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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Aug 21 2013, 12:44 PM

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Insanity, it’s not just putting your alarm clock in the freezer or wearing mayonnaise instead of cargo shorts, it covers all kinds of things, even cars. There are plenty of ridiculous vehicles in the market today but one of the most ludicrous is the Nissan Juke-R.

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 |  May 21 2012, 10:45 AM

Maybe you’re not a fan of the wild SEMA Show cars built by Fox Marketing. Even then, it requires a certain level of heartlessness to not shed a tear when seeing these photos.

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 |  Jan 16 2012, 9:45 AM

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Love Nissan GT-Rs? Then you most certainly would love the Tokyo Auto Salon. Featuring the latest tuning trends and most amazing race cars, much of the content on the show floor was GT-R related this year – although to be honest, the show is GT-R heavy every year.

On display were plenty of modified GT-Rs from tuners like Kansai Service, JUN and even Tommy Kaira. And let’s not forget the race car content, with the outrageous Kondo Advan GT-R GT500 race car, as well as the Motul Autech GT-R (above), which won five of the eight races in Japan’s Super GT series last year.

Check out all the GT-R hardware from this year’s TAS below:

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 |  Jan 15 2012, 2:30 PM

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With the launch of the CR-Z, Honda wanted to emphasize that hybrids can in fact be sporty, now the automaker is continuing to promote the idea in its home market with the Honda Sports & Eco Program.

Essentially an amateur racing series it lets drivers compete using spec CR-Zs (outfitted with Mugen wheels and an aero kit) on track. Each car also features a complete roll cage and Recaro driver’s seat with racing harnesses.

Running at Honda company tracks like Suzuki and Twin Ring Motegi, drivers get to feel just how much fun driving green can be. Exactly how fuel efficient a CR-Z at wide-open-throttle is, well…

GALLERY: Mugen CR-Z

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Click here for AutoGuide’s complete 2012 Tokyo Auto Salon Coverage

 |  Jan 14 2012, 3:00 PM

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Known for modifying wagons like the Honda Odyssey and Nisaan Stegea, Japanese tuner Takero’s recently expanded its product offering to include the Honda Fit – with impressive results. First came aerodynamic components, followed by suspension parts, now Takero’s has revealed a wide body kit for the Fit at the Tokyo Auto Salon, plus a turbocharger setup.

Head-on the Takero’s Fit still looks impressive, but the widebody sub-compact looks a little absurd from any other angle. The obvious advantage, however, is the ability to fit wider tires for more grip, with some massive 225/35/18 rubber on this machine. And that extra tire is no doubt necessary to help put down the extra power generated by the new turbocharger setup. Unfortunately, Takero’s hasn’t released any specs on the kit, but we’d expect something close to the 180 hp mark.

GALLERY: Takeros Honda Fit Turbo

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 |  Jan 13 2012, 1:27 PM

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Built by Honda‘s Mugen tuning division in Europe, the on-again-off-again CR-Z RR concept is, at last word, off again. So weren’t we shocked then to discover not one, but two of the cars on display at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

As much as we’ll miss its good looks of the CR-Z RR with its wide body style, the bigger loss is the supercharged 1.5-liter hybrid engine that makes an impressive 197-hp while retaining much of the Honda’s fuel economy thanks to several different drive-mode settings.

The good news, however, is that we may miss out on such a Mugen model because Honda is planning one itself. Recent reports indicate the CR-Z Type-R is moving ahead with a Honda rep hinting to AutoGuide that the supercharged 1.5-liter hybrid engine is in the pipe.

GALLERY: Mugen Honda CR-Z RR Concept

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 |  Jan 13 2012, 11:51 AM

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One of numerous Mazdas on display at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, the Demio (sold as the Mazda2 in North America) Smart Stylish, delivers as promised with a classy look that adds some luxury appeal to this sub-compact.

Based on the new ultra-efficient Skyactiv 1.3-liter model, the Smart Stylish gets a complete aerodynamic overhaul, with new front and rear bumpers as well as side skits and some large BBS wheels. Bringing the package together is a lowered suspension.

To see the rest of Mazda’s Tokyo Auto Salon lineup, see AutoGuide’s complete show coverage here.

