Looking for an affordable roadster with solid reliability and performance? Read on.
Without question, the Honda S2000 was one of the best Honda's ever made. Combining everything from solid build quality, performance, and overall fun factor, the S2000 was and still is an absolute gem. The first generation was launched back in 1999 as an early 2000 model and was built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the automaker. Its name comes from its engine displacement of 2.0-liters. Additionally, it also carries on the naming tradition of previous Honda roadsters from the 1960s: the S500, S600, and the S800.
Powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline-four VTEC engine with 240hp and 153lb-ft of torque, the front mid-engine roadster had rear-wheel drive and was mated to a six-speed manual. More importantly, this layout allowed for the car to have a 50:50 front/rear weight distribution because the engine was mounted behind the front axle. The second generation debuted in 2004 and while it looked strikingly similar to the first generation, Honda updated it with several improvements under the skin such as a retuned suspension to reduce oversteer, altered spring rates and shock absorbers, and even redesigned 17-inch wheels.
Additionally, the front and rear bumpers were redesigned along with restyled headlights, new LED taillights, and oval-tipped exhausts. While horsepower remained the same, peak torque increased to 162lb-ft thanks to a larger version of its inline-four to 2.1-liters. Sadly, Honda ended production in 2009. All told, over 66,000 units were sold in the U.S. and over 112,000 worldwide. Although there were initial plans for a successor, Honda had a change of heart due to the economic recession. The owner of this first generation '00 S2000 says that he's always wanted one since the first day he saw it.
Already a Honda fan, he was thrilled when they released a true sports car and considered it to be the best of both worlds coming together. At the moment, his recently purchased S2000 is very lightly modified with a hi-power exhaust and a new set of R-1 Hypes. He also replaced the factory-spec soft top with an upgraded one featuring a glass rear window (instead of plastic). The interior has also been upgraded with a second generation S2000 center console, a new shift knob, and an improved stereo. There are plans for further performance and cosmetic enhancements in the future.
But for now, the owner is simply enjoying everything there is to love about the S2000. And there is plenty. Fortunately, there are some early rumors that Honda is looking to do a successor in the next few years. If this is true, let's hope the new car will properly carry the spirit of what's possibly the ideal affordable performance roadster. Photos courtesy of s2k_dave