By on August 15, 2013

S2000 on PM TTAC

 

If you accept the idea that a car can have two personalities, then you can be cheered by the fact that your Honda S2000 will always have a garage mate. Cruise conservatively and you may as well be driving a Miata, albeit the world’s roughest riding and loudest MX-5.  Find a twisty back road and wind the overachieving 4-banger to 6,000 rpm when the Flux Capacitor kicks in and you are hanging onto a snarling, world-class sports car.

We are reviewing the bone-stock 2008 S2000 that I bought in June, now with 28,500 miles on its clock. Mine is an “AP2″ model, essentially the second generation version which was sold between 2004 and 2009. It differs from the original 2000 to 2003 “AP1″ model due to its larger engine with its redline lowered to “only” 8,000 rpm, more low-end torque and suspension tweaks making the car less tail-happy. (Hondas claims over 2,000 improvements were made in the AP2. Why does every car company use that same number when they upgrade a model?)  Traction control was also added in 2006.

Every other review of the lightweight 237 horsepower two-seater can be summed up in one sentence: “The S2000 has the greatest gearbox ever, boasts precise handling and an ultra-high revving VTEC motor, has a cramped interior and a terrible ride, is Honda-reliable, and ‘I want one NOW!’” Suffice it to say that you are already aware of all that. Let’s talk about some things you don’t know about owning the little Honda.

Do Not Fear The Clutch Delay Valve

I test drove my S2000 during a rare Arizona rainstorm on urban streets, mainly to find out if my long legs would fit which they did thanks to the car’s generous 44.3 inches of legroom. I thus did not really wring out my roadster. On the 400 mile trip home the next day, I noticed when shifting at full throttle at revs in the VTEC range above 6,000 rpm, the clutch would not fully engage for a couple of seconds. I was disturbed to say the least – was my new yellow car a lemon with a slipping clutch?

A quick trip to S2Ki, the all-knowing S2000 owner’s forum, revealed numerous posts about this problem. It turns out that many AP1 owners were a little too enthusiastic in their speed shifting and were shredding their Torsen differentials and gearboxes at an alarming rate. (Honda deemed those cases “owner abuse” and thus maintained the car’s impeccable quality ratings.) In response, Honda added a clutch delay valve (CDV) in the upgraded AP2 model in 2004. As I am not a mechanical engineer, allow me to explain its function by quoting from this great article:

So what does the CDV do exactly? In short, it regulates the flow of clutch fluid in one direction through the slave cylinder, so you can disengage the clutch quickly but it will always re-engage at an engineered pace – quick enough not to be noticed or cause significant clutch slip, slow enough to prevent shock damage to parts of the drivetrain like the differential. The effect the CDV has on everyday driving is minimal but noticeable, and can be described as putting a piece of velvet between a hammer and nail. It softens the feel of the blow while still allowing enough power to get the job done

As an owner, the remedy to no-slip shifting is to either remove the device or slow down your shift and clutch action by a nano-second. I have done the latter and now nail 95% of my shifts. Let’s just say I was relieved to learn about the clutch delay valve.

Funniest Owner’s Manual Line

Alas, the manual appears to have been written by an American thus there are no humorous “lost in translation” moments. However, check out this directive that may be difficult for S2000 owners to follow: “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Transport Canada recommend that children aged 12 and under be properly restrained in a back seat.”

Stuck In Neutral Cornering

Since this is not an American Honda press car does that mean I treat it gentler than the average auto writer would? You bet it does. Case in point were my first runs on the local mountain roads. I have never gone faster in any other car on these highways and with absolutely no drama: no body roll, no oversteer or understeer, the car flat goes where you point it – at least at that speed I was traveling.

I obviously have not reached the car’s handling limits, but looping it going up Palomar Mountain with its blind curves and two-wheel knee-draggers passing over the double-yellow line would not be a good idea. I plan to hit a track day or autocross where I will take the S2000 to the edge. This is easily the best cornering car I have ever owned and I want to learn its capabilities in a safe environment.

I don’t think the S2000 “understeers at the limit” but I plan to write that in the next installment just to annoy our Editor pro tempore as he hates that hackneyed auto writer line even more than he hates the S2000. (By the way, San Diego has the best Shrimp pro tempore anywhere.)

 I Now Understand Cordless Radar Detectors

I have no issue with most of the car’s odd ergonomics that others have pointed out. (For example: why do you have to turn the key AND push the start button?) I was however not pleased that the lighter/power outlet was by my right elbow, thus my radar detector’s cord was dangling over the gear shift lever on the 400 mile drive home from the dealer. My solution was to buy a cordless Passport Solo X3, which has proven to be as much of a ticket-avoider as my corded Passport 8500 X50. The battery life is good plus it will be easier to pack so I can use it in rental cars.

 

This is my last yellow Honda, a 1989 Prelude Si. The DPS officer said he could see me coming a mile away.

My last yellow Honda was a 1989 Prelude Si. The DPS officer said he could see me coming a mile away.

 

Despite The Color, I Am Still Invisible

This will come as no surprise to S2000, Miata and Bugeye Sprite owners: when you drive a small convertible, other motorists will look right at you and then pull right out in front of you, my blinding Rio Yellow Pearl patina not withstanding. I was once almost punted into the ice plant by a Lexus LX 570. I have always driven with the attitude that every other motorist was blind, but being an S2000 owner means my driving senses are now set at DEFCON 1.

Join The Cult

When you acquire an S2000 there are two rules you must follow: 1. Wave to other S2000 drivers. The Return Wave Factor has been near 100% so far. 2. Join the S2Ki Forum.

This S2000 owner’s board has 124,000 members, contains literally millions of posts and has more pop-ups than “Wac-A-Mole.” I particularly like the Get-Off-My-Lawn Vintage Owner’s section. The forum taught me that I need to install seat locks to prevent my $4000-a-pair leather seats from being stolen and winding up in a purple fart-can Civic or Integra. I was pleased to learn that my car is 1 of only 122 Rio Yellow Pearl 2008 S2000s produced for the US.

Obsession Confession: do you own a scale model replica of your car?

Obsession Confession: do you own a scale model replica of your car?

 

Posthumous Press

The S2000 has been out of production for four years but the accolades keep pouring in. It appears that auto journos have realized that a sports car so extreme and single-minded might never be duplicated again. A few weeks ago our friends at Japlopnik named it a “Future Classic.” Earlier this year msn autos named the s2000 a Used Car Steal and the website Everyday Drivers compared an 80,000-mile S2000 against a new Scion FR-S and a Mazda RX-8 and the Honda came out on top. The capper was that the S2000 was recently named One Of The 100 Most Attractive Cars Of All Time by those official experts on auto styling, Popular Mechanics.

Buying An S2000

The great pub is probably why S2000 prices are stable-to-rising. Auction giant Manheim projects that the car’s wholesale value will be unchanged one year from now.

There are 519 S2000s for sale today on autotrader.com, with an average asking price of $18,038. (It goes without saying that if you want a trashed or over-modded s2000, shop at craigslist.) If you desire a rare 2009 model (654 produced for the US, 0 on autotrader today) or a 2008/2009 Club Racer edition (699 produced for the US, 2 on autotrader today), you will pay upwards of $30,000, not too bad a return on investment for the sellers considering the original MSRPs were between $34,000 and $36,000. (I paid $24,600 for my babied 2008.)

There are a surprising number of the screaming 9000 rpm-redline 2000 to 2003 AP1 models available with under 20,000 miles, indicating some owners treated them like exotics but you will pay around $20,000 for them. I think finding an unmodified 2004 or 2005 AP2 with 50,000 to 70,000 miles and all the books and records in the mid-to-high teens price range is a good way to go.

