Honda has hinted at its desire to build a hotter version of the CR-Z sports hybrid since the vehicle launched. With the help of its tuning partner, Mugen Motorsports, that desire becomes a reality today with the launch of the Honda CR-Z Mugen RZ special edition.
Mugen started its upgrade of the CR-Z by bolting a supercharger to its 1.5-liter engine, bumping its output to 153 ponies. That's in addition to the 20 horsepower that the electric motor can kick in when needed, bringing the total system output to about 173 horsepower. A cat-back exhaust with dual titanium tips frees up airflow and reduces weight.
The wheel wells are filled with 17-inch forged-alloy wheels wrapped in 205-width Dunlop tires. Peek between the spokes and you'll see the new 11.8-inch brake rotors on the front axle that are gripped by upgraded calipers which are themselves augmented with grippier pads and reinforced micromesh brake lines.
Just to the left of the instrument cluster, you may notice the new boost gauge that lets the driver know what the supercharger is doing when you mat the accelerator. Look even closer and you'll see a small, silver serial-number plate above where the stereo would be if this vehicle was equipped with one.
You may notice that the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. That's because the Mugen RZ is a Japanese domestic market (JDM) only. If you like what you see, you'll have to take a boat or plane to find yourself in the driver's seat.