A two-door roadster, the Copen was constructed by the Japanese car company Daihatsu and debuted at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show as the Copen concept. Based on Daihatsu's front-wheel-drive light-car platform, the Copen featured an aluminium retractable hardtop. Originally, the Copen was designed with a 660 cc turbocharged engine to stay within Japanese kei car regulations. Unfortunately it no longer meets environmental emissions standards in various countries, so to run in these countries, it was fitted with a more powerful 1.3 L powerplant. The top speed of the Copen was 106 mph and could ac hieve 0-62 mph in 11.7 seconds.
To meet the Kei class guidelines, the Copen is one of a strange breed of vehicles, the 'K' class cars being small in proportions in also in their engine sizes in a bid to reduce congestion in Japanese cities. Most of these vehicles are boxy with tall shapes to maximize the space on the road. Though tiny, the Copen is an impressive little machine with a folding hardtop.
Two new models of the Copen were introduced at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show, a 1.31 and ‘ZZ'. The Daihatsu Copen was featured in Gran Turismo 4 and Gran Turismo 5 prologu. The Copen's nearest competitor is the Smart Roadster-Coupe. 'Cute' and fun, the Copen is aimed more at the female market, due to its small interior, while taller and larger men would probably find the cabin to be cramped. Considered by some to be a ‘frivolous' machine, the Copen is a stand-alone convertible model in the Daihatsu range, but in the UK it's the only Kei class sporting car available.By Jessica Donaldson