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This is Honda’s adorable S660
Aww, isn’t it cute? This is the Honda S660 roadster, the spitting image of the S600 concept shown at the 2013 Tokyo show. Only now it’s real, unveiled it you-can-actually-go-and-buy-it production form.
At least, you can if you live in Japan. The S660 will only be offered in its home market, which makes us very sad. Sweet Lord Of Baby Roadsters, we want one.
This micro roadster is the spiritual successor to the legendary, Nineties-tastic Honda Beat, joining cars like the Suzuki Cappuccino and Daihatsu Copen in the highly underrated, diddy-drop-top Kei car class.
Under the current rules, Japan’s Kei-jidosha can be no more than 3.4m long and 1.48m wide, with tiddly 660cc engines.
So, in essence, what you have here is a two-thirds scale version of the new NSX. There’s a driver-focused cockpit, mid-mounted, 660cc three-cylinder turbo engine sending power to the rear wheels through a short-throw six-speed manual.
A seven-speed flappy-paddle CVT is available, but you don’t want it. Because, like the similarly-sized Caterham 160, we’re told the Honda development team engineered the S660 to put a smile on your face.
Even though the tiny engine kicks out just 63bhp, the car only weighs 830kg. The aluminium and steel sub-frame is, we’re told, stiffer than the old S2000. We suspect it should be able to handle the fearsome power.
With a 45-55 front-rear weight bias, Honda says its engineers set out to ‘maximize the fun of turning’. But despite the RWD layout, don’t expect much in the way of micro-drifts: the S660 boasts brake-based torque vectoring for tidier cornering.
If you want to hear the tiny three-cylinder turbo thrumming away, all you have to do is peel off the roll-up canvas roof to exposure yourself to the elements.
The S660 is available in two trim levels - standard and Launch. Honda expects to shift 800 of these £11,000 baby roadsters a month, but will make no more than 660 examples of the special ‘Launch’ edition.
But unfortunately only in Japan. Kei cars run into trouble with US and European crash test legislation, so we won’t be getting it over here. However, there is the possibility that Honda could adapt the S660 to bring it in line with our strict crash regs.
If you’re debating whether to do so, Honda, the answer is: yes. Do it. Bring it here. In the brightest colour possible.