Wednesday, October 23, 2013

And the Beat Goes On: Honda Bringing S660 Concept to Tokyo [2013 Tokyo Auto Show]

The Honda Beat was an adorable little Pininfarina-designed, mid-engined two-seater from the early- to mid-1990s. The car gained a cultish following because of its playful character and oddball size, not to mention the fact that it never went on sale in the U.S. Now, 17 years after the Beat went out of production, it seems that Honda has prepared a successor in the S660 concept that will debut at next month’s Tokyo auto show.

This car, too, features two seats and a mid-engine layout, but it borrows its exterior design from the EV-STER concept that Honda showed off the last time Tokyo hosted the world’s motoring press. Consequently, the S660 has a grille that stretches into the headlamps, a rising beltline, unique-looking intakes mounted fore of the rear wheels, and a pair of angular and aggressive buttresses that extend to the end of the trunklid.

Honda didn’t divulge powertrain details, but rampant media speculation has the S660 being powered by a pint-size 660-cc turbocharged three-cylinder capable of producing 60-some horsepower. Although Honda calls the S660 a concept, we get the impression that a production-spec model is right around the corner because: A, Honda frequently refers to thinly disguised production models as “concepts,” and B, because this is the second time we’ve seen this bodywork in concept form. While a 660-cc two-seater screams “Japanese-market only,” there are whispers of a 1.0-liter version that could be exported. Could Honda really deprive us of another Beat?

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