Saturday, June 18, 2011

Don't Call it a Comeback....Honda Beat

Well, where there's usually this much smoke, there's fire....
Successor to tiny Nineties’ drop-top is on way

By Peter Lyon
10th June 2011

The Beat goes on, Auto Express can reveal. Sources in Japan say that Honda will combine the best of its car and motorcycle technologies to create a front-wheel-drive, two-seater sports coupé successor to the Nineties Beat.

The original was a 3.3-metre-long drop-top, produced between 1991 and 1996, that had a 660cc engine to take advantage of Japanese tax breaks. The reborn Beat coupé will be based on the platform of the petrol-electric CR-Z two-door, but employ a smaller body with shorter overhangs, and is likely to take cues from Honda’s OSM concept car.

It is rumoured to incorporate one of the firm’s next-generation petrol engines: either the 1.3 or 1.5-litre advanced VTEC, due to appear in the company’s production cars from next year. Our spies tell us that a hybrid is not being considered for the coupé, although stop-start will feature.

The engine bosses eventually choose will be hooked up to the company’s first-ever dual-clutch transmission for cars. This set-up is borrowed and adapted from Honda’s VFR1200F motorcycle.

Targeting coupés such as the next Mazda MX-5 and recently launched Renault Wind, the newcomer is due in dealers in late 2013. It’s expected to cost less than £20,000, and will be sold in the US as well as Europe.

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