Fifth Gear gets first thrash in Mugen CR-Z (+video)

July 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It was a few weeks back that we brought you news of Honda unveiling its latest concept car – the CR-Z Mugen at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

This hybrid-powered spiritual successor to the iconic CR-X sports coupe was built to make up for the shortcomings of the standard model with an injection of extra power and style from Mugen. This special CR-Z has retained the regular model’s mechanical hardware including the IMA electric motor and the 1.5-litre gasoline engine. But its internals have been upgraded and a supercharger introduced, there result is a power increase of more than 50% over the regular CR-Z.

Dynamic ability has also been improved by a widened track and a limited slip diff, there’s also 5-step adjustable dampers and larger stoppers. Continue reading “Fifth Gear gets first thrash in Mugen CR-Z (+video)” »

Honda reworks hybrid CR-Z with Mugen RR Concept

July 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

When Honda first revealed its CR-Z hybrid coupe, many enthusiasts were left wishing that it was just a little bit more like the original CR-X. Honda noted the doubters but pushed on with the production model without change. The brand’s tuning arm Mugen however, has put in much greater effort to inject a more sporty character into this coupe, firstly with the Mugen CR-Z concept and now with its track-spec RR edition.

The covers were pulled off this concept at last weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K and proved itself on the famous Goodwood hill. The CR-Z Mugen RR Concept has a unique body kit with a front aero bumper, front aero guards, side skirting, a rear aero bumper, a rear wing, and special 18-inch wheels.

Mugen hasn’t released exact performance specs, but we already know the Mugen CR-Z design concept features a supercharged version of the 1.5-litre engine with Honda’s IMA hybrid system and is good for around 147 kW and 245 Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h takes around 6.6 seconds. Continue reading “Honda reworks hybrid CR-Z with Mugen RR Concept” »

New-generation Honda Beat coming in 2013

June 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Theres been some rumours flying round that Honda was going to revive its diminutive Beat convertible and now according to reports the rumours could be true.

The Beat was originally produced for the Japanese domestic market in its kei class from 1991 to 1996. Only 33,600 Beats were produced in total with a few even making it here to NZ. The orignal Beat used a three-cylinder engine that produced just 47kW but with a kerb weight of 760kg, mid mounted engine and a rear-wheel drive format it was still a bit of fun.

Now it would appear that Honda are at working on a new Beat with the model expected to debut as early as 2013. It will be offered in a roadster form based on the CR-Z platform and feature styling based on Honda’s OSM concept car (pictured). Continue reading “New-generation Honda Beat coming in 2013” »

Honda’s CR-Z Mugen hits the open road (+video)

June 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Development of the Honda CR-Z Mugen concept has reached its conclusion and to celebrate Honda has released video footage of the supercharged hybrid model hitting the open road. The clip should send Honda fans into fever pitch before the models official launch at the upcoming 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK next month.

This special CR-Z was born in a joint development between Honda UK and its in-house tuning shop Mugen Euro. To get any real performance out of the car, extensive mods were done to the 1.5-liter i-VTEC petrol engine including the introduction of a supercharger. Honda’s hybrid IMA system was also tweaked. The exact result in terms of output remains a mystery but is rumoured to be around the 150kW mark. Mugen has also pulled out 50kg of excess weight and made changes to the suspension, brake system, aerodynamics and lightened its unsprung weight too.

“Performance figures already look promising for this supercharged Honda CR-Z, as early tests with a prototype car based on a standard CR-Z and a mid-tune engine giving 0-60mph times around that of the Civic Type R,” Honda said in a statement.

To see Honda’s CR-Z Mugen in action, check out the clip below. Continue reading “Honda’s CR-Z Mugen hits the open road (+video)” »

Mugen working on hot hatch Honda Jazz

May 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mugen and Honda are a tight unit, they go together like fish and chips or like rugby league players and off-field incidents. The latest project for this dynamic duo is to inject some performance pedigree into Honda’s new model Jazz which until now was only favoured by little old ladies.

