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Future models - Honda - S660

Honda launches S660 roadster

Tiny dancer: The diminutive S660 taps into a rich vein of four-wheel history for Honda.

Tiny kei-class Honda two-seater S660 debuts two years after Tokyo motor show reveal

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Honda logo31 Mar 2015

By TIM ROBSON

HONDA has launched its latest two-seat sports car in Japan – but it’s a far cry from the new NSX supercar.

Called the S660, the tiny two-door soft-top is Honda’s latest entrant into Japan’s kei class. Measuring just 3395mm long, 1457mm wide and 1180mm high, the S660 weighs a paltry 830kg.

Sporting a twin-cam three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that makes just 47kW and 104Nm, Honda claims that the mid-engined, rear-drive S660 is the first kei-class car to ever be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox.

A seven-step CVT transmission is also available for the tiny two-seater.

Built on an all-new platform, Honda has made extensive use of high-strength steel in the construction of the S660. The Japanese car-maker is also debuting a new ‘i-SRS’ driver’s side airbag that can hold its inflated pressure for a longer period of time than a conventional bag.

Stability control, hill-start control and emergency brake alert are standard across the range, while autonomous brake assist is available on higher-specced cars.

A soft roof can be stowed in the rear of the S660, while engine and turbo blow-off valve noises have been tuned for a more sporting presence.

Honda Japan expects to sell 800 S660s a month in its local market. Prices start at the equivalent of $A21,800.

Honda Australia has no plans in place to import the S660. Reports suggest that a larger version, known as the S1000, is under development for export markets, and will feature a 1.0-litre turbocharged engine capable of almost twice the output of the 660cc engine.

The S660 is the first ‘S’ car to be released since the demise of the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder S2000 in 2009.

The S660 name harks back to Honda’s first ever passenger vehicle, the 1963 S500 roadster. Powered by a 492cc four-cylinder engine, it featured a four-speed manual gearbox and used motorcycle parts such as a chain drive at the rear wheels. This was followed up by the S600 in 1964 that maintained the chain drive to each rear wheel and was powered by a 43kW, 606cc engine. This was Honda’s first mass-marketed passenger car and was available in both right- and left-hand drive.

To be eligible for Japan’s kei class status, a car must have an engine that is no larger than 660cc in swept volume, no longer than 3400mm, no wider than 1480mm and no taller than 2000mm. It is also limited to an engine output of just 47kW.

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