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Honda introduces Japan-bound 2015 S660 roadster

The 63-horsepower S660 is aimed squarely at the Daihatsu Copen.

Honda has introduced a new roadster called S660. Designed specifically for the Japanese market, the S660 was previewed by a thinly-veiled concept that bowed at the 2013 edition of the Tokyo Motor Show.

Visually, the S660's overall shape is reminiscent of the Beat, a convertible kei car built in the early 1990s, but its front end borrows a handful of styling cues from the Acura NSX supercar that bowed in Detroit last January. As expected, the production model is nearly identical to the concept but it is fitted with less futuristic-looking lights on both ends and slightly revised bumpers.

Inside, the production version of the two-seater loses the concept's futuristic dashboard and gains a simpler unit with a digital instrument cluster. Aluminum pedals and a red push-button ignition seemingly borrowed from the Civic Type R add a touch of sportiness to the cockpit.

Power comes from a mid-mounted turbocharged 660cc three-cylinder engine that makes 63 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 77 lb-ft. of torque at 2,600 rpm. That's not much on paper, but it's plenty in a car that weighs about 1,800 pounds in its lightest configuration. Pulled from Honda's kei car parts bin, the turbo three can be linked to either a six-speed manual transmission or an optional CVT.

The roadster is built by Yachigo Industry Company, a small Honda-affiliated supplier that has assembled many of the automaker's kei cars and trucks over the past couple of decades. It is expected to land in Honda showrooms across Japan in time for summer.

The S660 will fight head-to-head against the Daihatsu Copen. Honda's next roadster won't be sold outside of its home country with a three-cylinder, but rumors indicate the automaker will shoehorn a slightly larger four-cylinder unit in the engine bay, christen the ragtop S1000 and distribute it in select markets around the world. However, U.S. sales are unlikely due to the ragtop's truly tiny size.

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