Cue the chorus of disappointed Americans. Because while Honda is finally bringing the Civic Type R to the States, its S660 will be only available in the Japanese domestic market.
And that's a shame—because the tiny roadster sounds like it'll be an absolute riot. The rear-wheel-drive kei car is the road-going version of the S660 concept which stunned at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, and seems to have lost little in the transition to production.
Its in-line three-cylinder sits amidships and is fortified with a turbocharger, and while it puts out a relatively mild 66 horsepower, since Japanese regulations require kei cars weigh less than 2000 pounds, the S660 should be able to get out of its own way. But power—as any true enthusiast knows—isn't everything, and care was taken to give drivers a go-kart feel.
The little Honda is low and wide, and weight distribution is a near-perfect 45-55 front-rear. Perhaps the most exciting news about the S660 is the availability of a proper six-speed manual gearbox, which will up the fun factor exponentially. In the press literature, Honda states that this is a first for a mini-vehicle.
Those who don't opt for the third pedal will have to make due with a paddle shift-equipped CVT, though in an age when manufacturers are increasingly ignoring the stick, it would seem criminal not to choose it.
A limited number of 'S660 Concept Editions' will be available, though the differences between mainstream models—red roll top, leather touch points, red stitching—seem to be inconsequential. More exciting are upgrades available from semi-official Honda tuner Mugen, which include suspension bits, big brakes, a front lip spoiler and rear diffuser. A carbon fiber rear wing, vented hood, more aggressive fenders, a gloss-black grill and 15- or 16-inch wheels complete the exterior modifications.
While kei cars have occasionally made the migration out of their native country—mostly to micro-friendly markets like India—we don't expect to see that happen with the S660. But it should for a treat for urban Japanese enthusiasts.