There are plenty of nice S2000s for sale but you will likely have to travel to find what you want. There are no consistent mechanical problems reported with the S2000, no surprise due to Honda’s reputation for reliability.

Yellow S2000s Courtesy craze191st.com

In Conclusion…

It has been 15 years since my last Honda and it was a nice bonus to discover that my S2000 has the same perfect body gaps and lack of rattles like my previous Hondas. I keep forgetting I that bought a used car because it literally drives like a new one.

In the end, the S2000 is the finest and most fun sports car I have ever owned. It bests my beloved 1994 Mazda RX-7, if only for the fact that I started having my mail forwarded to my Mazda dealer as I was spending so much time there. I sold the RX-7 after a year but I will be keeping the S2000 for a long time unless, by some miracle, a car company comes along with something better in this price range. The S2000 may have multiple personalities but it stands alone.

Picks

Buy it for the transmission alone

A race car for the road

Honda durability

Nit Pics

Digital gauges

Weak sound system

Every ricer wants to race you

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125 Comments on “Used Car Review: 2008 Honda S2000...”


  • avatar
    -Nate

    Oops ~

    My Son told me to buy one of these and I passed , not being much of a Drop Top kinda guy .

    Your writeupmakes it sound very tasty indeed .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Very interesting review. So, the Passport solo is as good as the 8500. in all regards? The 8500 is about as good as it gets, so that’s good to know.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      No, cordless are very slow to respond and definitely don’t reflect the cat-like reflexes of the S2K.

      I’m out east for the week and have seen half dozen of these. Unfortunately only one was left stock, the rest were all riced out with huge wings and slammed to the Stanned wheels.

  • avatar
    Bark M.

    It’s interesting that you so are high on the gearbox. I’m assuming your car’s previous owner had the 2nd gear issue fixed.

    Durability? I hope you don’t ever plan to launch it. The axles and differential are as brittle as they come. Ask me how we know (and why we’ve had spare S2K differentials in the garage for years).

    • 0 avatar
      SomeGuy

      It isn’t a drag racer. Any guy (or girl) who launches these car like a SRA Mustang deserves the carnage.

      • 0 avatar
        campocaceres

        I agree. I just can’t see any appeal in drag racing these cars. That’s not at all what they’re about.

      • 0 avatar
        Bark M.

        Apparently you’re not familiar with SCCA Pro Solo.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        And I say BS, the next generation Mustang is going to be exclusively equipped with an IRS, it should function with the same reliability as the log axle that underpins the car now. I expect nothing less.

        I would also expect the same from Honda, the available traction shouldn’t exceed the mechanical limits of the rear end.

        Perhaps Honda should have allowed a little weight creep in the name of absolute reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        True, but it’s not like the car makes any axle-busting torque in the first place. It just goes to show that the car has some fragile driveline components.

  • avatar
    Don Mynack

    $24 K seems a bit high for one of these.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      S2000 prices bottomed out around 2010. The only thing that will pull them down now is poor condition and high mileage.

      • 0 avatar
        Nicholas Weaver

        Yeah. When some F@#)*(# w/o insurance rear-ended me last year, I checked out craigslist prices in case it got totaled [1]. Basically, Craigslist prices for mine (which I bought used from a dealer in 2008 with 30K miles) suggested it only depreciated $5K while accumulating 70K miles!

        S2000s have pretty much stopped depreciating. If you have a chance to buy an UNMODIFIED one with reasonable low mileage, jump on it…

        [1] It didn’t. A TON of cosmetic damage + new exhaust + new motor mounts, and a $10K repair bill that State Farm then had to try to extract from the other driver.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      Seems like a few thousand one way or the other is not that important. Getting a good one is. Keep it for a few years and you should have a lot of fun and still be able break even, more or less.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    I came very close to “stealing” one of these from a near-neighbor a few years ago, but the reality of my dislike for convertibles stopped me. Still have occasional regrets……………..

    • 0 avatar
      campocaceres

      I am assuming you dislike convertibles due to the NVH. If so then I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. It wouldn’t have been worth it for you.

      If you dislike them because you’re assuming it would have a loose chassis like pretty much all convertibles that are based off a fixed roof car. Well then, by all means, keep dwelling on the past :)

  • avatar
    JoelW

    “They say that when you are schizophrenic you are never alone.”

    Yes, this is a car website, but you are making the common mistake of confusing schizophrenia with multiple personality disorder.

    Stated correctly, your opener should read:

    “They say that when you have multiple personality disorder, you are never alone.”

    Schizophrenia is something completely different.

    Sorry to be a nit-pick, but thought it should be pointed out, especially when the piece opens with it….

  • avatar

    We have a 2003 AP1 we’ve been in love since we drove it away new from the Honda dealer. As you note, it drives around town easy as you please just like a rough riding Civic. Over 6000 rpm, it is a fire breather. This is one of those incredible designs, unlike the (cough) Boxster, which look better as they age. The two flaws are the dumpster-quality sound system – Thank you Kenwood for the MP3 fix – and the wheezy exhaust, which I threaten to fix now and again. In our house, this one’s a keeper.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    When I got the mid-life crisis sports car bug. . . and had the funds to swat it, at least modestly, a few years ago (when the S2k was still in production), I found the car to be unattractive as a daily driver (also, I was too tall in the torso to fit with the top up). Spinning the engine up to 6000 rpm to get some torque and acceleration generates a lot of noise . . . and attracts a lot of unwanted attention. And, as you mention, the ride is not supple. Maybe in SoCal where the roads are not damaged by winter freeze/thaw cycles, that’s o.k. but not for most of us who have 4 seasons, not 2.

    As a track day toy, this thing is probably unbeatable at 2x the price, but in daily use there are a lot of, IMHO, better alternatives. And by “better” I mean that have a less punishing ride and show more urgency off the line without having to be speed-shifted at redline.

    The marketplace seems to agree with me, as the car is no longer in production.

    Given that you are accustomed to driving a rotary (yeah, I owned one of the originals in 1972 — an RX-2), you are probably accustomed to low-torque, high revving engines. But my old RX-2 (which had a 7000 rpm redline) was a lot smoother and quieter.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      “Maybe in SoCal where the roads are not damaged by winter freeze/thaw cycles,”

      Ahhhh, DC. You forget that SoCal roads are damaged by negligence and incompetence. They are horrid and I lived in most every part of the country.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        There is a misconception often repeated at TTAC that only areas with real winter have bad roads. Winter doesn’t exactly help, but I think most of the damage is done by large trucks, with an assist from neglect.

        Bay Area roads are also awful. Travel to places like Mexico and the Dominican Republic and you see terrible roads there too. But how can that be? They don’t have freeze/thaw cycles…

        • 0 avatar
          healthy skeptic

          Slightly off topic, but yeah, Bay Area roads truly are awful. They’re especially bad in the East Bay.

          I’ve never understood it. This is a huge urban area and one of the wealthiest parts of the country, not some derelict Rust Belt town. In addition, much of the Bay Area has to depend on its cars, and we house a major port here in Oakland/Alameda.

          When I was down in Uruguay, I though the roads there were clearly better than here.

          Powers that be, spend the frikkin’ money and pave the Bay Area’s roads.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      It sounds like you need more of a GT coupe. Like a mid 90s SC400.

    • 0 avatar
      talkstoanimals

      I think the S2000′s ride is supple enough to drive mine (also yellow) around DC’s weather damaged roads with no discomfort. However, that may be because it’s an AP1 which means it has more sidewall and smaller wheels than the AP2.

