Back in May, I wrote about the Honda CR-Z MUGEN prototype. I had already been quite taken with the CR-Z, but the MUGENed version was even more impressive. I said at the time that it was a bit of a shame the CR-Z MUGEN was going to be a one-off, but that maybe if there was enough interest we would see a production version too.
Well, here we are at the fat end of the year, and Honda have announced that they will indeed be teaming up with MUGEN to produce a 130+ mph version of the CR-Z, with Civic Type-R levels of performance. It won’t have exactly the same spec as the prototype (that was “a concept car produced in one-off halo form and designed to demonstrate the potential and versatility of the Honda IMA system”) but the CR-Z iCF, as it will be called, is still a huge step up from the standard CR-Z.
According to Honda’s press release, “MUGEN Euro engineers ‘breathed over’ the 1.5-litre power unit, retaining the 3-button IMA modes, adding a centrifugal forced air induction system, charge-air cooler and induction system and importantly, a MUGEN Euro-mapped ECU. The result is outstanding power to weight, and increased torque helping to deliver 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds – over 3 seconds quicker than the standard car.”
Martin Moll, Head of Honda (UK) marketing said, “MUGEN Euro magic has created a super responsive yet eco-conscious model building on our sporting credentials and giving us the ability to compete in the “hot hatch” marketplace as we move into 2012.”
I remember being so impressed with the CR-Z’s economy, but also how it retained the potential to be a sporty and fun car at the push of a button. The CR-Z iCF promises the same but, well, more power.
Production development continues at MUGEN Euro, with cars available for test drive through the eight Honda UK MUGEN dealers in spring 2012. Prices have yet to be confirmed, but are expected to be approximately £24,000.