GALLERY: Mazda Demio Smart Stylish

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 |  Jan 13 2012, 7:03 AM

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Build by Toyota motorsports partner Gazoo Racing, the GRMN iQ Supercharger is just the sort of concept car that’s too wild to ever become a reality. Right? Wrong!

To the surprise of, well, everyone, Toyota has announced it will offer a limited production of the car, which was unveiled in its second-generation prototype stage today at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

Based on the 1.3-liter version of the iQ (it’s largest engine option), GRMN engineers have strapped on a supercharger to increase power output from a factory 94 hp, up to 130 hp, while torque increases from 89 lb-ft to 133.

Additional upgrades include the widebody seen here, an upgraded suspension and brake setup, larger 16-inch wheels with 195/55R16 tires and a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission – much unlike the CVT offered on the North American Scion iQ (read our review here).

Inside the car gets custom sports seats and new gauges that go all the way up to 200 km/h (124 mph), a speed the standard car most certainly cannot achieve.

Set to go on sale this summer, the GRMN iQ Supercharger will be built in extremely limited quantities with just 100 cars being made.

GALLERY: GRMN iQ Supercharger

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2012 Tokyo Auto Salon Coverage Here

 |  Jan 13 2012, 1:30 AM

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If you’re looking to make 53 mpg look a little cooler then Toyota in-house tuning division Modelista has you covered. The style-oriented arm of Toyota has just announced a new lineup of accessories for the Prius c, which is sold as the Aqua in Japan.

Already looking like a slightly-cooler Yaris, the Prius c gets a new aero kit, complete with a front lip, rear lip and side skirts with chrome detailing. In addition come new wheels, not to mention a mild roof spoiler.

GALLERY: Modelista Toyota Aqua

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See AutoGuide’s complete Tokyo Auto Salon Coverage here

 |  Jan 11 2012, 8:40 PM

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Honda has announced its lineup of vehicles for the 2012 Tokyo Auto Salon, the automotive aftermarket expo of Japan. The Honda exhibit will feature a variety of models including automobiles, motorcycles, power products, racing vehicles and other highlights in order to convey the joy of mobility and motorsport excitement.

Honda Access Corp., manufacturer of genuine Honda aftermarket parts, will exhibit an all-new N BOX Custom minicar, which just went on sale in December 2011. Called the FLASH BOX, the custom Honda features a special body color, reflective decal sheets and LEDs used as a decorative element in both exterior and interior designs. Honda Access will also display a custom build based on the Freed Hybrid compact minivan. Known as the Freed Wa, the car aims to evoke traditional Japanese culture through inspirations from the ancient Japanese art of lacquering, and flowers that are featured on the car that represent the four seasons. The last car from Honda Access is the Honda BEAT Auto Salon Special, featuring genuine BEAT Accessories and special aero pieces. Finally, the last custom Honda car at the exhibit is the Freed Spike Transportation Version, loaded with off-road motorcycles.

As for Honda’s motorcycle exhibit, the NC700S, NC700X, and Integra midsize motorcycle that debuted at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show will make an extra appearance at the Tokyo Salon as well. The CB 1100 VT1300CX will be featuring new genuine aftermarket parts and accessories to grab the attention of motorcycle tuners.

A fantastic racing season for Honda, the RC212V motorcycle that brought home the riders’, team and constructors’ championship for 2011. Honda’s GT500 class Supger GT HSV-010 GT race car and a racing CRZ will also be on display.

GALLERY: Honda at Tokyo Auto Salon 2012

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 |  Dec 19 2011, 10:57 AM

Back when we still called it the FT-86, a leaked brochure claimed to show what TRD had in store for the Toyota sports car. The boxer-powered machine has since been revealed (called the Scion FR-S in North America) and this lone photo of a TRD-equipped model has now emerged.

What is obvious from the photo is a set of upgraded brakes, a lowered suspension, plus some aerodynamic upgrades – including a rear spoiler that the stock car seems to desperately need. According to one report, Toyota is also prepping a TRD supercharger for the 2.0-liter engine.

The TRD-tuned Toyota 86/Toyota GT 86/Scion FR-S is expected to be revealed at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January.

