New Honda Beat S660 concept unveiled
20th Nov 2013 9:16 pm
Honda unveils radical Kei car concept which is likely to lead a Beat revival
The Honda S660 concept car has been revealed ahead of the Tokyo motor show. The spiritual successor to the cult Honda Beat will be make it into production next year powered by a mid-mounted 660cc three cylinder turbo engine allied to a seven speed paddle shift transmission.
However, the S660 has been conceived as a Kei car, designed to fit within strict domestic size limits, the S660 is not officially intended for sale outside Japan. Kei cars are exempt from crash test procedures that would prohibit their sale in Europe and the US.
Senior designer Ryo Sugiura said: "I cannot tell you if it will or will not. It’s a secret. The car would certainly need some re-engineering" when pressed about its potential for breaking out of the home market.
Described by Honda as 'an open-top sports-type mini-vehicle', the S660 is likely to become the spiritual successor to the manufacturer's original S600 sports car of the 1960s.
The Honda S660 name suggests the model will use a 660cc engine for power, which alongside its very small dimensions means the concept appears to be aimed at the Japanese Kei car market. A Kei car must be less than 3.4 metres long by 1.49 metres wide, and had a fixed engine capacity of 660cc. However, rumours persist that the S660 is capable of accepting Honda’s newly announced three cylinder 1-litre turbo engines, currently generating around 105bhp and heading this way in the 2015 Honda Jazz.
The engine is believed to be in a modest state of tune, raising the possibility of a more powerful variant being used should the decision be made to export the S660.
The Tokyo concept uses an automatic transmission with paddle shifts mounted on the steering wheel.
Reports suggest the S660 concept could be seen in production form as the revised Honda Beat. The manufacturer recently confirmed it would be bringing the roadster back for the modern age, while a reveal for any such model at the Tokyo show was also discussed. Daihatsu is also planning a return for its Copen sports car.
The original Beat was built between 1991 and 1996 and is said to have been one of the influences behind the MGF.
Honda has also shown its NSX concept, a new Urban SUV concept, and a personal mobility vehicle named Uni-Cub as well as a plug-in hybrid version of the Accord.