By on March 30, 2015


While the whole world waited for the next Acura NSX, Honda quietly went about preparing an entirely different kind of mid-engine sports car for its home market.

The S660 will be about the size of the original Beat, largely since it must confirm to Japanese regulations for kei-cars. This means that it’s going to be small. Not Miata small, but original Lotus Elan small.

Underneath, a 660cc turbocharged triple making 63 horsepower is as much as Honda can legally get away with while staying in bounds for kei-car status. A CVT or a 6-speed manual (with an S2000 style shift knob) are the transmission options. Since kei cars would never ever fly in North America, we’ll never seen one Stateside. But maybe in 15 years I’ll scoop one up.


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23 Comments on “Honda S660, The Mid-Engine Honda We’ve Been Waiting For...”

  • avatar

    I want one like like when I was 16 I wanted a CRX. Only now I can afford to buy what I want.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi


    I wonder if the 63hp figure is honest. I remember a Japanese journalist writing for R&T back in the 1990s that the kei-car limit of 63hp was like the 276hp limit the manufacturers had agreed to. It was a number on paper, but had no relation to actual output.

    He cited the Suzuki Alto Works as being the prime offender at the time, as far as under-reported power went. I’d be interested in knowing if the S660 might be similar…

    • 0 avatar

      I always kind of wondered just how far over that 276hp limit the JDM R34 Skyline, Mk IV Supra, and Lancer Evolution went…I mean, the US market Supra Turbo was rated at 320hp.

    • 0 avatar

      There is a good hint in Caterham 160 which deploys Suzuki’s 660cc K6A turbo engine, good for catalog spec of 80ps.
      From owner experience, beat’s NA 64ps was an honest number, switching on A/C has eaten power as like losing one of the 3 cylinders.

  • avatar

    It looks like an annoying insect.
    Bring back the guy that did the S2000 – that’s a good looking car.

    (maybe this thing is just the ultimate desire of Japanese millenials?)

  • avatar

    I wish we could get these in B.C. – we do see 8-year-old Honda Beats (same layout), for sale (container loads of older Japan-sourced cars are imported to B.C., everything from mini-mini pickups with same size 660 c.c. engines as the Beat to Nissan super coupes). A right-hand drive Beat with a 6 speed and a 10,000 rpm redline I saw at a car show for sale looked like it should be as much fun as throwing around a Triumph Sprite from the ’50s, but with way better electrics. And incidentally, 8-year-old Japanese export cars seem to be in as good shape as 4-year-old cars from here.

    I don’t know why you say they “would never fly” here, unless you mean for not meeting current auto standards. In cities like Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle or Portland, I think they would be really popular since they are Smart-Car-size but with attitude and fun.

    Understandably, it would cost way too much for currently-designed models to meet current N.A. standards for crash worthiness and emissions. We’ll just have to wait 8 years for the used exports from Japan.

  • avatar

    Derek is quite right to point out how small this thing is. However, as a matter of fact, we do have a kei car on sale in USDM: the Mitsubishi MiEV. Naturally, only a carmaker as silly and desperate as Mitsubishi would adopt a kei car for America, and Honda is not quite there yet. But it’s not quite as impossible as the prevailing wisdom suggests.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      There’s a difference between the Miev and the Kei i it is based on. The Miev actually works. Unlike the craptastic dead i my sister-in-law deposited in her parents garage…

    • 0 avatar

      When Mitsubishi brought the iMiev to the US, they didn’t just switch the steering wheel from right to left. The USDM iMiev was also significantly widened and lengthened for comfort and given outrageously bigger bumpers and more kit compared to the JDM version for safety. I don’t think the USDM version would qualify as a kei car though you can say it is derived from one.

  • avatar

    My first Sprite had less than 50hp and was about the same length. Had a lot of fun in that car, but that was a long time ago.

  • avatar

    That looks super fun. But how big a dude can fit in there?

  • avatar

    how many people have actually been waiting for this shoe box?

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    With a 1000 cc engine for export markets. And IIRC, turbo too. Sweet.

  • avatar

    I would personally buy an ND Miata, but this is a very neat car, and I would like to give it a try sometime.

    At 660cc, zero luggage compartment, and 20K USD starting price it will never fly over here, though, so maybe on my next trip to Japan.

  • avatar

    The concept didn’t look nearly so oddly propotioned.

  • avatar

    projected pricing doesnt make much sense

    its supposed to be around $30k here, the GT86 is also $30k

    now of course, the GT86 is compromised in many ways but its easier to live with

    I dont think even at $20k there’s going to be many customers as its too ‘tightly focussed’ (to use the lingo)

  • avatar

    Not sure about the rest of you, but I am in no way wanting this car and I am certainly not waiting for it.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    Does it come with a fixed roof?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The rear deck is strange-looking, but I like every other angle.

    Long live the Fiat X-1/9!

  • avatar

    I like it. The crease that comes down from the front wheels and the wheels themselves are too large. The back looks interesting. Imagine if those lights were flush. The front may be a bit too tame. Hope it catches on. Would love to see other makes take on this sort of thing (especially Peugeot and Fiat).

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