  • avatar
    John R

    Nothing like an S2K article to make you down about what Honda/Acura has become…

    Hyundai, of all manufacturers, has more pep in their step.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalledMillennial

      Hyundai has yet to build anything nearly on par with the S2K,NSX, and a number of more plebeian-yet-sporty classic Hondas. The Veloster Turbo and the Genesis coupe are only unique in that they have a decent amount of power. As I understand Korean suspension designs are years behind the established Japanese and Euro marks (and Americans). I feel you on Honda’s downfall though. I’ll bet they make good on it soon enough.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    My sister-in-law has one of these cars, which I’ve had the privilege to drive twice.

    It is a rocket; the music and thrust above 6000 rpm is almost indescribable. Hers has the 9000 rpm redline, and it’s her daily driver.

    But at 6’6″, I could/would never own it – too impractical, too cramped, too coarse for me.

  • avatar
    Eric M

    The motor comments are right on, this engine has three modes. From 0-3500 RPM it is a Civic, 3500-6000 RPM a Miata, 6000+ RPM: Weapon of war that will try to kill you if you don’t respect it.

    Good luck on the autocross. It will understeer if overdriven into corner entry, but responds very well to a little trail braking and mid-corner throttle steering.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeGuy

      I’ve seen these cars, including a CR at AutoX and it will tear your head off if you are not careful. When I work on the course I keep an eye on S2Ks, as usually they are prone to spin out at a moments notice.

      …But man do they sound killer when wound up on a decent exhaust system.

  • avatar

    I missed my 2004 S2000. Great car, and yes, I had to learn to shift properly in that when at the track. 2nd to 3rd would catch me off guard regularly. The car has a mean area to failure though with its handling. One moment everything seems fine and dandy, and the next moment you’re spun out in the green (well I was many times at any rate). Not much of a tire-squeal to warn you that you’re pushing the handling too much.

    I don’t know what you are complaining about with the digital dash; that arcing RPM bar was the coolest thing ever.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    Doesn’t the AP2 have electric boosted steering ala new (hated) cars?
    I’ve never driven one, but I’ve never heard anything bad. Is this another instance of Honda getting something right when it really wants to?

    I really wish we could get another S2K. Great cars.

    • 0 avatar
      jco

      all S2000s had electric power steering.

      but don’t mistake that for drive-by-wire steering. just that the force moving the rack was electric rather than hydraulic. what it did was remove the belt and pump from the accessory drive to reduce the parasitic loss.

      http://www.nsxprime.com/FAQ/Technical/eps.htm

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        Reread the content in your post, specifically the 2nd paragraph after “How does the EPS system work?”

        Hydraulic set-ups boost (power) a driver’s input.
        ELectro-hydraulic set-ups do the same, but the hydraulic pump is electric motor drive.
        Electric set-ups use sensor to detect steering angle and/or torque input and utilize an electric motor to help move the steering rack (via one mechanism or another)

        The S2000 AP2 (and perhaps AP1 given this article) are pure EPS systems. I’d say “assist by wire” would be more appropriate than “drive by wire” but I am pretty sure most EPS systems have a steering column directly connected to the rack in the event of power failure. The S2000 is no different.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          The S2000 (and the power steering in the NSX) have the electric assist built into the actual rack, whereas most of the crappy EPS systems just have a helper motor strapped to the steering column.

          • 0 avatar
            See 7 up

            Hence my “via one mechanism or another”

            The S2K is EPS, and a good one. “jco” makes it seem like it is technically different from other EPS systems. It is not, just a better design and one used by other manufacturers.

            Furthermore, there is no such thing as a “drive by wire” steering where no mechanical connection between rack and wheel exist. All systems that I know of maintain a mechanical connection between rack and wheel to ensure steering is maintain when there is no power (car off, dies, fault…).

  • avatar
    thesal

    Hate to say it but mid $20k is C5Z06 money. It offers a very similar dual personality but with waaay more crazy!

    Sub 2000rpm cruising, 25mpg, bose speakers and a huge trunk for trips. Get past 4000rpm and its like awakening a Kaiju (for the record, I hated Pacific Rim).

    Unless drop top is a primary requirement, I think that would be my choice…

    Edit: Did I mention the performance is a whole other level compared to an S2k? And when it comes to track use, you don’t have to worry about installing rollbars as you would in a convertible.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      very different cars for vary different people

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Corvette = Arnie wielding the Atlantean sword.

        S2000 = Miyamoto Musashi with an oar.

      • 0 avatar
        campocaceres

        Definitely agree. I developed a huge respect for Corvettes after I drove one (rented a 2011 for a friends bachelor party). But for two 2-seater front engine RWD sports cars, they have completely different personalities. I wouldn’t fault anyone for picking either one, myself.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      Agreed. The only reason I’d choose an S2K over an Z06 is if I wanted a roadster, which on back roads is a very nice thing to have.

    • 0 avatar
      Virgil Hilts

      I owned a C5 though not a ZO6 and loved it, too. Could not agree more on the versatilty and it being a great road trip car. I lived in Texas at the time and it was the perfect place to own a Vette, just as San Diego is the perfect place to own the S2000.

  • avatar
    jco

    omg y u do this to me TTAC. never ever should have let go of my AP1

    no one will ever convince me that the AP2 is the better version. i want the unforgiving, loud, stiff, razor-sharp AP1. it wasn’t just that they softened it, i think Honda started thinking they had to chase the Boxster/Z4 buyers who wanted a bit more luxury to keep the sales going. which was unfortunate.

    but to say that “that a sports car so extreme and single-minded might never be duplicated again” is very accurate, and that makes me sad. it came along at a sweet spot when Honda was right on their game in terms of engineering R&D, and before safety regulation became overbearing.

    the toyota/subaru somehow weighs LESS than an S2000, but the engine, despite coming out over 10 years after the F20C, can’t even come close to matching the Honda’s engineering magic. even Honda doesn’t seem to have been able to duplicate it again.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      and let’s not forget the MR2

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I’ve owned both an AP1 (Silverstone) and an AP2 (Suzuka), and as an owner of both my perfect S2000 would be a combination of the 2. Cosmetically, it would have the AP2s looks inside and out, but with the rear lip spoiler from the AP1s, and probably a subtle aftermarket rear diffuser to combat the rear lift at high-speeds.

      Wheels and rubber would be the under-appeciated 06-07 variants. Drivetrain would be an AP1 motor and transmission. Rear suspension would be AP2 geometry, as even running AP1 width wheels, there is just sooooo much more grip with my AP2. CR spec shocks, springs, and sways, since my AP2 rear seems to bottom out on the Karussel at Summit Point Shenandoah. Finally, it would have an AP1 steering rack. And it would be Grand Prix White with red leather Recaro Pole Positions.

      The worst part? They actually made this car, just not in the US. Look up the JDM S2000 Type-S, it was basically a CR, but still retaining the convertible top, and I believe it still had the F20C as well. Actually, a world market AP2 would accomplish the same as well, because at least initially, everyone except North America kept their F20C when they changed over to AP2s.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    I love mine (2006, purchased in 2008 with ~30K miles, now up to ~110K miles. Its my daily driver). Below 4K, it drives like a civic on the engine front (and gets near civic mileage, I get near-enough to 30 MPG on my commute).

    A few notes: It really doesn’t give any warning before letting loose, especially in the wet. The computer will catch you and smack you back into line (2006+, and very unsubtly too), but its clearly a 4-wheel sportbike in this respect: Grip grip grip grip WHOAH!

    I haven’t replaced the speakers, but it is downright trivial to replace the radio head unit. Get one compatible with a Modifry Wired DCI, and you can keep the nice handy stereo buttons on the dash working.

