PistonHeads.com Forum

RE: Honda S660 Mugen

Tuesday 29th September 2015

Honda S660 Mugen: Driven

Mugen spices up Honda's S660 and offers a tantalising hint of the rumoured S1000 export model says Peter Lyon



OK, there may be some chuckles out there. This tweaked version of Honda's S660 Kei-coupe may look like an experiment for Transformers meets Speed Racer but Mugen's upgrades show off everything both parties do so well. And within a couple of years an upgraded, quicker and more serious version could be landing here.

The base Honda S660 is already one of the most highly engineered baby sports cars on the Japanese market. A unique chassis, bespoke 660cc turbocharged engine, quick-fire six-speed manual and specially developed Yokohama Neova tyres make it arguably the best-handling Kei car yet, harking back to the old Beat.

Honey I shrunk the NSX
Honey I shrunk the NSX
Bring that beat back
Mugen and Honda have a long history together on track, with race powertrains for Japaneses Super GT and Super Formula series, F1 heritage (more worthy of celebration than current efforts) and a thriving business selling styling accessories and performance upgrades for Honda road cars and minivans. And in the Mugen S660 we perhaps have a clue of what's in store for the wide-bodied, 1.0-litre turbo S660 variant apparently under development for international markets.

Mugen's relationship with Honda is different from in-house rivals like NISMO or Toyota's TRD, meaning it has access to S660s but customers in Honda dealerships can only buy tuning parts, not complete cars. They do happen on occasion though. There were tuned versions of the NSX, Accord and Odyssey with the occasional escapee from Japan like the gorgeous FD2 Type RR making it to these shores. European-built cars like the supercharged CR-Z and glorious FN2 Civic Type R add to the mix but the last complete Mugen was the CR-Z RR concept of 2012. Properly exotic stuff though and not a moment too soon for another, with the added excitement of a rumoured Mugen version of the new NSX.

Fixed wing, 10mm lower, new tyres - real deal!
Fixed wing, 10mm lower, new tyres - real deal!
Show to go
So what do we have for the Mugen S660? Lots of bespoke parts and lots and lots of vents on the carbon bonnet and restyled side panels. Everywhere, really. Aero too, in the shape of an integrated front splitter, further venting on the wings to suck air out of the wheelarches GT3 RS style and a fixed rear wing to replace the one that usually deploys at 70km/h on the standard car. There are also unique lightweight wheels with Yokohama Advan tyres, 10mm out of the ride height, new dampers and springs and Mugen slotted brake discs gripped by uprated brake pads. Finishing it all off there's a sports silencer, complete with your choice of carbon or titanium trim.

All of this doesn't come cheap, lifting the starting price of around 12 grand to nearly £21,000. Mugen to the max!

Bringing us to that huge power upgrade over the standard, Kei-mandated 64hp you were no doubt keen to hear about. About that. There isn't one. But there are differences in how that power is delivered, thanks to a Mugen optimised six-speed manual gearbox to flick through via the super-stumpy carbon shift knob.

64hp might seem more appropriate for powering a lawn mower but by making the most of that limited power through the precision of the short-throw shifts and keeping the engine spinning between 5,000rpm and the 7,700rpm redline you can make the most out of it and corner faster than a (relatively) grown-up sports car like the new MX-5. And where the S660 was already a blast the Mugen jumps into a new dimension.

Corners all about momentum with 64hp
Corners all about momentum with 64hp
All grown up
As standard the S660 depends heavily on its tyres to counter a tendency to lean and then lurch into an eventually more stable cornering stance. The stiffer Mugen springs and firmer dampers take the ride quality in a harsh direction but turn-in is much more precise, it corners flatter and that rear axle seems more in tune with what the front one is doing too. Brake pedal feel is improved too, biting earlier and requiring more subtle inputs to modulate but full of power.

Inevitably you crave more grunt and in its home market owners are finding an ECU and exhaust upgrade develops an 'easy' 80hp. An export version is going to require than that though, hence talk of the international market S1000 with around 130hp and a power-to-weight ratio and price able to stand comparison with rivals like the MX-5. We'll look forward to that but in the meantime the idea of a standard S660 with a few choice picks (the brakes and suspension spring to mind) from the Mugen catalogue makes a very appealing prospect.

[Words: Peter Lyon]


HONDA S660 MUGEN
Engine
: 660cc 3-cyl turbo
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 64@6,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 77@4,600rpm
0-62mph: 7.5sec
Top speed: 100 mph
Weight: 830kg
MPG: 59.8mpg (Japan's 08 rating)
CO2: N/A
Price: c. £11,900 - S660 stock car (c. £20,700 as tested)

[Sources: Mugen-power.com; Motoring Au; Autocar]



Author
Discussion

stephen300o

Original Poster:

15,458 posts

153 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
Chuckles? Only from the under endowed..
This car is long over due, refreshing too.

zebra

4,481 posts

139 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
Great concept, looks gash in my eyes. Honda need to do more of this with more aesthetically pleasing forms.


