Honda S660 Launches in Japan

It's officially called S660, but Honda should have just called its new kei roadster the Beat. On sale right now in Japan, the S660 is indeed the Beat's spiritual successor—tiny, two seats, mid-engined, rear-wheel drive, and open-air.

2015 Honda S660 Roadster - Photo Gallery

The Pininfarina-designed Beat was offered from 1991 to 1996. Next year, you'll be able to legally import a first-year car via the 25-year rule:

The 660 in the new roadster's name stands for the the engine displacement—660cc—standard for all kei cars. The turbo three-cylinder is good for around 64 hp, again, standard for this class.

Honda says that the S660 "offers excitement and a heart-throbbing experience," and that its low center of gravity and 45-55 front/rear weight distribution are "emphasized to maximize the fun of turning." I say that Honda Japan should write every press release for every car, ever.

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Park the S660 next to, say, a US-market Civic, and it will look like a Power Wheels car by comparison. And yet, this is the most exciting new mid-engined sporty car from Honda, not the NSX. Because while the NSX will be amazing, it will also be for a lucky few.

The S660 is, by design, meant to be attainable. And lest you think it's doomed to never exist outside Japan, there continues to be talk of a proper export version being tested—one that sports a 1.0L turbo that makes more than double the power of the S660.

It would be a screaming-fun little performance bargain. So write your senators, write your Honda dealers, hell, start an online petition. We never got the Beat, but this new take on that formula?

That's something worth having. So ask for it. Loudly.


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