    But at the same time, it really is a car for psychopaths. The ride is rough, the noise is loud, there’s a bit of a trunk, the passenger’s only role is left/right weight balance (the climate controls are aimed away from the passenger). I love it. :)

    (Although, I must admit that for my 40 mile each way commute, I’m tempted to *gasp* get a Volt)

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      It might be the tires. When I did tech support for Michelin, I usually talked to the tire engineers outside of Greenville. They usually engineered their consumer tires for all-around competence and predictable break away at the limits of adhesion, rather than try to maximize an attribute (such as cornering traction) at the expense of another desirable attribute (like low noise).

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Waft did they ever let you venture out to LPG? Fun place, also had the pleasure of visiting the museum and school a number of years ago next to the factory.

        At the time they had a number of odd repairs referred to as “south of the border” repair. Great stuff with the highlights being a tire struck by lightning, a tire that had shattered due to the cold and a tire that used the lip from a boot to repair a sidewall puncture.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Haven’t seen it said yet, but CHECK THE OIL frequently, rotary-frequently. Letting the F20/22C run low is about the only way to kill it, but it will die spectacularly if it does.

  • avatar
    ChrisCraft

    I bought a 2006 S2K two months ago. Suzuka Blue, 17K miles. I had a Miata NB prior to this, no comparison in my book.
    I plan to drive it for 10 years, but not as a DD. It should still be comparatively low mileage at that time.

    No issues, no problems.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      What magically happens at 11 years?

      • 0 avatar
        ChrisCraft

        See 7 up, I’m not sure if your question was directed at me. Assuming it was, in 11 years I may not be able to get in and out of the car. I hope I still know how to use a clutch.

        But the replacement will not be a Buick.

        • 0 avatar
          See 7 up

          Yeah it was directed at you – mainly from you comment on “i plan to drive for 10 years”

          Best of luck to you and your health, hoping your/our aging bodies are not the primary factor in car purchases for many more years to come.

          • 0 avatar
            ChrisCraft

            I’ll be 70 in 11 years. PL Newman once said “Old age and treachery will beat youth and determination every time”

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Forgive me, I’m the one freak here who is drooling more over the Cop Diplomat that any of the Hondas.

    Now that we have that out of the way… for those of you who race, is there really a big difference between how the S2000 preforms vs a similar vintage or newer Miata (in the hands of a skilled driver of course.)

    • 0 avatar
      gtg645w

      From my experience, the S2000 is faster. My last track day in a stock AP2 S2000 with Michelin Pilot Super Sports and upgraded pads, I passed an older miata with full rollcage and what I expect are higher performance tires. The miata showed up with a tire trailer and all the gear. S2000 is much faster on the straights.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      Since I drove an AP1 Stook once barely into VTEC-land in first gear in a parking lot and own a ’99 Miata, I’m of course overqualified to share my opinion on this question.

      I have no doubt that the Honda is a very serious machine and stock-for-stock, it makes nearly 100 more hp than the hairdresser’s car with a more capable chassis. However: for the price of a clean Stook, you could buy a clean 99-05 NB Miata, and do all kinds of dirty things to it, ie: dreamy suspension and turbo which will beat the S2000′s output with less vehicle weight. You could probably do a newer current-gen NC Miata with a supercharger for similar money, too. Which will be more fun? Which will be faster on a course? I don’t know, but I imagine either will be good fun.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Thanks from a former Miata owner.

      • 0 avatar
        ChrisCraft

        Maybe so, juniper bug. Maybe not. But don’t compare a modded Miata to a stock S2K. If you do similar mods, which would you rather have? VTEC-land in 4th gear is much more fun…..

        Having owned an 01 NB and now driving an 06 S2K, I would never go back to the NB. On the road, I see greedy Miata eyes staring at the S2K. The S2K is a much different vehicle. Nor have I ever heard an S2K driver talk about “upgrading” to a Miata.

        I still see tons of NA’s and NB’s on the road. They are today’s version of the venerable MGB’s of the past.
        I’ll keep my S2K. Both Mazda’s I have owned had electrical problems. (Anyone else?) This doesn’t seem to be an issue with the S2K.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          Why not compare them? Pricewise, it’s a very valid comparison – $10k will get you a very clean NB with well under 60k miles, and for $7-8k or so you can get top-shelf suspension, upgrade the clutch, and a well-sorted turbo setup. Add a bit more money and you can build the engine for more power, too, and still be under the cost of a clean S2000. Or, if you buy a Miata that someone else has turboed, the value proposition gets even better.

          Based on my research and own experience, a well-sorted turbo Miata with upgraded suspension can be very cheap to own – no more trouble-prone than the Honda, with cheaper consumables. 250 whp is 250 whp, and a stock Miata engine and transmission can support it – more if you have a 6 speed. Can an S2000 be made to make even more? Of course, but then you’re talking about a different level of cost, as well.

          Actually, I have seen a couple of forum posts from Miata owners who’ve gone to the S2000. Many have loved them, for obvious reasons, but some have said that even though they were much more capable than a stock Miata, they weren’t as much fun on the street. A turbo on the Miata would be a good way to retain the fun (and then some), but add a bunch more go. If you go this route, you also have a sleeper factor going for you, which I personally find very amusing.

          That’s not to say I don’t admire the Stook – I do. After a quick spin in one and having owned an ’09 VFR, I know that VTEC-land is a fun place to be.

  • avatar
    campocaceres

    Good on you on your purchase! It’s no surprise but I am sill glad to hear you love it.

    I purchased mine, an 06 with 13k miles, as a daily driver. It replaced an issue-prone ZHP e46 that just breached 100k miles. I saw the ad the day it was posted, drove down to Houston the next day (I live in Dallas) and snatched it right up before anyone else could. No regrets whatsoever. I agree with Nicholas above though, it takes a real.. special person to put up with it as a daily. It’s a harsh on the NVH front. More extreme than my old MR2 Spyder.

    Definitely agree with you on the dual personality. My buddy was talking about another friends BMW and then he mentioned that it was too bad my car couldn’t keep up. I’d never really wound it up with him in the car (guess I am getting old) and scared the shit out of him. He later said he had thought it had the same power as a Miata.

    I am at 36k miles now, and sometimes I feel bad I am racking up so many miles on such a pristine bone stock example. But then I remember I bought this car to enjoy it. And damn straight I do every time I turn the key and then have to reach over with my other hand to hit that stupid engine start button.

  • avatar
    AdamVIP

    When I was shopping for a roadster in 2007 this was on the short list. I test drove both an AP1 and an AP2. I found that while it was fun to wring the AP1 to 9000 the AP2 felt better and the additional torque was welcomed.

    I ended up with a Solstice GXP. I preferred the american style power train and the handling is just as good.

    The S2000 is a great car and I wouldn’t fault anyone for owning one.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I was, essentially, an exclusive lover and owner of FWD and AWD hot compacts. Then I drove an NC Miata and AP2 S2000 within a few days of one another. The glory that is light weight, RWDs has been clouding my fiscal judgment ever since. Once our MINI S becomes too problematic to live with or my wife finally loses interest, it will be replaced or augmented with a Miata, S2000, or BRZ/FR-S.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Once again, proof that whatever enthusiasts say what they want, they don’t pay for it (or unable to pay for it, because they are still in high school). If this car is produced by Saab and use diesel, it would receive even great praise from enthusiasts, but would sell a lot fewer units.

