Whatever Happened to the Honda S2000?
Sports car enthusiasts were thrilled when Honda unleashed the Honda S2000 in 1999. Car and Driver took notice in 2003 when it pitted the budget racer against other leading convertibles including the Audi TT, BMW Z4, Porsche Boxster, and Nissan 350Z, and declared the S2000 the winner. However despite glowing critical reviews, the S2000’s sales numbers slumped and Honda made the decision to discontinue production in 2009.
Now with the growing prominence of Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology and the emergence of high-performance hybrid sports cars it could be the right time to bring back the S2000.
What We Loved
Honda did so many things right with the S2000. It was a pure racing machine without many frills or distractions. Both the original 2.0L I-4 and the updated 2.2L I-4 provided a ton of power across the perfectly balanced and extra rigid chassis to the rear wheels, jumping from zero-to-sixty in 5.5 seconds and finishing a quarter mile sprint in 14 seconds flat (2008 S2000 CR).
What It Lacked
While there weren’t any major problems with the S2000, there were some areas that could have used improvement. The initial 2.0L engine had great top-end speed, but seemed to lack in low-end torque off of the line. Some improvements were made for later models, boosting torque and shortening gear ratios but the S2000 was still more of a burly drag racer than a nimble rally champ. And it goes without saying that the S2000’s fuel consumption was not terribly friendly to the environment either.
Now that automakers have taken the time to experiment with gasoline-electric hybrids in different forms and price ranges there are some exciting new possibilities for a hybrid S2000 that is environmentally friendly, yet every bit the racer its predecessor was. Honda can combat its fuel efficiency concerns and the low-end torque problem in one fell swoop with the addition of regenerative braking, high capacity batteries, and electric motors.
Since electric motors generate power instantaneously, they provide better low-end torque than their internal combustion counterparts. Even Porsche has taken notice of this advantage and supplemented a 4.6L V8 with two electric motors in their 918 Spyder resulting in an absurd 800+ hp, 580 lb-ft of torque, and 70 mpg. Of course the S2000 is a sports car, not a super car, but Honda’s decision to leverage traditional internal combustion and electronic innovation in a new way is an exciting and realistic possibility.
Visit our Honda dealership in Middletown and learn more about exciting new Honda products.