It’s been a big week for Japanese-made sports cars. First we had the unconfirmed rumor out of Australia that Toyota will produce a convertible GT86, even after previously indicating the opposite. Today we have confirmation that Honda is giving the green light to manufacture the Beat-based S660 Concept as early as 2015.
We first saw the Honda S660 Concept (above) at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show last November. As you can see, it has a splendid aesthetic with a modern design that goes above and beyond what you’d expect from an automaker like Honda. At first glance it’s reminiscent of a convertible Acura NSX, albeit much, much smaller, but in truth it’s based on the Honda EV-STER Concept from the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show (below).
Honda’s newest sports car’s measurements are small enough to fit Japan’s Kei car regulations, which limit body length at 3.4m and width at 1.48m. Even the concept’s name hints at its size, S660 being a reference to the bite-sized engine displacement – 660cc. This engine is the same size as was in the original Honda Beat from 1991.
In fact, the closer you look at the S660 Concept’s powertrain, the more you see where this car has its roots. Just like the original Beat, the S660 will use a rear-drive, mid-engine layout for optimum balance. Honda claims that the car will have a perfect 50:50 weight distribution between the front and rear axles. If the S660 does indeed follow in the Beat’s footsteps, then you can expect to the production model to get a turbocharged three-cylinder engine that outputs 64 horsepower, the maximum power allowed by Kei car regulations.
With all the limitations put on the S660’s mechanics, you can see why Honda put such a heavy emphasis on its looks. What they presented us in Tokyo was simultaneously clean and aggressive with all the right features. LED headlights, a dominant grille and sharp-cut wheels all help make the S660 stand out from the crowd. Of course, by the time the S660 launches in 2015, it will need to stand out from the crowd… Toyota is planning to revive their Daihatsu Copen sometime around 2015, and Suzuki may do the same with their old Cappuccino by 2016.
There are probably at least a few reading this who’d be interested in owning one of these pearly white S660 roadsters when they finally launch sometime next year. Unfortunately, initial speculation indicates that the S660 will be limited exclusively to the Japanese market. Still, anything can happen, so we’ll be sure to keep you updated as we draw closer to the little sports car’s debut.