This is not a late April Fool’s Day joke, this is very real. Honda has finally turned that EVster and S600 Concept into reality. Welcome everyone to the modern day Honda Beat. Like the concepts and the Beat before it, the S660 adheres to Japan’s Kei car regulations. That means it has to be powered by a 660cc three-cylinder engine and no longer than 3.4m. This a pocket-size sports car from the country that gave us Pocket Monsters.
The S660 measures in at 3395mm long, 1475mm wide, and 1180mm tall. As it’s only little the weight is low too; a mere 830kg. Powering it is a turbocharged 660cc three-cylinder engine producing 64bhp and 103NM of torque. If it’s like any other kei car that I’ve come across then squeezing out every last one of those horsepowers should be a lot of fun. That’s exactly what Honda wanted with this car, a car you could have fun in. It’ll be available with a CVT transmission with 7-speed manual override via paddles or with a proper 6-speed manual gearbox.
Unlike its main rival in Japan, the Daihatsu Copen, the S660 has the advantage of being mid-engine and rear-wheel drive. The Copen is front wheel drive. That should give the S600 an advantage in the fun department. But to be on the safe side Honda have tuned the S660’s exhaust note to give a sporty sound and there’s even a blow-off valve. I kid you not. Honda have also given the S660 something called ‘Agile Handling Assist”, which uses brake torque to help keen the car in the optimal driving line.
Due to a low centre of gravity and a 45:55 weight distribution, Honda claims the S660 has fun, safe, and predictable handling. Of course being a Honda it’s fairly practical too. The interior looks useable and has all the basic creature comforts such as air con, sat nav, and airbags. The roof is a manually-operated soft top, like that in a Lotus Elise and in the old Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster.
The S660 is available to order at Honda dealers across Japan today. It’s unlinley the S660 will officially be exported out of Japan due to the different safety regulations for kei cars. However, as it’s made in Japan, the steering wheel is on the correct side. I’m aware of at least one new Copen on NZ shores. So should someone decide to personally import a S660, it shouldn’t be too pricey. Prices in Japan start from a reasonable ¥1,980,000 ($22,162) for the base manual and goes up to ¥2,180,000 ($24,395) for the top spec manual. A limited 660-run ‘Concept Edition’ will also be available for a small premium.
Last but not least, there’s the way this thing looks. It’s pretty much identical to the S600 Concept. That’s no bad thing as that looked like a mini-NSX. Tossing up between this and the Copen is a no-brainer. Things sure are looking good for Honda these days. They’re back in F1, the S660 is out and the NSX and Civic Type-R aren’t far off. Let’s hope this is the start of Honda’s sporting rebirth. There’s even rumours the next CR-Z will feature a turbocharged engine. Yes please Honda. And while you’re at it give us a new S2000 too.