GALLERY: Toyota 86 TRD

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[Source: 7Tune]

Discuss this story at FR-SForum and read AutoGuide’s Scion FR-S review here

 |  Nov 21 2011, 8:15 AM

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22 weeks after the little Nissan Juke crossover was first abducted, the team of modern day Doctor Frankensteins from Nissan Europe’s technical partner, RML, finally released this video of their outrageous creation, the mighty and insane Juke-R. Proudly displaying their hard work before submitting the super crossover to rounds of shakedown and testing, the video reveals the Juke’s transformation, which is most noticeable when the engine lets out that loud and responsive signature GT-R bark.

No official performance figures have been announced yet but when GTR’s 485-hp 3.8-liter twin turbo is stuffed into a shell that weighs in at the ballpark of 3,200 lbs., the Juke R is highly likely to reach 60 mph in sub-4 seconds. More details will arise when the Juke R inevitably puts down a couple solid laps around Germany’s Nurburgring. While Nurburgring testing has yet to be officially confirmed, the Juke R’s race-spec roll cage and racing cockpit says it all.

GALLERY: Nissan Juke-R

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Watch the video below:

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 |  Nov 02 2011, 6:30 PM

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Lexus chose the world’s largest aftermarket expo to reveal its new GS350 F-sport. Debuting at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the F-Sport model adds a new aero kit, upgraded wheels and a modified suspension, plus there are some bigger changes inside.

Find out exactly what by watching the video after the jump:

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 |  Nov 01 2011, 6:31 PM

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Debuting along side the production GS350 F-Sport today at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas is a wildly modified version of the very same car, built by long-time Lexus tuning partner Five Axis. Painted Glacier White it’s in stark contrast to the subtle silver-gray of the factory F-Sport model on display. The real drama, however, comes from a custom widebody, with Slate Gray accents, huge Five:AD S5:F alloy wheels and some truly massive exhaust pipes.

Certainly over-the-top, it’s yet another example of the artistic minds at Five Axis. Perhaps it’s time Lexus hired some SoCal styling talent to add some passion to its lineup?

GALLERY: Five Axis Lexus GS350 F-Sport

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show coverage here

 |  Nov 01 2011, 5:43 PM

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With plenty of dressed-up tuner cars on display at the Lexus booth at this year’s SEMA Show, the real star is the GS350 F-Sport. It might not have any power adders, but with 306-hp and a 0-60 time of 5.7 seconds it doesn’t really need any anyway.

More than just bolt-on styling components (although it has those too), the G-Sport version gets a more engaging Adaptive Variable Suspension system and new bushings while rear drive models boast a Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) system. As for those add-ons, the F-Sport gains 19-inch wheels, measuring 8-inches up front and 9-inches in the rear, plus larger brakes with high-friction pads.

Styling is spiced-up with new front and rear bumpers, a rear lip spoiler, F-Sport badging and an F-Sport grille. Lexus will offer the car in three standard colors (Starfire Pearl, Nebula Gray Pearl and Obsidian) as well as two exclusive shades: Riviera Red and Liquid Platinum. Inside the F-Sport gets a special aluminum trim, perforated black leather (Cabernet Red leather optional), aluminum pedals and a more highly bolstered 16-way power driver’s seat.

GALLERY: 2012 Lexus GS350 F-Sport

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show coverage here

 |  Nov 01 2011, 11:54 AM

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It’s plenty of fun even with just 100-hp, but Mazda isn’t called the Zoom Zoom brand for nothing. Revealed today at the 2011 SEMA Show is a tuner car concept dubbed the Mazda2 Turbo. Rather than some bolt-on turbocharger this sub-compact gets a complete swap from its big-brother, the Mazdaspeed3.

Borrowing that 2.3-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder, power more than doubles to 263-hp with almost triple the amount of torque at 280 lb-ft.

Other upgrades include a custom aero kit, 17-inch OZ racing wheels and a Brembo big brake upgrade.

GALLERY: Mazda2 Turbo

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show coverage here

 |  Nov 01 2011, 10:08 AM

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As expected, the focus on Honda’s SEMA Show display this year is its all-new 2012 Civic - the Si in particular. Rather than display dozens of cars like in the past, Honda has chosen just a select few tuners to create the most wildly modified Civics they could dream up.

