Unveiling of the S660 Concept points to possibility of an attractively priced roadster with a three-cylinder engine
That's quite a cute-looking roadster...
\What you see here is the Honda S660 Concept which the Japanese automaker will be debuting at the Tokyo motor show next month. This experimental car comes out at a time when Honda is trying to add spice to its model line-up, which has been slammed by many critics as too bland.
Honda hasn't said much about the S660 Concept. But it should be noted that if this mini roadster were ever to go into production, it would sit on the lowest rung of the sports-car ladder.
But could it lead to a Beat revival?
Paddle-shifters on steering wheel indicate an auto ’box.
Most likely. You see, the use of the S660 badge is a hint that Honda is hoping to revive the good old days. The Beat was made from 1991-96 and rivalled other miniature open-toppers available at the time like the Daihatsu Copen and Suzuki Cappucino. It was powered by a 660cc three-cylinder petrol engine that produced around 64hp and was hooked up to a six-speed manual gearbox. The motor was placed amidships, making the Beat a classic rear-wheel-drive sports car. Its engine size allowed it to fall under Japan's Kei class which covers cars no longer than 3.4m.
The interesting thing about the S660 Concept is its cabin. As you can see in the photo, the steering wheel has paddle-shifters indicating that Honda is considering an automatic transmission instead to widen its appeal as much as possible.
Will it really be made?
There's a strong possibility. The design of the S660 Concept isn't far-fetched and it feels relevant next to the newest Honda models on sale. The digital read-out adds modernity and makes it a likely Beat successor.
Also worth a mention is the NSX supercar which Honda has already previewed in two conceptual stages. It has been confirmed that this hybrid-powered flagship sports car will go on sale in 2015. Therefore, there should be no reason for not making the S660 for showroom sales since its release would complement Honda's strategy to expand its sportscar range.
The only thing that might possibly concern car enthusiasts based in Thailand is that Kei-class cars are traditionally confined to the Japanese market. (Although very small models of the Daihatsu Copen were once available on the grey market here for 1.5 million baht.)
If Honda really wants to release a modern-day version of the Beat globally, it might have to consider bigger engine options for some markets.
S660 previews ultra-compact roadster under 3.4m long.