ILoveMondeo

9,610 posts

151 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
So close to being a really cool/good looking car, but missed the mark and shot past at 3000mph... frown

It just needs squashing, or stretching, or something... some great lines and features but all weird and out of proportion...
I do love the, erm, lumpy things, behind the seats, whatever they are called.

Sure it'll be a hoot to drive!



JonoG81

384 posts

30 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
Shouldn't like that, but strangely do..

soad

28,169 posts

101 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
Looks all right to me, not cheap though.
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GTEYE

1,005 posts

135 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
Looks good to me, makes an MX-5 look somehow rather excessive.

Only caveat is that whilst perfect for its home market, not quite sure it would translate to here though.

You can just picture the intimidation the driver of one here would get from all those SUVs....

Fetchez la vache

4,996 posts

139 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
Looks... divisive, but from some angles looks fab.
Forgot about the Kei cars tbh. Since the beat and Cinc it's all been a little quiet.

It does make you wonder why the Kei car idea didn't catch on here with the people that make decisions for city drivers. If the city roads are crowded, simply make the cars bloody smaller! I'd rather that approach than the electro-car nonsense whose through-life environmental impact is way higher than a petrol.

edinph

377 posts

99 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
Honda seems to have caught the Vauxhall bug. Over detailing and over chroming! This is a mess, but I'm sure it's a hoot to drive (although not exactly cheap)

zebra

4,481 posts

139 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
GTEYE said:
Looks good to me, makes an MX-5 look somehow rather excessive.
Now that is some creative trolling Sir. Good effort.

rossub

1,321 posts

115 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
Its a cool looking little city car - not one for the men though.

James Junior

717 posts

82 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
I rather like that - a very impressive 0 - 60 time for its modest power output.

That cover shot makes me think of the Alfa GTV with the rising diagonal slash through its flank.

Good luck to them. Not my kind of car, but totally see the appeal for those wanting a zingy little roadster for an urban environment.

cianha

2,165 posts

122 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
I prefer the cleaner lines of the original. We're still no nearer to seeing a Euro version though!


stanglish

107 posts

38 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
It's a missed opportunity if Honda can't deliver this cheaply.

I don't want a Mugened up overpriced MX5 rival. I want a minimalist roadster that's perfect for the missus, simple to maintain and cheaper than the MX5. That would appeal to plenty of young couples who have one practical car between them and then this for everything else!

M1C

837 posts

36 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
BRING the S1000 to us!!!

Looks less fussy than this....should be a hoot!

rogerhudson

331 posts

83 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
Japan made a super effort decades ago to correctly position motoring in it's society (like the UK an overpopulated space of islands) through a tax driven design structure (kei), you can have a lovely RangeRover in Tokyo but you will pay and pay to do so. If the UK had been as clever when the old mini and the 1100 came out we wouldn't be in the current mess, it's now too late, we might even have bullet trains. From kei to superkei.

ukaskew

3,563 posts

146 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
Love the idea of owning a nice new Kei car, would be perfect for me. This looks way too fussy though and the price is excessive to say the least.

Not sure about intimidation from SUV drivers, I certainly wouldn't feel that way but would certainly enjoy my busy A/B road commute which has lots of narrow sections that SUV drivers almost have to come to a stop when coming the other way.

LordGrover

28,662 posts

137 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
This just looks daft, much prefer the 'base' model.
If/when it gets to the UK I'll be keen to try one.

MrGeoff

273 posts

97 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
This is like a guilty pleasure, I bet this thing is a laugh to drive. Doesn't look too bad either.

300bhp/ton

34,414 posts

115 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
I like the look of this, the only thing that worries me is

PistonHeads said:
hence talk of the international market S1000 with around 130hp and a power-to-weight ratio and price able to stand comparison with rivals like the MX-5.
Why must we always be ripped off in the UK? The charm of this car would be it's size and pricing. But why would you opt for it if it cost the same as an MX-5? Which is already smaller than most cars on the roads.

350Matt

3,542 posts

204 months

Tuesday 29th September 2015
quotequote all
I like this and it reminds me of my old Cappuccino

however the main issue with driving a car of this size on UK roads is other road users

when driving my Cappo every roundabout became a game of will they pull out on me or not?
Everyone and I mean everyone ( mums in people carriers) would look you right in the eye and accelerate into your path, even if I was doing 80mph across the roundabout

no-one takes you seriously, you must be slow because its so small kind of thinking...

it was that and the never ending rust that made me sell it
shame because it was an utter delight to drive