  • avatar
    gtg645w

    I bought my 2004 S2000 last year and loved it ever since. I have been to two track days. The only change so far is a K&N intake. The sound from the intake noise makes the engine sound much better but without the drone from an exhaust. I am not sure what people are talking about with the harsh ride. It doesnt crash over bumps like some other performance vehicles. It rides much better than a friends lower Subaru. My other car is a Ford Ranger which I think rides worse. My wife as a 2012 Focus and I dont think the S2000 rides much worse.

    I bought a dedicated set of track pads and rotors after frying HP+ pads in less than 400 miles. I am also adding brake ducting but under the car since I dont want to put any holes in the body. I still want it to retain the stock appearance.

    I met a guy at my last track day who had broken 2 driveshafts and a transmission. He had removed the CDV and installed an aftermarket clutch so i am pretty sure that is too blame. I have never experienced anything bad from the CDV probably cause I dont power shift. I would rather keep my money in my wallet and add that potential .1 seconds to my lap times.

    • 0 avatar
      gtg645w

      I would like to add that I bought a die cast model last week of my S2000 that looks exactly like yours but in red like my car. Its sitting on my desk at work. I couldn’t find an AP2 die cast model.

    • 0 avatar
      seth111976

      “It rides much better than a friends lower Subaru. My other car is a Ford Ranger which I think rides worse.”

      Giving the S2000 a better ride quality score than a lowered Subaru with a performance suspension and truck really isn’t saying much.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      BMW also uses a CDV, or they have in the past with at least the E46 and E39. I found it annoying even in casual street driving on the E46, and had it removed. The previous owner of the E39 I owned had already removed it, so I can’t compare the difference on that car. Removing it is common though, at least with owners on the various forums.

      Removing it doesn’t mean you have lost your safety net and you will blow your driveshaft, transmission, or differential; it only makes it possible to beat on the car. Don’t beat on the car, and you won’t have an issue (maybe easier said than done on the track).

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “I would rather keep my money in my wallet and add that potential .1 seconds to my lap times.”

      You’ll be adding a lot more than that if it actually takes the full two seconds to engage, as claimed. There’s no way I’d tolerate that sort of lag.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    Man, this article seriously flashed me back to circa ’99 – ’00 when Honda was just rocking it and reviews of any Honda product in the buff books read like this article. They were just so on top of it back then! Times really have changed. Honda may not have completely lost its mojo, but it’s a totally different animal these days. Sad.

    My favorite memory associated with the S2K was the fact that Jennifer Love Hewitt drove one (before they were on the streets) in that “Heartbreakers” movie. She probably had to learn how to drive a stick just for that movie.

  • avatar
    seth111976

    With Honda being a large IndyCar sponsor you get to see a lot of company cars fulfilling various duties at the race track. The fact that drivers ride around in S2000s as part of their introductions says a lot about the car…and a lot about what Honda has become these days when they need to use something no longer in production to represent the sportiness of the brand.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    These are the same people who daily take a fresh dump on the constitution. Do you really think murder and coverup is beneath them?

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Long ago, when I rode motorcycles on the street, I made a point of switching the headlight to high beam during the day. High beam tends to dazzle drivers looking in your direction making it harder for them to ignore you. I think the same would work for your S2000. Of course, you have to remember to switch back to low beam after dark.

    • 0 avatar
      tooloud10

      Yeah, the other drivers all asked me to tell you thanks for “dazzling” them. Illuminating your high beams at oncoming traffic at any point of the day is a great way to prove how much more important one believes his safety is over everyone else’s.

  • avatar
    kimnkk

    I’ve had my 2003 S2k for over 3.5 years and its been great!

    Still brings a smile to my face everytime i see a new S2k article even though the car debut 14 years ago! It will be a sad day when i will have to retire this car, hopefully its not for many many years yet.

  • avatar
    DGA

    If not previously mentioned…now you need a matching aluminum top that Honda came out with. Absolutely one of my favorite cars, and I detest convertibles. I’m partial to the AP1 though…120 hp/liter and still acts like a Civic DX in traffic.

  • avatar
    schhim

    I have my NFR Hotwheels still in the box. I’m keeping that one stock, the full-scale one, not so much.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    I’d never buy an S2000 for one reason: The engine is severely lacking torque. So unless you’re on roads where you can wind the engine out into the stratosphere (to get to where it actually makes some HP), then it’s simply no fun. No thanks, I’d rather have a car with nice low-end torque instead.

    • 0 avatar
      Nicholas Weaver

      Torque is overrated. Horsepower is overrated, too.

      What you really want is thrust: high horsepower and low gearing. The S2000 has good a good amount of thrust, as all near-enough-to 240 HP can be maintained from 30 MPH on by keeping it on the VTEC boil and shifting at 8K RPM.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Thrust? LOL, okay bud…whatever you say. But what I really want (please don’t tell me what I want…I think I know that better than anyone) is low-end torque. You don’t need high HP to have great torque on the bottom end. Lots of V8 engines make fantastic low-end torque. And lots of turbo fours do as well. Just look at the newer 2.0T from BMW or Audi for example. Cars with those engines have lots of “thrust” right off idle, which is something that can never be said of the S2000 engine.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        BTW, I forgot to say—- thrust is a function of TORQUE and GEARING, not HP & gearing. Look it up if you doubt me. HP is nothing but a number used to sell cars. Everybody knows that torque if far more pertinent when it comes to performance. Like the old saying goes–”HP sells cars, but torque wins races”

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          HP is just a calculated value and is the “rate of doing work”. The equation is simple: T*RPM/5252=HP
          Torque= T (ft=lb) is what is measured to calculate HP, but HP is almost ALL that matters in racing because you can use gear ratio to create more torque at the axles when you have higher RPM Power. A higher HP engine is always capable of higher top speed, geared appropriately.

          Consider two imaginary engines:
          BB- 400 ft lb at 4000 RPM = 304HP
          SB- 300 ft lb at 8000 RPM = 457 HP
          I purposely exaggerate the differences for illustrative purpose.

          The 300 ft lb / 457 HP engine will be much faster. A simple way to understand why is to consider one can multiple the torque of the high reving engine by a 2:1 ratio to get the same transmission output shaft speed as the low rpm engine in a 1:1 gear.
          BB would have 400 ft lb
          SB would have 600 ft lb and would be generating 50% more thrust at the wheels if all other factors were kept the same.

          Torque is important for drivability on the street as you typically don’t keep a street engine at high RPM.

          In Racing, RPM is limited primarily by the mechanical strength of the engine components (as long as you can flow enough air) and gear ratios can be optimized for the track. HP is what wins races. Low RPM torque feels great when you accelerate at low RPM.

          What you really want for performance is torque at high RPM- that means horsepower!

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Exactly. You got it right when you said, “Torque is important for drivability on the street as you typically don’t keep a street engine at high RPM.”

            That’s my entire point. Nobody drives an S2000 on the street at 7000 or 8000 RPM all the time. Sure, they may hit that occasionally, but the rest of the time they are at much lower RPMs, where the S2000 engine is absolutely gutless. The problem with the S2000 engine is that it needs to be north of 6000 RPM to hit its peak torque….and even much higher than that to hit its peak HP. No thanks! LOL

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Sorry, but you got it wrong when you said, “HP is what wins races.” That’s simply wrong. Fact of the matter is that acceleration is highest when force (torque) is highest. In the case of the S2000, it has a low torque peak. The fact that its low torque peak is so high in the RPM band just magnifies the problem.

            It’s simply a gutless engine that NEEDS to be wound out all the time to make any kind of decent torque, and even then it’s not much torque at all.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            HP is without a question what wins races!!
            Look at the example again. The smaller torque engine can have 50% MORE TORQUE at the transmission output shaft and that is what determines the rate of acceleration.

