A spiritual successor to the Honda S600 and the Pininfarina-designed Honda Beat, the S660 Kei-roadster has gone on sale in Japan. The petite model was previewed by a funky-looking concept car at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, so reaching mass-production status in under two years is probably a first, even for Honda.

Even though it has a retractable roof, which normally adds weight, the tiny mid-engine roadster is part of the Kei car category in Japan, weighing less than 2,000 pounds and measuring under 11.2 feet in length. Being part of that special category also means that the 660cc engine has its displacement restricted to that figure by law, but unconfirmed reports suggest that a hotter model sold outside Japan may benefit from a turbocharged, 1.0-liter engine, with its handling developed in cooperation with Mugen.

Updated 08/11/2015: A new report from Edmunds indicates that Honda is considering offering the S660 on the U.S. market too. Of course there are some questions that need answering first, like "It’s got to be commercially viable. It’s got to serve a purpose from a brand standpoint. What does it do for the brand?" - Honda. But a decision should come down soon.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Honda S660.

  • 2016 Honda S660
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-3
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    63
  • Torque @ RPM:
    77
  • 0-60 time:
    10 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    87 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    15000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

The S660 is available in six colors, including Premium Mystic Night Pearl and Admiral Gray Metallic. Despite having tiny dimensions, the S660’s proportions are those of a fully fledged sports car. The wheels are pushed as far as possible to each corner of the wide and low body. The front end is typically Honda, from some angles harking back to the Honda/Acura NSX. From the side you could easily confuse it with a more powerful car; the turbine wheels and two air intakes on each side contribute to its sporty appearance.

With almost non-existent front and rear overhangs and a targa-style, canvas roof, the S660 certainly means business as far as styling and proportions go. The rear end’s design reminds me of a Cylon from Battlestar Galactica, but maybe that’s just me. The center exhaust pipe looks massive. On the whole, the S660 looks great from just about every angle — not very different from the concept car’s lines.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 3,395 MM
Width 1,475 MM
Height 1,180 MM
Weight 830 KG (1,830 LBS)

Interior

Honda says that the S660 has the smallest-diameter steering wheel in its entire lineup, its flat-bottom design bringing a touch of NSX flavor. Speaking of the NSX, the S660 cabin looks at least as sporty as its bigger brother. The center console is angled toward the driver, and the instrument cluster features a massive tachometer in the center.

Honda designed the interior to create a "sense of unity between the driver and the vehicle," and the driving position seems similar to that of a go-cart. Automatic air conditioning is standard, as is a rear center glass section that can go up or down and acts as either an air-deflector or a rear windshield.

Drivetrain

According to Japanese Kei car regulations, the Honda S660 sports a turbocharged, 0.66-liter, three-cylinder engine that develops 63 horsepower and 77 pound-feet of torque. The tiny powerplant is mated to a six-speed manual transmission, which is a first for this segment according to Honda. Optionally, buyers can get a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with a seven-speed paddle-shifter that features a sport mode.

There are no words on acceleration figures, but cars like this are obviously not about 0-60 or quarter-mile times. The midship engine layout delivers a low center of gravity and a 45/55 front/rear weight balance, which in theory should provide ample amounts of fun on the twisties as long as there isn’t much uphill driving involved.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type three-cylinder engine
Output 63 HP
Torque 77 Lb-FT
Transmission six-speed manual
Top speed 140 km/h (87 mph)

Prices

In Japan, the starting price for a Honda S660 with the six-speed manual is 1,980,000 Yen (approx. $16,500 as of 3/30/2015). Even though there are currently no official plans to export it, on the international market the starting price would likely increase closer to $20,000, an increase that could go hand in hand with the model’s curb weight (e.g. more safety features equal more weight and costs).

Competitors

Smart Roadster

SMART files patent on new Roadster Concept design Exterior
- image 388031

We’ve been waiting a long time for Smart to build a new production model of the Roadster, but from the looks of things we’re nowhere closer to seeing that happening than we were a few years ago. It’s a real shame because the Roadster really looked like it had a lot of promise, even if it still resembled a big shoe.

But it was unusual looking that much I can tell you. It was also to retain its own pint-sized three-cylinder engine, making it an ideal competitor for the Honda S660 Concept. The original Smart Roadster and Roadster Coupe were doomed after a two-year production run, and it seems that a successor may be a long way from happening.

