Modified Honda S660 is the JDM S2000 Successor We Need
Reknowned tuners HKS and Spoon showcase and race their tuned Honda S660 demo cars with Best Motoring.
Japanese motoring program Best Motoring is a long-running series that enthusiasts of all things JDM have come to love and adore. Starting as a magazine, and later a video magazine on VHS tapes, then DVDs and, after a brief absence, the now web-based show offers monthly insights into the world of Japanese tuners, and tantalizing performance cars we never get to see here in the United States.
One of those cars is the Honda S660, as seen in the video above. In case you haven’t heard of it, the S660 is a compact, rear-wheel drive roadster developed by Honda. Sound familiar? Well, if you’re on S2KI, of all places, it certainly should. However, the magic formula is a bit different. Much like the AP1 S2000, the ‘660’ in S660 refers to engine displacement. Packing a 660-cc, turbocharged inline-four engine good for 63 horsepower and 77 lb-ft of torque, the S660 is a sub-compact kei car. It’s also mid-engined, but that hasn’t stopped people, like us, from viewing it as the baby S2000 successor that we aren’t getting here in the U.S.
That’s a shame, too, as this video shows how potent the little Honda roadster really is, especially when tuners like HKS and Spoon get their hands on one. As this Best Motoring video shows, this is actually a rematch, as the last time these two modified roadsters battled, it was Spoon that was victorious.
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So, what’s changed since last time? Well, the Spoon car, in white, has been thoroughly reworked by the famous Honda tuner. If our カタカナis still working right (it rarely does), the Spoon car features an upgraded turbocharger, intake, exhaust and ECU, bumping power figures to 91 horsepower and a whopping 80 lb-ft of torque. Remember, despite being turbocharged, the S07a engine has only 0.66-liters of displacement. From there, Spoon has added an aftermarket 1-way LSD and a set of their own coil-overs for suspension work. Additionally, the Spoon S660 rolls on Potenza Adrenalin wheels with very grippy Bridgestone Potenza RE71R tires.
HKS’ S660 demo car is equally thorough in it’s revisions. Dubbed the “GT100R” package, power jumps to 102 horses and 103 lb-ft of twist. This packages consists of a larger HKS GTIII turbocharger, an upgraded fuel system and engine management solution. Additionally, being a demo car for HKS, a company with their hands in every pot, the car also has HKS Hipermax coil-overs, an aftermarket 1-way LSD and an Advan Racing wheel and tire setup.
Our two judges are Keiichi Tsuchiya, AKA the Drift King, and Manabu “MAX” Orido, a well-respected Super GT racer. Their test venue of choice is a staged “touge” used for filming these shoot-outs.
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Of the HKS S660, the DK wishes for a bit more front end grip and describes the handling on the wet-but-drying touge as a bit kowai (狐者異), or scary. It’s clear from the video that Tsuchiya was fighting the front end of the HKS car, which is a bit unusual for a short wheelbase, mid-engine car. Orido also finds the suspension tuning a bit substandard for the bumpy, bouncy touge circuit. He also notes that, despite the larger turbo and 8,000 RPM redline, he preferred to short-shift a bit to better ride the torque curve.
On to the Spoon car! Right away the Spoon S660 showcases better handling balance. Both Orido and Tsuchiya aren’t having to fight understeer nearly as much in the Spoon S660 versus the HKS car. Additionally, despite being down on power, the Spoon S660 sets a better sector time than HKS, 28.182 seconds to 28.643. That’s a large gap for such a short sector distance. For perspective, on a typical two-minute circuit, rough math says the Spoon S660 is doing the deed some two seconds a lap faster. Impressive.
Following this, the two racing drivers do a cat-and-mouse style chase through the touge. Whoever pulls away wins. However, at this point, the rain has picked up, further exacerbating the HKS car’s proclivity towards understeer. The Spoon car, as a result, handily wipes the floor with the HKS car, and, much like the first time, the Spoon S660 is declared the winner.
I’m not surprised at the outcome, at all. The tight, loose conditions of the touge mean that most power advantages are washed away. From there, it’s all suspension and tire tuning, and Spoon brought a gun to HKS’ knife fight. The spring rates chosen by Spoon should, in theory, give their car a more neutral handling balance. From there, the RE71R tires are simply more grippy than the Advan AD08R, making the Spoon car much easier to drive, and faster, as a result.