            Reality is more complicated because you still have to operate the engine through a range of RPMs, but another, real world example:

            I had an impromptu stoplight drag race between HO Q4 and a Merkur with turbo 4 cylinder. We were about even at launch, but he had to shift to second sooner, while the Quad had another 1,000 revs to go. That’s when the Quad keep pulling and opened a big lead. It still had more torque at the drive axles after the Merkur shifted to second because it was in first.

            This also reminds me of an ’89 development ride on the then upcoming High Output Quad 4. One of the drivers in another car made a comment on the CB radio about not knowing what gear to be in. The lead calibrator’s response- As long as you are between 5,000 and 7,000 RPM you are in the right gear!
            My boss at the tech center who I let drive one of the early Q4s (the brakes always stunk after test drives for some reason. LOL)came back and said it didn’t really show him much. I asked how high he revved it and found out that he drove with a light foot, and never even saw the 4000 RPM torque peak, let alone run it in the power range over 5,000!

            HP is what matters as long as you can run the engine where it is making the power. The S2000 engine is a thrill, and can perform well as long as you don’t mind living with it at high RPM.

          • 0 avatar
            fredtal

            As a Lotus owner I’m disappointed that no one has brought weight into this equation.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @fredtal- Lotus has always stood for lightness! F=M*A (Force = Mass * Acceleration) is a fundamental equation of Physics. HP always determines the thrust available through mechanical advantage, as Mr Weaver wrote, and that works against the mass in regards to acceleration. An attribute the S2000 enjoys is relatively light weight so the acceleration and road holding, braking also benefit.

            I just love the engine sound. The run up to 5,000-6,000 sounds like a lot of other engines, which would be rev’ed out by then, then the Honda just lights up on the way to 9.000! I wanted to get there with the Q4′s, but the costs in terms of engine materials as well as design details made it too costly to go more than 7,500.

            If you don’t mind keeping the revs up, a small high RPM engine is fine. Still a big high RPM engine is better!

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            @Doc Olds: the Q4 was great at higher RPMs. I sure miss mine…

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @geozinger- I miss big displacement high compression, but when we first released Quad 4, I soon grew to love high RPM. The original was a relief after years of decreasing RPM and power, but the HO, OMG! It was so hard not to hit the rev limit every shift, the torque just kept on until fuel cutoff.
            I used the 7200 RPM rev limit as a nifty shift aid. Company cars are made to be broken, imho!

            Those engines seemed slow after Honda released this zinger! (no pun intended)

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      On what roads can you not wind an engine out to the stratosphere? First gear redlines well within reasonable speed limits, I’m pretty sure, and from there you just upshift.

      Anyone who’s ever owned a Japanese sport bike knows that horsepower is NOT underrated. There’s nothing like revving an engine out to the stratospshere while making little torque, but enough horsepower and acceleration to make baby Jesus cry.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        In the real world, we tend to use our cars like “real” cars, meaning that we use them for more than a Saturday morning mountain drive. That means commuting to work, running errands, fighting traffic, etc. Try running an S2000 to redline in every gear in those types of situations and let me know how you make out. Face it, 95% of the time we just don’t have an opportunity to wind out the engines in our cars. That’s a fact. Even owners of S2000s will admit that the percentage of time their engines see north of, say, 6000 RPM is a VERY low number. Anyone who says otherwise is simply kidding himself.

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          I have an AP2 now, and had an AP1 prior. The thing with the S2000, and basically any high performance Honda car is they’re geared short to properly take advantage of the engine’s powerband. You’ll find that you adjust your driving style as well fairly quickly, winding the car out to 4-5000 in 1st gear, and then shifting around the 4500 mark in the subsequent gears. You don’t notice either, the revs rise quickly and then you shift at a normal interval.

          Even highway cruising I’m never at a loss for power. Doing 70mph, your still spinning at the upper 3s (AP2) to low 4s (AP1), meaning you still have as much torque as your average C-segment car to pass with, and similar if not lower weight. If I need to get up and go quickly, dropping one gear puts me at the cusp of the VTEC window, and the speed climes quickly once you cross that threshold.

          The lack of low-end is just not apparent, because the engineers have basically made it impossible to drive below 3000RPM. The additional 10 lb-ft in the AP2 plus the shorter gearing save for 6th makes it even more so. If you hate shifting or if you ignore what the car is telling you and just shift at 3000RPM every time, ten you deserve the experience you get from the car.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            4500 RPM? LOL, so what? The engine doesn’t make any HP or torque at that RPM. That’s my entire point. Unless you are able (and willing) to keep the RPMs north of 6000 RPM, then the engine is gutless. That’s why torque rules and HP is just a number that marketers use for the “gee whiz” factor.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Here’s the easiest way to explain how the absence of low-end torque sucks in the S2000 (yes, even the AP2). If you were to pull up next to someone in an Audi or BMW 2.0T on the highway with both cars in top gear (manual transmissions, obviously) and both cars were floored at the same time, the 2.0T engine will pull away immediately because your S2000 has absolutely no power at that RPM. Without downshifting, you’d be watching the taillights of the other car get smaller and smaller as your engine starts slowly climbing in RPM. That’s the type of engine flexibility that I’m talking about….something that requires low-end torque, which is something that the S2000 is lacking.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            If you want to be more technical, it is the area under the power curve in the range the engine must operate- ie the RPM drop from redline upon shift defines the low end of the rev range. That area determines the thrust that can be applied against the vehicle’s mass that determines acceleration, less of course, aero resistance and other drag factors.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Heaven forbid you have to downshift your sports car!

            I had a GTI with the 2.0T you are raving about. Unless you were at 3k RPM or more when you mashed the gas, it was quite sluggish. I remember trying to pass someone in top gear one day on a 55mph highway and I was pretty disappointed in the acceleration. That high torque figure at low RPM just meant that I could lug the car along at steady state with relative ease. If you want to go anywhere fast, you downshift.

            I venture that at 70mph, the S2000 is making more torque at the wheels in top gear than a 2.0T A5 despite the engines torque ratings.

            edit: for some reason this went to the above comment rather than replying to juniper and WS

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          How is it a problem to rev higher on the street? If the motor can take it – and it can – it amounts to just a higher number on the tach. Keep the exhaust stock and the noise isn’t an issue.

          I’ve owned sport motorcycles as daily drivers where sixth gear at near-legal cruising speeds netted 6,000 RPM, and real power didn’t start until almost 5 digits. It’s not an issue once you’ve calibrated your mind that high revs won’t kill a motor designed to do it.

          Anyone who doesn’t think horsepower is what wins races really doesn’t know much about how engines work. And should also question why performance vehicles have engines which favour horsepower over torque. Believe me, if torque was what won races, we wouldn’t be seeing 20,000 RPM Formula 1 race cars or GP motorcycles.

          The reason why S2000 drivers don’t see over 6,000 RPM all the time is the same reason all cars don’t see full throttle all the time: you don’t need full power in traffic. If you’re driving slowly, you can keep the revs down, and if you want power, you downshift and have fun at the higher end of the tach. How is that a problem in a vehicle that’s designed for driver fun/involvement?

