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Beat it, just Beat it! Honda is looking to revive its adorable, legendary (adoregendary?) kei-class convertible, the Lilliputian Beat, this time with motorcycle technology.
The last Beat was built from 1991 to 1996 and featured a 650cc engine in the middle, three cylinders, 63 horsepower, rear-wheel drive, and a name that endlessly amuses Westerners. The next Beat, however, will presumably be bigger than that. It will also feature a dual-clutch transmission—for the first time in a Honda—borrowed from the “Shamu” VFR1200F, and attached to a 1.3- or 1.5-liter VTEC four-cylinder.
Rumors have it that the car would resemble the OSM concept shown above and also share a chassis on the CR-Z, which might diminish some of the Beat’s original tiny cuteness. As long as it’s not saddled as a hybrid, the next Beat should still be fun. Gotta Beat ‘em while you can, Honda.
Honda is planning a rival to the Toyota FR-S (formerly FT-86) sports car, combing the concepts of the S2000 and the Beat minicar. According to a report by Motor Trend, the new two-seater roadster would use a modified version of the Fit platform using a a rear-mid engine layout. What isn’t clear is if Honda is planning to build this car with a conventional gasoline engine or a hybrid system like the CR-Z. We sincerely hope its the former, as that would not only allow for easier modification, but would also keep both the vehicle’s cost and its weight down.
MT‘s sources say the car is currently in development at Honda’s R&D center in Tochigi, just outside Tokyo. The project certainly sounds like an interesting one, combining the philosophies behind the old school 656cc inline-three cylinder engined Beat and the more modern 2.0-liter VTEC-powered S2000 in one small, economical and fun package.
If it is small enough and light enough we’d even love a car like this – even if it only came with the Fit’s 1.5-liter 4-cylinder.
[Source: Motor Trend]
[Photo Credit: AWRracing]
Convertible minicar could be branded as a Scion in the U.S.
Toyota appears to be readying a convertible version of the iQ minicar that is currently on sale in Japan and Europe. The report comes from Japan’s Best Car magazine, which suggests much of the basics will be kept including a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 99hp and 92 ft-lbs of torque. Fuel-economy for this engine is rated an an average of 51 mpg – although Toyota offers even smaller and more fuel-efficient powerplants including a 1.0-liter four-cylinder and a 1.4-liter turbodiesel.
Presumably cabriolet or roadster model would do without the two rear seats found in the coupe – which are by all accounts entirely useless.
Pricing in Japan could be 2 million Yen, which works out to a rather steep $20,300.
While it seems unlikely, there is potential for this car to make its way to North America. At the recent New York Auto Show, Toyota youth-brand Scion debuted a concept based on the iQ. This showed that Toyota is certainly interested in exploring whether or not to bring the iQ to the U.S. and apparently it sees the Scion brand as a better fit for the car. And as small a niche market as a vehicle like this may seem, the iQ Cabriolet already has a competitor with the SMART fortwo Cabriolet.
Best Car also suggests that Honda will bring back the Beat in order to compete with this new model from Toyota.