It’s been a while between drinks for open top sports cars wearing the Honda badge, but the new S660 concept bound for the Tokyo motor show next month offers a look at how the Japanese carmaker plans to rectify this.
With styling that clearly references 2011 EV-STER electric concept, the S660 uses a mid-mounted turbocharged 660cc three-cylinder engine that produces just 47kW, suggesting an overall package to fit within Japan’s Kei classification.
Honda hasn’t marketed a roadster since the S2000 bowed out in 2009, but Honda CEO Takanobu Ito confirmed last year that a new drop-top sports car is in the works, and is due to hit Japanese showrooms by late next year.
If the S660 has been designed to suit Kei classification, this would mean pint-sized overall dimensions within 3.4m long and 1.48m wide, similar to the Kei class Daihatsu Move and Suzuki Wagon-R+ hatches we saw here in the late 90s, and the pure-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV of the present.
Honda has been down the mid-engined Kei roadster path before, with the tiny Beat built from 1991-96. Suzuki also marketed the front-engined, rear-drive Cappuccino roadster between 1991-97.
A production S660 would also form a spiritual successor to Honda’s very first production models, with proportions that echo the S500 and S600 models of the early 1960s.
The S660’s modest drivetrain is not likely to topple the screaming S2000 for performance, but an expected weight of less than 900kg should put each kilowatt to good use.
Despite its rear-drive layout, the concept’s CVT automatic suggests that outright performance and driver engagement is not a top priority.
Honda’s images show a liberal use of carbon fibre throughout the cabin, but there’s no word whether the weight-saving material has found its way into the S660’s structure.
This reporter is on Twitter: @Mal_Flynn