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            How is it a problem? I’ll tell ya— you can’t simply keep ANY car engine at 6000+ RPM all the time when you’re driving around. It’s just not practical. With decent low-end torque, you don’t need to keep the engine at high RPM. You simply have great power and acceleration at virtually any RPM. If you’re loafing around at low RPM and you want to take off immediately, just smash the gas pedal. Try that in an S2000 and you won’t be going anywhere fast. In a situation like that, you’d have to downshift multiple gears to get the RPM way up high where the engine makes its power. Like I said, it’s just not practical to drive an S2000 (or any car, for that matter) at a really high RPM. Nobody does it.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Quentin, as usual, you have no idea what you’re talking about. First of all, the 2.0T in the GTI is not the same as the 2.0T in the Audi. Look it up if you don’t believe me. The Audi 2.0T makes its maximum torque (258 lb.ft.) from 1500 rpm thru 4200 rpm. At 70 mph in top gear, the engine is still running 258 lb.ft of torque because it is under 4200 RPM. The S2000 (I’ll even quote the AP2 figures) makes a max torque of 160 lb.ft. at 6800 RPM. So to say that the S2000 would have greater torque is absurd. The Audi 2.0T obviously makes far more torque across it’s entire rev range.

            And besides, you missed the point entirely. I’m not saying that a sports car shouldn’t be shifted. I’m simply saying that an engine that makes good low-end torque doesn’t HAVE TO BE shifted all the time when running at lower rpm. That includes running 65 or 70 mph in 6th gear on the highway. In an Audi 2.0T, no downshifting is required. You have excellent passing power without shifting at all. Of course you can still shift if you want even more passing power, but it is certainly not required. In an S2000, there’s simply not enough torque available (especially in the lower rpms)to have decent passing power UNLESS you downshift first.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Driving well isn’t for everybody. Just get a diesel with an automatic and some elastic waisted pants and call it a day.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            An engineer sees that a transmission is just a bandaid for inadequate engine design in the first place, and that if you can’t spin the rear wheels at will, you don’t have enough engine, but if you can you don’t have enough chassis, and on and on, and on….

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            I see you are your same charming self, WS.

            I actually ran through the math and at 70mph, the A5 2.0T (with 258 lbft) makes 40% more torque at the wheels than the AP2 S2000 (assumed 140 lbft for the S2000 @ 3000RPM) at 70mph. The S2000′s shorter final drive and shorter 6th gear bring the torque at the wheels a lot closer than nearly 85% more than if you just compared engine to engine. That is, of course, assuming 100% drivetrain efficiency for both vehicles. The A5 having Quattro will likely have higher drivetrain losses than the S2000. If you factor in gearing, drivetrain losses, and the weight difference, the acceleration won’t be that different despite the torque of the 2.0T being nearly 2x the AP2.

            Anyway, with any engineering decision, you typically make a tradeoff. For a heavier vehicle like the A5, which has an extra 700lbs over the S2000, spec’ing an engine that focuses on a flat, broad torque curve makes sense. It is hauling around 25% more weight than the S2000, after-all. The tradeoff of having lots of lot end torque is usually made up top. While I haven’t driven the new 2.0T, mine was from 07, the 2.0T really isn’t something that pulls incredible at the top end. That is what is so fantastic about the S2000. It completely changes character and goes from Civic to maniac. For a sports car, I much prefer the character of the S2000. Now that I no longer have my GTI, I sort of kick myself for just mashing the pedal and waiting for it to go. Rev matching the downshift and riding the engine out to redline is more satisfying.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Quentin, I really feel sorry for you. Instead of basing your comments on facts, you choose to make up your own numbers in a desperate attempt to support your opinion. First you try to compare the 2.0T in your old VW with the newer 2.0T in Audis. That was your first mistake. And based on that, I can only assume that you’ve never been behind the wheel of a E888 A4 or A5. It’s a completely different experience.

            And now you’re trying to tell me that you “ran the math” on the torque numbers for both cars, but you clearly made up your own numbers to do that. First, what on earth makes you believe that an S2000 will be making anywhere near 140 lb.ft at 3000 RPM, when the max torque is 160 lb.ft. at 6800 RPM? The first thing you need to do is find a torque curve graph for the S2000 and you’ll see that your numbers are incorrect. Secondly, you obviously know nothing about the gearing in the 2.0T A5. The 6MT A5 is obviously geared a lot differently than you think. At 91 mph in 6th gear, the engine is turning 3000 RPM. Think about that for a moment….then reconsider doing “the math” one more time. Now of course if you actually knew the trans gear ratios and the drive ratio, you would have already known that and you could also figure out the exact RPM the Audi engine is spinning in 6th gear at 55 or 65 MPH. After all, you’re the one who likes to do “the math”, LOL, but please do your math with actual numbers from now on and not numbers that you made up in your head.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        The gear ratios are all available on cars.com. I used those along with a guesstimation S2000′s torque at the 70mph cruising RPM to figure out the torque to the drive axles (it has a relatively flat curve with a bump at ~6000 rpm). Wheel and tire size was close enough that it doesn’t impact the gearing much (both have 245/40.. A5 on 18″, S2000 on 17″). The A5 was around 2500rpm at 70mph. When I get back to my PC, I’ll be happy to share the values. The gearing difference compensates for a decent amount of difference in crank torque when stomping it from 70mph.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          Okay, buddy….go ahead and do “the math” again and let me know what you come up with. I hope you can somehow support your statement that “I venture that at 70mph, the S2000 is making more torque at the wheels in top gear than a 2.0T A5 despite the engines torque ratings.”

          At 70 mph in top gear, the S2000 engine is simply at too low of an RPM to pull strongly, despite the fact that it weighs less. You fail to understand that the A5 will be right in the meat of its flat torque band at that speed and will easily pull ahead. In order to keep up, an S2000 requires downshifting.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            I fully admitted that the A5 had more torque at 70mph after I ran through the calculations. That first post was a guess , hence “venture”. I thought the S2000 gearing was more aggressive in 6th gear than it turned out to be. So, here goes.

            S2000: 135ft-lb @ the crank @ 2975rpm (70mph vehicle speed in 6th gear – found the torque curve on Pistonheads), 6th gear is 0.76, final drive is 4.1. Torque at the axles is 425ft-lb. The S2000 is on 245/40-17 tires.

            A5 w/ 2.0T: 258ft-lb @ the crank @ 2330rpm (70mph vehicle speed in 6th gear – per your quote), 6th gear is 0.69, final drive is 3.69. Torque at the axles is 656ft-lb. The A5 is on 245/50-18 tires.

            The A5 has 50% more torque to accelerate 25% more weight. We certainly aren’t talking S5 versus Civic here.

            What is so bad about actually doing the math? My WAG was incorrect, but performance wise, there isn’t a vast difference between the two vehicles in top gear at interstate speeds. I like understanding why this does that, so I do the math. I was originally under the notion that the S2000 was closer to 4k than 3k rpm at 70mph. The gearing was taller than I expected.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            You can do all the math you want. That’s okay with me. But using your numbers (BTW, the stock dyno graphs I’ve seen put the S2000 closer to 110 lb.ft. at just under 3000 RPM), I still fail to see how you can say that “We certainly aren’t talking S5 versus Civic here.”

            Seriously? Who said anything like that in the first place? I never said the S2000 is a slow car. Never. I simply said that it needs to be downshifted (an absolute requirement) to access its power when the engine is at low RPM. And by low RPM, in the case of an S2000, that’s anywhere in the middle range of the tach and downward.