Conclusion

Despite delivering a measly 63 horsepower, the Honda S660 pushes all the right buttons as far as I am concerned. It is rear-wheel-drive, mid-engine and looks like an NSX that never grew past kindergarten age. Brought to the U.S. and priced less than say, a Ford Fiesta ST, it could become a huge seller. I think it would be perfect as a first car if your teenager is into sports models and you don’t want him to constantly break the speed limit in a Mustang or Camaro. Tiny exterior dimensions have never looked so appealing for a sports car.

  • Leave it
    • * Not exactly powerful
    • * It’s more of a rolling speedbump compared to an SUV
    • * Japan-only

Updated History

Updated 03/30/2015: Honda dropped the official details on the new S660 - the tiniest model in its lineup.

Press Release

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. will begin sales of the all-new Honda S660, a 2-seater open-top sports car, on April 2, 2015, at dealerships across Japan. In addition, on the same day Honda will begin sales, in a limited quantity, of the S660 CONCEPT EDITION, a special model that commemorates the market launch of the S660. Only 660 units of this special edition will be sold in Japan.

2016 Honda S660
- image 624261

Under the keyword of “Heart Beat Sport,” the development team pursued a full-fledged sports car that offers excitement and a heart-throbbing experience in everything about this vehicle and strived to realize the joy of driving that only Honda can create.

The S660 adopts the mid-ship engine/rear-wheel drive (MR) layout and realizes a low center-of-gravity as well as the optimal 45-55 front-rear weight balance, in order to realize excellent cornering performance, which the development team emphasized to maximize the fun of turning. Moreover, the S660 features an open-top body that achieves both high rigidity and lightweight at the same time. This body developed exclusively for the S660 creates an open-air cabin space that enables the occupants to feel the wind, see the sky and enjoy an extraordinary experience while also enjoying a cabin space that enables the occupants to feel enveloped and being used with the vehicle.

Furthermore, with a passion to create a vehicle that provides casual access to the joy of driving for anyone, the development team adopted an exclusively-designed turbo charger for the engine, enabling dynamic driving and high-accelerator response even in the low engine rotation range. As for the transmission, the S660 comes with a newly-developed 6-speed manual transmission, making the S660 the world’s first* mini-vehicle equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. In addition, the S660 is also available with a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with 7-speed paddle shifter that features a sports mode. The S660 realizes both driving performance unique to a car and easy handling in people’s everyday life.

2016 Honda S660
- image 624262

?S660?
?Body color (total 6 colors ):
?Premium Star White Pearl (new color)
?Premium Mystic Night Pearl
?Admiral Gray Metallic
?Premium Beach Blue Pearl (new color)
?Carnival Yellow II (new color)
?Flame Red

?Seat variation (color):
??: Genuine leather x Luxe Suede®*2 (Driver’s seat in light gray and passenger’s seat in dark gray or black)
??: Mesh x fabric (black)

*2 Luxe Suede is a registered trademark of Seiren Co., Ltd.

?S660 CONCEPT EDITION?
?Body color
?Premium Star White Pearl (new color)

?Seat variation (color):
?Genuine leather x Luxe Suede® (Driver’s seat in light gray and passenger’s seat in dark gray)

?Key features of the S660?

?Fun of making turns

?With the adoption of the mid-ship engine/rear-wheel drive layout, the optimal 45-55 front-rear weight balance was realized to minimize the moment of inertia and improve traction performance.

2016 Honda S660
- image 624263

?Paying close attention to the posture of the vehicle while rolling, the height of both the roll center and the center of gravity was optimized to suppress the roll during a turn and realize stable driving.

?For a first for a mini-vehicle*3, the Agile Handing Assist electronic control system was adopted for the S660. The Agile Handing Assist system uses brake torque to apply control in accordance with the movement of the vehicle body, which makes it easier to trace target line during a turn and realize smooth vehicle behavior with minimum handling operations.

*3 Internal research by Honda (as of March 2015)

?Fun of driving

?Based on the in-line 3-cylinder DOHC Turbo engine, whose dynamic performance has been well recognized with the N Series, a newly-designed turbo charger was adopted to realize engine response appropriate for a micro-sized sports car.

