions between electric and gasoline power remain smooth, Mugen has developed a mysterious system it dubs iCF system. Mugen reps have shied away from offering a clear answer to the system’s workings or purpose, but it appears iCF staggers the electric motor’s torque delivery in a way to provide a smooth, seamless wall of torque. Mugen Euro’s Colin Whittamore suggests the system “gives a smooth and integrated powerful driving experience,” but until we actually staggers the 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 and integrated powerful driving experience,” said Colin Whittamore from MUGEN Euro.

We first tested the CR-Z last year and were somewhat disenchanted with its handling, which felt far more hybrid than hot hatch. Luckily, handling is one of Mugen’s specialties, and the latest take on the CR-Z wears 5-step adjustable dampers, an increase in track width, and lightweight 17-inch forged Mugen GP aluminum wheels.

The bad news? MUGEN still claims this is only a prototype, and at this stage, there are still no firm plans for production. Still, the fact they have continued to work on the CR-Z project and have released some solid performance figures leaves us hopeful that this hopped-up hybrid may eventually — perhaps even soon — become reality.


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