The Daihatsu Copen Mini Roadster is, as you can tell from the photos, small. It aims to bring a new and exciting dynamic to the compact-car market by being the first baby-roadster with an electrically operated metal roof. Push the 'transmute' button, and in about 25 seconds, the roof retracts and you can experience the joy of open-air driving.
The Daihatsu is a tiny car, measuring 3.4 metres in length and just 1.47 metres in width. It will seat two people, take very little luggage (with the top down) and is shod with bicycle-like 165/50 tyres.
It weighs an astonishing 830kg, and drives through the front wheels, courtesy of a 5-speed manual transmission. Powering the mini-roadster is an equally mini 656cc inline-four cylinder engine, which would be more at home on a Suzuki GSX-R sportsbike.
Still, with such a light weight and the addition of a turbocharger, the 0.7-litre engine will happily bounce off its 8500rpm rev limiter, endowing it with more than respectable acceleration.
The DOHC, 16-valve beast makes 47kW @ 6000rpm, with 110Nm of torque @ 3200rpm, making for a wide spread of power.
While 47kW may sound pretty weak, consider how much you would save if your car did 18 kilometres per litre of petrol.
The Copen, like the Nissan Skyline GTR, is currently only for sale in Japan, but it has been confirmed for export to the UK. What does this mean for us? It has a better chance to make it over here, especially the more people know about it. But in all likelihood, it would probably sell for not much less than the 1.6-litre Peugeot 206CC, perhaps at around $30,000.
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