Tested: 2000 Honda S2000

This September, sports car lovers, the car of your dreams will finally arrive. Honda’s S2000 comes to market with one goal: fun to drive. It’s got the stuff sports car fantasies are made of: a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout; a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission; an unequal length control arm suspension all around; disc brakes; and firm, supportive bucket seats, in a package that weighs less than 2,800 pounds. However, the jewel in the S2000’s crown is a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that makes a whopping 240 horsepower at 8,300 rpm and has a top speed of 8,900 rpm.

Only four volume production roadsters for sale in the US. uu. It can beat the power-to-weight ratio of the featherweight S2000: the Chevy Corvette, Dodge Viper RT/10, Ferrari F355 Spider, and Plymouth Prowler. The best news of all is the expected price: $30,000, or 10 to 124 thousand less than those estimated rivals. please stop drooling.

Reading: Honda s2000 reviews car and driver

Only one naturally aspirated production engine today comes close to matching the “revability” of the s2000: the red-lined 8500-rpm 3.6-liter V-8 of the $170,000 Ferrari 360 Modena.

Honda’s happy-revving little engine creates a wonderfully unique driving experience. the raised red line forces you to retune your ears to the proper shift point. Since few of us are used to the sound of an engine screaming at 8900 rpm, we had to watch the tachometer during the first few shifts to avoid short-shifting. At engine speeds below 7,000 rpm, one can hear and enjoy the bubbly note from the exhaust. Above 7000 rpm, mechanical noise under the hood drowns out the exhaust. If it wasn’t a Honda, we might have thought we were damaging something under that long, chiseled aluminum hood. however, before long we became completely accustomed to the sound an 8900rpm production engine makes and hit every turn at redline.

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considering the high red line, it’s not surprising that you have to accelerate a lot to keep it moving. This is not an issue as there is no engine vibration felt in the cabin, the transmission has six gears dedicated to keeping the engine revving, and the shifter feels as perfect as a sports car. However, all those revs come with a penalty in cabin noise; Wide open throttle acceleration is good for 93 dba, beating even the 89 dba squeal of an f355 spider.

As with most high-voltage motors, the s2000’s motor lacks low-end grunt, so it must be revved up a lot at launch during the acceleration test. But even with nearly 8000 revs on the tach, our very green test car (345 miles) couldn’t get a wheel loose on our grippy test surface, which partly explains our mediocre performance: 0-60 took us a full 6.8 seconds. , and the quarter-mile dropped in 15.1 seconds to a more impressive 96 mph. Those numbers are on par with the similarly priced BMW Z3. Shake it further, though, and the S2000 pulls away from the Bimmer, hitting 120 mph about seven seconds faster. we’re confident that a proper interrupt example thrown in a drag strip will run from 0 to 60 in the mid-five second range, and we’ll be testing another one soon.

Although a powerful car is nice to have, true sports cars go crazy like a strong engine because it gets the car to the next corner faster. Honda didn’t skimp on the handling of the S2000 either. Its highly rigid frame uses a large cross section center tunnel for rigidity and provides a firm foundation for the suspension of all control arms. (We didn’t notice a hint of tire shake over the bumps.)

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Frame fit is close to perfect and weight distribution rounds out to an ideal 50/50. The tires always feel precisely planted. The car communicates a clear picture of what’s going on in the contact patch, and like most Hondas, we could use every last ounce of 0.90g of lateral grip with confidence. The S2000 takes a defined position in turns, but never feels stuck in one position. follow the straight arrow when asked. the ride is firm but not hard. the tail is held well planted, almost too well. we could only persuade him by hitting the throttle mid-corner. The lack of action at the rear is perhaps the S2000’s only flaw; we prefer sports cars whose rear end helps with steering.

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The brakes only enhance the confidence-inspiring nature of the S2000. They’re strong stops from 70 mph requiring just 159 feet, the same as on our latest Porsche Boxster. Even better, the brake pedal feels firm and the S2000 doesn’t dive under hard braking.

As the icing on the cake, Honda has done away with some traditional sports car vices. There’s plenty of legroom, even for a six footer. There’s a dead pedal for your left foot and enough room in the pedal box to allow for unhindered footwork. the power soft top lowers in six seconds.

There are still a few sports car vices that will always be part of the roadster formula. storage space is minimal. There’s just a small glove box located inconveniently between the seat backs, and there are two small pockets in the doors. The trunk only holds five cubic feet of stuff, a little more than a Miata. But who cares? you want storage space, get a honda odyssey.

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The s2000 comes in four colors: white, red, silver, and black. There’s no optional equipment, but everything you’ll ever want in a roadster is here: a CD player, cruise control, keyless entry, and a digital instrument display that won’t fade in direct sunlight. If you’ve even thought about an automatic tranny, forget it, there isn’t one available. Honda plans to export only 4,000 to 5,000 S2000s to the US. uu. every year, so if you’re a true sports car aficionado, the line forms here.

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