?Exclusively for this model, the first 6-speed transmission for a mini-vehicle was developed with a wide range and cross ratio setting that enables it to utilize engine power to the maximum extent. Moreover, the S660 is also available with a CVT with 7-speed paddle shifter that can shift the vehicle into sports mode which the driver can use to enjoy driving with more direct response to accelerator operations. This transmission lineup will enable a broader range of customers to enjoy the fun of driving with the S660.

2016 Honda S660
- image 624264

?Powerful engine sound unique only to a sports car was realized by applying Honda’s original sound tuning techniques to the breathing and exhaust sounds of the engine, the operating sound of the turbo charger, the sound of the blow-off valve that lets go of boost pressure, etc.

?An easy-to-operate, lightweight and detachable soft-top called a “roll-top” was adopted so that more customers can enjoy the fun of driving while feeling the wind in a more casual manner.

?Fun of maneuvering

?The driver’s seating posture, hip point and the location of the accelerator and brake pedals are optimized to realize a driving position that gives the driver a feeling of driving a go-kart. A sense of unity between the driver and the vehicle was thoroughly pursued.

?The S660 features a steering wheel with a 350mm diameter, the smallest diameter among all Honda mass-market models, enabling the driver to enjoy brisk driving.

?To ensure comfortable driving in all seasons, the S660 features a fully automatic air-conditioning unit with the “mid-mode” for which new air outlets were added to blow the air to the thigh to waist-high areas. The rear center glass that goes up and down was also featured to realize a comfortable cabin space even when the top is open.

?Exterior and interior design

2016 Honda S660
- image 624265

?Under the exterior design concept of “energetic bullet,” the body was made low and wide and tires hold to the ground solidly in all four corners. The design team thoroughly pursued an exterior look that lets people anticipate the high level of dynamic performance this vehicle will provide.

?As for interior design, the team thoroughly pursued operability that realizes intuitive operations of a space designed especially for driving. Moreover, the overall visual and tactile interior quality was enhanced by striving to realize high quality appropriate for a full-fledged sports-type model.

?Safety

?In order to realize a highly-rigid, high-strength and lightweight open-top body, the framework of the body consists of straight lines and smooth curved lines that achieve outstanding collision safety performance. Moreover, for countermeasures against a rollover accident, Honda studied laws and regulations in North America and set its own internal standards. Based on these standards, reinforcement members were used for the front and center pillars to realize enhanced occupant protection performance in case of a rollover accident.

?In addition to the driver’s i-SRS airbag system and front passenger’s i-SRS airbag system, an i-side airbag system, which absorbs the impact of a lateral collision, is a standard equipment of the S660.

?The passenger’s i-SRS airbag system installed to the S660 adopts the world’s first*4 “internal pressure holding airbag system, ” which can hold internal pressure for a longer period of time compare to a conventional airbag system, enabling further improved occupant protection performance.

?In the area of active safety – efforts to prevent accidents before they occur – the S660 features Vehicle Stability Assist and Hill Start Assist as well as the Emergency Stop Signal system which warns vehicles to the rear of a sudden stop, all as standard equipment for all types.

2016 Honda S660
- image 624266

?The City-Brake Active System which provides automatic braking assistance at speeds less than 30km/h to prevent a collision with the vehicle in front is available as an option for some types.

*4 Internal research by Honda (as of March 2015)

?S660 CONCEPT EDITION – a special edition that commemorates the market launch of S660?
In order to commemorate the market launch of the S660, Honda will sell a total 660 units of the S600 Concept Edition. This special edition was developed based on the S660 CONCEPT, a concept car Honda unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2013, and features an enhanced sense of high quality.

?Key features of S660 CONCEPT EDITION?

?Exterior?
?Bordeaux red roll-top, 2-tone side mirrors, exhaust pile finisher with exclusive coating
?Water-repellent body coating “Ultra Glass Coating NEO”
?Door glass with water-repellent glass coating

2016 Honda S660
- image 624267

?Interior?
?Red stitches exclusive to this model are used for the sports leather seat with unsymmetric colors (driver’s seat), genuine leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift boot,
[6MT version only] genuine leather-wrapped MT shift knob (shift pattern is engraved in red)
?Aluminum plate with serial number (1 through 660)
?Center display (compatible with the internavi POCKET link up)

?Safety?
?City Brake Active System (Collision Mitigation Brakes in low-speed range + False Start Prevention function*5)

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