The newly-unveiled Honda S660 isn’t an S2000 heir, but it should carry on the proud tradition of sporty convertible Hondas.
Leaked last week, the S660 most closely resembles another cult-classic Honda, the Beat. That was a tiny mid-engined roadster built to Japan’s “kei” car standards in the 1990s.
Like the Beat, the S660 is both tiny and mid-engined. It’s based on the micro-sized Honda N Series, and uses that model’s 660-cc inline-three engine, but flipped around, turbocharged, and mated to either a six-speed manual or continuously-variable automatic transmission.
Honda hasn’t released performance figures for the S660 yet, but don’t expect it to be particularly fast. It will probably have trouble holding its own in a drag race against a Mazda MX-5 Miata, which looks positively gigantic in comparison.
U.S. fans will never be able to find out, though, because the S660 will only be available in Japan, and won’t exactly be easy to get there.
Honda plans to sell just 800 examples in its home market per month, plus 660 copies of a special Concept Edition model in a single, limited run.
That’s probably just as well. While it sounds like a lot of fun, and probably gets spectacular gas mileage, the S660 may be a bit too small for American tastes.
Whether it’s the because of the expanse of the country or the expanse of many of its drivers’ waistlines, truly small cars have never been as popular in the U.S. as they have in other countries.
While Japan’s crowded cities necessitate tiny kei cars, they’re just a curiosity here. And the number of people willing to pay for curiosity like the S660 is probably as small as the car’s wheelbase is short.
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