Lots of show, not much go.
In many ways, Mugen is to Honda what the likes of AMG and STI are to Mercedes-Benz and Subaru, respectively. Though not a subsidiary, the company is renowned for its fettling of various Honda models, whether they're one-off concepts, like the Honda CR-Z Mugen or limited production specials like the "it sounds like an angry swarm of honey bees" Civic Type R Mugen from a few years ago. Understandably, then, we were ecstatic to hear Honda is now selling a JDM-exclusive "Mugen RA" version of its S660 compact sports car.
That is until we read the spec sheet. Though it's far different from the Mugen body kit that's also available for the S660, the truth is this "sporty" model does about as much to the dinky little Honda droptop performance-wise. Due to Japan's stringent Kei car regulations that the standard S660 was built to, Mugen can't actually make the car more powerful. So this special edition Honda S660, tuned by a company that's perhaps best known for its engine upgrading heritage, is powered by the standard 660cc turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine that produces a mere 63 hp. Even for a car that weighs 1,800 pounds that's not a huge amount of grunt, though the sports exhaust that Mugen's fitting to the S660 RA should make it feel a wee bit faster.
To Mugen's credit, it has done a fair bit more to the Honda S660 under the skin than just bolt on a new, louder exhaust system. The Honda S660 Mugen RA also gets a carbon fiber front grille, new BBS alloy wheels (15 inches in diameter at the front, 16 inches at the back) and adjustable Bilstein dampers. All of these upgrades do come at a premium, as the Honda 2660 Mugen RA retails for, when converted from Yen to USD, more than $8,000 more than the standard $18,000 Honda S660. If you live in Japan and really crave an S660 Mugen RA, however, get your order in quick. Though it won't go on sale until October 3rd, orders for the 660 units that will ever be made are being taken on a first-come, first-served basis from now until September 30th.