The previous generation Honda Jazz had a Mugen version called the F154 SC. But this new model, to be built by Mugen Euro will use the same naturally aspirated 2.0-litre V-TEC engine that powers the Civic Type R. There is also talk of using the same supercharged hybrid 1.5 developed for the Mugen CR-Z.

With either powertrain the Mugen Jazz will produce around 150kW and in a car of this small size that could be a recipe for serious fun. Mugen will most likely upgrade other areas of the car with stiffer suspension, larger brakes and improved aerodynamics expected. Continue reading “Mugen working on hot hatch Honda Jazz” »

Honda drops images and details on its CR-Z Mugen

May 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Honda’s promising CR-X successor, the hybrid CR-Z could still be the excitement machine badge fans have been hoping for. Honda’s tuning arm Mugen is preparing to come to the rescue with a high performance version named the CR-Z Mugen and the first official photos of this hot hybrid hatch have been dropped.

Being prepared for a official debutl at the UK’s Goodwood Festival of Speed this July the hotter CR-Z looks suitably staunch but it’s the performance ability that Honda fans want to know about. While exact details haven’t been released, Honda has revealed that early tests with a prototype car based on a standard CR-Z and a mid-tuned engine has given a 0-100km/h sprint time matching that of the  European market Civic Type R at 6.6 seconds. But that wasn’t enough, and Mugen has pushed on by increasing output a further 15 percent and reducing the chassis’ weight by 50 kilograms, overall performance is now expected to be more rapid than the Type R’s.

That seems a fair result form the CR-Z’s supercharged 1.5-litre i-VTEC four and electric assist motor. The CR-Z Mugen will also get tweaks like upgraded brakes and suspension, a carbon fibre bonnet and forged alloy wheels. For styling, there is a new body kit with a high rear wing and diffuser to improve dynamics. Continue reading “Honda drops images and details on its CR-Z Mugen” »

Mugen to give Honda CR-Z more power and aggressive appeal

March 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Right now performance cars fans have no issues drive their petrol powered machines, but in the future if petrol keeps rising in price, simple economics might push us all into much different machines.

Whether you’re into it or not hybrid-power is here to stay and in 10 or 15 years time it may make up a major component of the performance car scene. We have begun to see more sports focused hybrids in the last couple of years and one of the first to have any genuine interest to performance car fans is the Honda CR-Z.

Built as a spiritual successor to Honda’s iconic CR-X the CR-Z looks cool but doesn’t have a real performance vehicle. That’s right, it’s a bit slow, but that is expected to change with the help of Honda’s Mugen performance division. Mugen is preparing a “highly-tuned” version of the CR-Z that it claims will deliver “Type R-like” performance. This faster, more powerful CR-Z Mugen prototype is being developed as a joint project between Honda UK and Mugen Euro, and will debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this July.

Honda claims that the CR-Z Mugen prototype will feature modifications to both the 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine and the Honda IMA system to boost power and torque. Surprisingly these mods may actually result in even better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions during some conditions. Final power, torque and fuel economy figures haven’t been announced yet.

Other performance upgrades include a bespoke braking package, retuned suspension and Mugen will also make use of lightweight components such as a carbon fibre bonnet and lightweight alloy wheels. The special CR-Z will also receive a new body kit that includes a new front apron, grille with LED daytime running lights, roof-mounted wing and deep side skirting. Continue reading “Mugen to give Honda CR-Z more power and aggressive appeal” »

Honda Civic concept previewed with smooth sketch

December 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Honda has just released a preview illustration of its next generation Honda Civic.

The Civic has been a long serving model for the Japanese carmaker and is now entering it’s ninth generation. The new model is set to be unveiled in Detroit at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in concept form. The initial design sketch shows off a sleek and aerodynamic profile that has a strong resemblance to the Honda CR-Z. The sketch shows a sporty three-door hatchback, but prototypes of the Civic sedan version have already been spotted in spy photos.

No announcement has been made on engine options and if any of them will offer any real performance. It is expected that the Civic range will receive at least one new petrol engine and one diesel unit. A dual-clutch transmission is also a possibility, but nothing has been made official so far.

The production version of the new Civic should go on sale in NZ late next year.

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