            Personally, I don’t like engines like that. I’m not sure why people get defensive when I say that I prefer an engine with low-rpm torque over an engine that makes terrible torque and only comes to life at the very top of the rev range. Why is that such a bad thing to say? Why do people get offended? It’s simply my own preference. If you or anyone else prefers to own a car that only comes to life above 6000 RPM, then that’s terrific. That’s something that I don’t like at all because it doesn’t suit my driving style or the roads I typically drive on.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      WS, ‘…simply no fun…’ and ‘S2000′ simply don’t belong in the same sentence. Have you driven one, yet? Well, then, do that first. Keep your theory of necessary torque tucked away in your pocket, and drive this car for an hour or two. It’s a relatively lightweight four cylinder non-turbo 240hp roadster. Sound like no fun? Trust us, it’s plenty fun. You’ll be plotting the long way home from work shortly after you buy one.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Of course I’ve driven an S2000. Otherwise, why would I say that I hate the fact that it is severely lacking in torque? My brother owned an S2000 for three years and I drove it a few times. Sorry, but I didn’t find it a fun car to drive. Why? Well, like I said, the only time it was fun is when the engine was near redline. Other than that, it felt like a cheap economy car with no power. If that’s your idea of fun, more power to ya. For me, fun is a torquey engine, not an engine that has no guts at all until the engine is spinning 7000 RPM.

        • 0 avatar
          snakebit

          WS,
          I get it that torque is the be all and end all in your life, I get it that you belong to that extremely exclusive club of occasional S2000 drivers who found them to be no fun, but please don’t bother us with your sorrow that you don’t get the same thrill many of us do driving one.

          Just when I think that you really have driven an S2000, I see you post something like, ‘felt like a cheap economy car with no power’. Really? Again, it’s a lightweight 240hp four cylinder non-turbo roadster-no power? I should ask which car you compared it too. I have a lot of experience with an Integra GSR and several Civic four-doors and the S2000 drives nothing like those. I’ve also driven a slew of older roadsters(MGB, TR4,etc)and none of those compare to the same experience, Miata, which has some but not all of the same attributes of the S2000.

          Was your driving experience limited to backing one out of a driveway?

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            snakebit, It’s funny how you cherry pick my words and only care about the negative things I’ve said about the S2000. Fact of the matter is that I’ve said (on more than one occasion) that the S2000 can be a fun car when you’re in a situation where you can keep it in it’s powerband (which is really only very high revs–north of 6000), such as a twisty mountain road. Unfortunately, in the real world on real roads it’s just not much fun to me because it’s difficult or sometimes impossible to keep the engine on the boil. If you don’t like my opinion, that’s just fine with me…but don’t tell me what I should or shouldn’t say (you know, where you said “please don’t bother us with your sorrow…”). That kind of elitist attitude is just silly. After all, this is a place for all of us to chat and express our opinions, right?

            And to answer your question directly–no, my time behind the wheel of the S2000 was not limited to backing out of a driveway. I’ve driven the car on backroads, highways, twisties, and through the mountains a few different times. In fact, the trip between my house and my brother’s house features all the above.

            BTW, my cheap economy car comment was about the engine power, not the entire dynamics of the car. In my experience, cheap economy cars typically lack torque (especially low-end torque), which makes them very similar to an S2000. Of course that all changes once the RPMs get into the upper RPM range, but that’s not at all what I was talking about. Around town at low RPMs, the S2000 engine doesn’t feel all that different than a garden variety Civic or Corolla.

  • avatar
    salguod

    Obsession Confession: do you own a scale model replica of your car?

    Not my daily driver, but my ’60 T’bird. In fact, I got two 1:18 scale, one white with red interior and one black with tan so I could disassemble them and swap interiors to get a black with red interior convertible just like mine. I sold the white & tan one to a guy on the forums.

  • avatar
    Piston Slap Yo Mama

    Speaking on the topic of schizophrenia, I’m cross shopping between the S2000 and the Jaaaaaaaaag XK8. After years in sports cars with tweaked suspensions I’m starting to see the light re. comfort. Also the XK8 is a relative bargain and nobody rices them so I don’t have to get angry at seeing them molested on CL.

    Re. your Prelude Si, I had that same car with 4WS – and it’s been my benchmark ever since for awesome slot-car handling. Would you care to chip in on how the S2k compares to your Si? I know it’s been a while, but I’ll bet you’ve got thoughts on that subject.

    • 0 avatar
      Virgil Hilts

      I also had a 92 Prelude Si in green, the next generation from the one pictured above. It featured the electronic version of the 4WS and I think it was the high water mark for the Prelude. And yes my memory is somewhat foggy but I do recall it being the best handling Honda to date, even better than the CRX Si, but had only 160 (?) hp so was way slower than the S2000 but for the time the Prelude was fast!

  • avatar
    Cubista

    “my car is 1 of only 122 Rio Yellow Pearl 2008 S2000s produced for the US.”

    And it just got a little more valuable. A guy who works in the same business park as me had a gorgeous yellow S2K (mostly stock) that he ended up tearing the entire passenger side front end off of. He either got fired for destroying a work of art on company property or else he totalled the car, because I’ve not seen it around here since.

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    I passed on buying a used s2000 for a 340Z a while back. The engine was anemic and uninteresting below VTEC engagement and the Z I drove right after had the kind of torque I wanted, Plus it was a marginally better daily driver for various reasons. I also wonder how a Boxster S compares as a road trip vehicle. I believe 986s are similar in price to S2000s

    Maybe I’m getting old because I like how comfortable my 330i is for longer drives.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      Exactly. A car that severely lacks low-end torque is never interesting to me either. Now if Honda would have put a small turbo on the S2000 engine, that would have made it interesting because it would have the low rpm punch that it desperately needs, while still having good high-rpm pull.

      The same problem exists today with the FR-S/BRZ. That’s another classic example of a car that has potential, but just has no low rpm grunt. I do believe that Subaru will eventually put a factory turbo on the BRZ though, and that will completely transform the car.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I’ve seen a S2000 or two with an intercooler peeking out from the bottom of the bumper, so clearly people wanting to turbocharge their S2000s is not an insane thing.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          Yeah, it has been done, but it’s definitely not at all common. But if I loved everything about the S2000 other than the lack of torque, I’d surely be one of those owners who would turbocharge. Same thing with the BRZ….a few guys out there are transformed their cars by installing an aftermarket turbo system. It’s always an option. Personally, I decided to just buy a car that is factory turbocharged in the first place.

  • avatar
    Kato

    Congrats on your purchase, sounds like you are going to get many years of enjoyment out of it. I bought a pristine AP1 last summer (’02 Suzuka Blue, 32,000 km) to replace my beloved but primitive ’64 MGB. Similar to NW, I find that if you replace a motorcycle or an old British roadster with one of these, you’ll be puzzled by the “loud, rough-riding, cramped” complaints of your passengers. :) Yes it is stiffly sprung and has little luggage or passenger space, and yes there are other cars that make more torque (Please don’t tell us again WS :)). It is, however, an absolute blast to drive. The sweet engine/gearbox combo and razor handling put a grin on my face every time I get in it. It’s a great modern interpretation of the roadster recipe and I’m glad I grabbed one. Cars that are this much fun and have this much character are getting tougher and tougher to find.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      Kato,

      No surprise that I feel essentially just as you do about the S2000 driving experience. Taken on the intent to build an affordable, exciting roadster with all of the fun of earlier two-seaters and, realistically, none of the vices, it was a home run for Honda.

      As for any future buyer being surprised by the rough ride complaints coming from passengers, they could easily learn about them just from reading the comments about this car from this blog. Admittedly, it’s a selfish purchase, just as buying a motorcycle would be, a product that is of niche interest, we just happen to be members of that niche.

      As for ‘WS’, no condescension intended, but while he may possess diverse experience with cars, it’s apparent he doesn’t really ‘get’ roadsters and he doesn’t appreciate, looking back at the choice of roadsters offered in the past 50 years, where the S2000′s place is in that mix, and how successful Honda was with the car resulting from their planning. I’m no longer interested in defending the S2000 against ‘WS’, and I’m fine with the fact that this car is not for him.


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