Stealing the show at the Honda booth is the Fox Marketing car. The team at Fox Marketing has been building SEMA Show cars for years (perhaps decades) and this might just be the most extreme example yet – although apart from the oversized 20-inch Vossen wheels, it might just be the team’s cleanest. Of note on the car, apart from the obvious custom widebody and aero kit provided from CarBodyKits.com, the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine has been tuned to make 450-hp. And for a touch of trivia, the turbo used to generate all that power is the very same one used on Honda’s LMP1/LMP2 race programs as well as on the 2012 IndyCar engines.

Next up is the Bisimoto car, taking Honda’s “a Civic for everyone” approach and applying it to the race track. While Honda says there’s a Civic for everyone, ranging from young males who want a fun-to-drive Si, to a hybrid for the granola types, Bisimoto has designed this show car to serve triple-duty as time attack car, a touring car and as a drag racer. And in true over-the-top SEMA style, it makes 1,004-hp.

Sitting between the two wildly modified cars on the show floor is a mildly customized Civic Si sedan, built using Genuine Honda Accessories and some custom Honda Factory Performance wheels. Plus, it’s been wrapped by Wraptivo in a matte-silver to help it fit in at SEMA.

In addition to these cars, Honda is displaying several CR-Z models and a supercharged Accord. Two cars are still kept under wraps, but out spies have uncovered that one is a Compass 360 race car, while the other is the 2012 Civic Si HFP, a factory modified version sporting a more aggressive aero kit, larger 18-inch wheels and an upgraded suspension.

GALLERY: Fox Marketing 2012 Honda Civic Si

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GALLERY: Bisimoto 2012 Civic Si

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GALLERY: Custom Honda Civic Si Sedan

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Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2012 Civic Si Review

Discuss this story at 9thGenCivic.com and see AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show coverage here

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 |  Oct 31 2011, 6:59 PM

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The 2011 SEMA Show isn’t officially open yet but we’ve obtained a few snap shots of one of the two Honda‘s being kept under wraps. Called the 2012 Civic Si HFP this more hard-edged version of the new Si might just be the car enthusiasts were hoping for.

While the list of the modifications includes such trivialities as floor mats and LED lights, there are some important changes that are sure to appeal to the enthusiast crowd. For starters, there’s a more aggressive aero kit – something this car desperately needed. But most importantly there’s a HFP suspension setup (the exact specs of which aren’t yet known), plus the car gets larger 18-inch wheels with some 215/40/18 Yokohama tires. These updates should hopefully address some of the complaints we had about the car’s softly spring suspension.

As for the other car, we don’t have any snap shots, but it’s purpose built race car by Honda-backed racing team Compass 360.

GALLERY: 2012 Honda Civic Si HFP

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Discuss this story at 9thGenCivic.com

 |  Oct 27 2011, 1:45 PM

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Mazda has just released teaser images of two of its 2011 SEMA Show cars, both of which we desperately wish were heading to production. No details have been released, but the names of each car reveal the most important features.

Up first is the MX-5 Spyder, sporting a Porsche Boxster Spyder style soft-top roof designed to cut as much weight as possible. That one piece is a big hint that the Spyder model is designed to be an ultra-light version of the already light (2,500 lb) roadster. Other upgrades visible from the lone photo include some wheel and brake modifications, as well as some aerodynamic tweaks.

The second SEMA Show creation is the Mazda2 Turbo. While it’s not known how much power this little car makes, with the factory model already plenty of fun with just 100-hp, a healthy dose of extra thrust certainly won’t hurt. And as is obvious from the photo, the car will come complete with an extensive list of modifications, from a lowering kit and bodywork, to wheels and tires.

Look for detailed photos with AutGuide’s 2011 SEMA Show Coverage starting here November 1st.

GALLERY: Mazda 2011 SEMA Show Cars

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 |  Oct 26 2011, 11:15 AM

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After releasing the first image of the GT-R powered Nissan Juke-R yesterday, a video documenting the install of the twin-turbo V6 powerplant is a bit anticlimactic.

Still, the Juke-R has created a lot of buzz (it’s almost as though it was designed exactly for such a purpose…) and most anyone who might get excited about such a project is certain to enjoy some technical babble about making the swap, not to mention a gallery of pics showing just how tight a fit the big engine is in such a small space. So enjoy.

