May 8, 2007 > The 2007 Honda S2000
The 2007 Honda S2000
The Honda S2000 is a clear example of why people buy sports cars. It does have some minor faults, but all in all, it is a blast to drive.
Its basic body shape is different than other current, mid-priced, 2-seat convertible sports cars. The S2000 reminds me of an arrow, it seems long and narrow. Other currently available cars feel shorter and wider. The S2000's mission is to get where it is going quickly and efficiently (like an arrow).
Let's go for a ride. The first S2000 shortfall is ease of entry. It is not the easiest car to get into; the combination of doors that don't seem to open wide enough and a small area to put your legs into make for a cumbersome entry and exit. Once you are in, the narrow cockpit jumps out at you. The center console could be slimmer to make it easier to fasten the seat belt.
At this point in our ride, problems end and plusses come in bucketfuls. Push the start button and the engine springs to life. The 6-speed manual gear change mechanism feels better than any that I have used in years (no automatics for the S2000s.). It has short, crisp, quick throws.
On the road you will notice the firm, precise ride. No "pillowy" smoothness here, the rear end is connected directly to the pavement. S2000 has electric power steering with a great feel and ultra quick responses. As you warm up the engine, you know this is gonna be fun.
Before we really use the engine, let's talk about it. Sports car engines of years ago used to be small displacement (1 to 1.6-liters) and high revving (6500 to 8000 rpm) power plants. In many of today's cars, the displacement has crept up to 2.5 to 4 liters and redlines have dropped, except for the S2000.
Honda's 2.2 liter, 4-cylinder, double overhead cam motor loves to rev. This is not a car you drive up a long steep hill in 5th gear at 2000 rpm. You should go down to 2nd and use 5000 revs. The Honda VTEC technology shifts the valve timing at about 6500 rpm. At large throttle openings, the S2000 literally jumps forward as you pass through 6500. It's great fun to accelerate hard up and onto a freeway, but watch your mirrors, because you will be illegal before you know it. The engine produces 237 HP at 7800 rpm and 162 foot pounds of torque at 6800 rpm. With these high spin rates, you gotta rev the motor to max out the fun meter.
When you exit the freeway onto your favorite twisty road, the S2000 experience comes on like gangbusters. The suspension, big tires, ABS brakes, throttle, clutch pedal, transmission, and motor all work as one excellently designed and engineered unit. Bumpy turns, smooth turns, uphill, downhill, it really doesn't matter, the S2000 can take them all.
EPA mileage numbers? Who cares? With your right foot firmly planted on the floor, you are not going to save any dead dinosaurs (They are 20 city and 26 highway to keep the record straight.). Due to the motor's 11.1 to 1 compression ratio, you need to use the 91-octane gas pump.
S2000's electric convertible top goes up or down at the touch of a button. After years of manual tops, I like this feature. There is a very short option list-an XM Satellite Radio and a removable aluminum hard top are the only extras you can get.
At an MSRP of $34,250 the S2000 is a very good value for the performance it delivers.
By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists