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Paris show: Honda powers up CR-Z coupe

Start me up: Honda’s CR-Z can now reach 100km/h from standstill in 9.1 seconds, and offers more driver involvement with a switchable short-term acceleration boost known as ‘Plus Sport’.

Powertrain upgrade to Honda’s CR-Z hybrid brings better acceleration, more fun

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Honda logo28 Sep 2012

HONDA has revealed official details of its upgraded CR-Z hybrid coupe, which has emerged at the Paris motor show this week with subtle styling revisions inside and out, plus the expected power boost to both the petrol engine and electric motor.

As anticipated, the Japanese manufacturer – which chose to debut the upgraded CR-Z at last week’s Jakarta motor show – has also dropped the previous nickel-metal hydride battery for a lighter and more powerful lithium-ion pack.

Aided by the switch in battery technology, the electric motor now delivers 15kW of power (up 5kW), while an upgrade to the 1.5-litre four-cylinder i-VTEC petrol engine – including modifications to the variable valve timing system and engine control unit – also brings an extra 5kW, now peaking at 89kW.

All up, the combined output of the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system rises to 101kW at 6600rpm (up 10kW) and 190Nm of torque from 1000-2000rpm (up 16Nm), when combined with the standard six-speed manual gearbox.

Figures for the CVT automatic, which produces slightly less combined torque than the manual, are still to be provided.

The boost in power for the CR-Z sees acceleration from 0-100km/h improve, with the speedo needle on British-spec versions now pointing northward at the 9.1-second mark – about six tenths earlier than before. Top speed is 200km/h.

As expected, the ‘S+’ button shown among pre-show teaser images points to the sportier nature of the CR-Z, referring to a ‘Plus Sport’ system that provides the driver with the option of achieving a surge in acceleration of up to 10 seconds – providing the battery is more than 50 per cent charged.

A flashing gauge on the dashboard indicates when the Plus Sport system is active, and the extra turn of speed is available across all three driving modes (Econ, Normal and Sport).

Significantly, there is no penalty in terms of fuel economy or emissions, with figures on the European combined-cycle fuel consumption rating pointing to 5.0 litres per 100km and CO2 emissions of 116 grams per kilometre.

Styling changes introduced with the sportier CR-Z include a new front bumper, revised grille, redesigned rear diffuser and, on British GT models, new 17-inch alloy wheels.

Two new colours, ‘Energetic Yellow’ and ‘Aurora Violet’, have also entered the palette, while the interior also takes on a new colour scheme and has improved storage via revised door casings.

An Australian launch for the upgraded CR-Z is scheduled for the first half of 2013, around 18 months after the sporty hybrid was launched here in November 2011.

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