GALLERY: Nissan Juke-R Engine Swap

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Watch the video after the jump:

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 |  Oct 25 2011, 12:43 PM

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As promised Lexus will debut its new F-Sport GS350 model at the upcoming SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Taking the all-new 2013 GS sedan, the F-Sport package adds, um, sport, by bolting a long list of “racing-inspired” components.

Included in the package are 19-inch F-sport wheels measuring 8-inches up front and 9-inches in the rear (AWD models will be 19×8 front and rear). Also added are thicker sway bars, new bushings, and a more aggressively tuned Adaptive Variable Suspension system. Other upgrades include larger brakes with high-friction pads and rear-drive models will get a Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) system.

Helping convey the car’s added capability is an F-Sport aero kit with new front and rear bumpers as well as a new rear lip spoiler, F-sport badging and an F-Sport grille up front. Available in Starfire Pearl, Nebula Gray Pearl and Obsidian, Lexus will also offer the F-Sport model in two exclusive colors, Riviera Red and Liquid Platinum.

Inside the car gets a unique aluminum trim and perforated black leather with aluminum pedals, plus a 16-way power sport driver’s set with improved lateral support and power side bolsters. An optional Cabernet Red leather will also be available.

No changes have been made under the hood, with the 3.5-liter V6 continuing to generate 306-hp for a 0-60 time of 5.7 seconds.

“The all-new GS 350 with F SPORT package will offer our customers more agility and a sportier appearance,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “The racing-inspired F SPORT components were precision engineered for this vehicle, providing quality performance without compromise.”

GALLERY: 2013 Lexus GS350 F-Sport

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show preview here

 |  Oct 15 2011, 9:00 AM

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There’s a new tuning company opening up shop in Japan and it’s looking to grab some immediate headlines with it’s version of the Nissan GT-R, sporting some of the most radical styling we have seen yet on the Japanese supercar. The company, which goes by the name Bensopra, is set to debut the new race car inspired machine at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January.

The renderings of the GT-R are what Bensopra hopes to achieve as the final product, packed with race-inspired graphics and potentially hitting the track to prove that it’s function over form. Rumor has it that this extreme GT-R will be packing upwards of 1000-hp to complement its unique widebody.

GALLERY: Bensopra Nissan R35 GT-R

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[Source: Speedhunters]

 |  Aug 25 2011, 11:16 AM

Prepping your IS-F for the track just got a lot easier thanks to a new line of performance parts released by Toyota‘s TRD performance division.

The parts, first unveiled on the Lexus IS-F Circuit Club Sport concept car at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon, include a new carbon fiber front bumper, carbon trunk lid, rear spoiler and diffuser. Also available are light weight wheels and a suspension kit.

Currently offered on TRD Japan’s website, it’s not clear if these goodies will be available in North America. Overnight parts from Japan anyone?

 

 

GALLERY: Lexus IS-F Circuit Club Sport

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 |  Aug 02 2011, 9:45 AM

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This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Mugen’s hot CR-Z RR Concept, but more photos have been released and there’s no reason not to share. Unfortunately, there are still no plans to releasing any of the parts or the vehicle and this version of Honda‘s sporty hybrid will remain a show car. Produced by M-TEC in Japan, the Concept shows off Mugen’s abilities to customize the function, style, performance and agility of the hybrid CR-Z.

Much of the CR-Z RR Concept consists of replacement carbon fiber body panels, including the hood, doors and rear hatch. The entire underbody also features carbon fiber while a twin exhaust shoots out the rear’s center. The suspension has been thoroughly tuned for race use while the orange 4-piston monobloc brakes may be overkill for the hybrid, but look great on the car and is consistent with its theme. Contrasting the Valencia Orange Pearl paint are black 18-inch wheels.

On the inside, the CR-Z RR Concept gets Mugen-branded leather/Alcantara seats and features a race-developed information screen that can gather data from the chassis and engine. Through the use of its satellite GPS, the system can monitor the car over two laps to learn a track after which it’ll record lap data and vehicle tracking.

GALLERY: Mugen Honda CR-Z RR

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