Saturday, November 5, 2011

EXCLUSIVE : Higher performance CR-Z in the works !

Ever since the CR-Z was launched, hardcore Honda enthusiasts have been incessantly pointing out how another higher performance variant to complement the current 124ps variant should be Honda's most logical step forward for this model. Everyone agrees that this model is very attractive and has lots of potential and that Honda just needs to fully develop it. More fuel was put into the fire recently when a few magazines from Europe, principally Auto Express U.K. published articles quoting the CR-Z LPL Norio Tomobe-san as saying he indeed had wanted a higher performance version all along and that he is in fact working on one. 

And so, at the launch of the CR-Z for Malaysia, where Tomobe-san himself was seated at the media press conference, guess what would be the one question I was dying to ask ? (no prizes here !)

Not knowing how appropriate the question would be, and also thinking that it can also be a rather insensitive one given that it is the current version that is being launched, I held back throughout the whole press conference without asking any questions. When the press conference was over, I hung around waiting for the right moment. Luckily I didn't had to wait long.
My question to Tomobe-san was straight to the point. Indeed I pointed to exactly the Auto Express magazine's claim that he (Tomobe-san) told them (Auto Express) that a higher performance CR-Z is in the works. Is that true or was he misquoted ?

Tomobe-san's response was non-verbal. He gave me a thumbs-up.


This was direct confirmation, by the man himself, that a higher performance CR-Z is indeed in the works. 

What was more surprising was his response to my next question, "Can I publish this in my site. Can I quote him ?" 

"Daijobu" - OK, i.e. "yes, go ahead" !

Naturally I tried to push my luck (I don't think anyone can blame me). I followed up with further questions about rumours of the turbo-charged version, or a 2.0l DOHC version. But my run of luck ended there as Tomobe-san indicated that he is not at a liberty to disclose such details.
Nevertheless, the most important question of all has now been answered and I can confirm because I heard the answer myself.

A higher performance variant of the CR-Z is indeed in the works. The CR-Z model range is (not will be, is being) developed.

Having published this piece of news, I also feel I need to add the following personal opinions. Any higher performance variant of the CR-Z will naturally also be higher in price. Thus if you have already decided to buy the current variant - what has been launched, I feel this piece of news do not invalidate your decision at all. I would think it is quite certain that a high performance CR-Z would sell at the RM150k price point if not higher, if it is still IMA, and closer to RM200k if not IMA. Honda Malaysia CEO Yoichiro Ueno-san actually made this statement, that had it not been for the Malaysian government's exemption of inport and excise duties for hybrid cars, the CR-Z would have to be priced closer to RM200k instead. So the question to ask would be whether you are willing and able to pay the higher asking price that is to be expected of the higher model - how hard-up are you for the extra performance.


Anonymous said...

Oh, that's awesome news! Great job as well WongKN!

Anonymous said...

I am starting to see a few of these on the road & it is a very nice looking car, altho I do not quite understand how the back windshield is basically parallel w/ the road. Anyhow, a higher hp model is definitely needed - as well as hopefully a higher mpg version if they wanna press on as a hybrid. Glad to see Honda is still working on this. Now can Acura get a coupe or a hybrid already?

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, WongKN. As an owner of a 2011 model, I of course see nothing wrong with the current setup. :) But it never hurts to add a little something extra. This is great news.

CR-V9 said...

Hi Wong,
This is a good news though I haven't seen any ecitement from TOV forum. Do you think this hotter version will replace the current one? Because low volume of CZ-Z I think two versions would be too much.

I think news of 1.5l IMA from CR-Z is going into the Insight is more interesting. And they'd better make the Hotter verson of CRZ the 2 door Insight hatchback. What do do you think?

Anonymous said...

This is good news, im still waiting to hear about the new coupe for acura and the new nsx replacement/ or new sports car.

TOVA said...

Thanks for all the comments. As for TOV Forums, I was basically quite shocked and dissapointed when a few forumers actually questioned the need for this hotter version. How can they do that ? The CR-Z is one of a very few exciting Honda models and really just needs more development work to make it the great car it promises to be.

As for the 1.5 Insight, basically it reminds me of the relationship between the Civic and the original CR-X. I am not sure if anyone of you remembers those two. For each hot CR-X, initially the 130ps EF7 CR-X Si, and then the 160ps EF8 CR-X SiR, there is the equivalent Civic: EF3 Civic Si and EF9 Civic SiR, basically sharing the same engines (ZC and B16A). The relationship between the Insight Exclusive and the CR-Z is similar.

Nevertheless, I am still cautious because I do not know exactly how 'high' is Tomobe san's 'higher' performance CR-Z. Dare I hope for it to be what we all originally was expecting from the CR-Z, the revival of the CR-X SiR ? Time will tell. I just hope we don't have to wait too long.

Anonymous said...

Is the Mugen CR-Z the model was hinting at, or was it something else ?

Post a Comment