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Old 05-06-2008, 12:33 PM
Tekknikal's Avatar
Tekknikal Tekknikal is offline
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Default The Honda S2000

Earlier this year I reviewed the Consulier and put it up against Infiniti's G35 and Honda's S2000. I already concluded these were all different cars. Now I had already written out most my thoughts on the S2000, but I wanted to hold off on going to print with them pending some more driving and internal reflection. But now that some time has passed I think it's time for me to come clean.

It's not as comfortable as a G35. And it might not be considered the most manly car... and no, its not as direct as the Consulier, and it's not even anywhere in's a different car altogether. It's an emotional car. What it does, and what's most impressive about it, is the way the S2000 makes you feel when you drive. I'll skip to the end and say right now: I love it...

I'd driven one before. But on a short trip with a gas tank near empty, I never got onto it very long or hard. I walked away thinking that it wasn't anything very special- just small and bouncy. It crashed on every subtle change of the road and wasn't particularly comfortable or spacious. Despite that though, there was still something about it that peaked my interest. The gauges, steering wheel, and transmission felt curiously good. But I didn't really get to test them, so all I could do was wonder, as thoughts of the car lingered in the back of my mind...

...Until my first real run with it.

As I've said before the engine, a 2.0L 4 cylinder mounted fully behind the front axle, is pure Honda magic. It revs to 9,000 rpms and yet thanks to Honda's reliability, just might live longer than me. And then there's VTEC. Yes everyone jokes about it, and trust me I know how I sound typing it out now-I'm a Nissan man- but it's really something else. It's something every motoring enthusiast should try at least once.

Before VTEC, below 5,000 rpms, the car presses forward with reasonable interest. A peaking curiosity if you can call it that. But it's not very hard. You'll think you might barely outrun a high grade Civic or 4 cylinder Accord. Then the beautifully crisp digital RPM gauge crosses through 6,000 rpms...

...And the world changes. The engine doesn't wake up, it changes personalities. It's crazy I tell you. The engine goes from lazy to mad. It's suddenly starts spinning with such a raucous you'll think it's an animal trying to escape capture. You'll even be tempted to look back and see if the car saw something that scared it. But there's nothing: the engine just suffers from Schizophrenia. A mild case, but its schizo nonetheless. One minute, it's lazy at wide open throttle. The next, its past 6,000 rpms and moving you forward with all the frenzy of a crowd that just heard a gunshot. It moves like that all the way to its 9,000 rpm redline, where its tachometer joins in on the commotion as it starts flashing at you....

So you reach for another gear....

...and it's then you realize that the transmission is better than the engine. A lot better. In fact it might be one of the best trannies in the world. The gates are perfectly defined. It's operation is smooth and absolutely positive. I wonder, what did rifle manufacturers use as a benchmark before Honda built the S2000?

This is one case where the car would not be made any better by being sequential with paddle shifting. And anyone who would even think to ask Honda to build an automatic S2000 should be asked to take a long walk off a short cliff. Actually, my recommendation would be to shoot said infidel on the spot- they wouldn't ever contribute anything positive to the automotive world anyway...

Engine and transmission aside, the rest of the S2000 is very good as well. Yes the ride is jiggly. Yes you'll wonder about rigidity sometimes. But when you're sailing through the upper RPM range and nearing triple digit speeds you just won't care. The car simply goes where you point it. It doesn't feel overly planted, nor does it feel ponderous. It just feels like it's ready to go wherever you want. And that's just as good.

Now yes- you need to be awake. Especially in the rain. There's no traction control and the car doesn't come with Bridgestone or Michelin's latest supersticky RE070 or PS2 tires. But because it's so light it doesn't really need them. On the day's you'll really drive it, when the sun is out over your shoulder and the sky is clear straight to the other islands, the car is pure, unadulterated fun....

But again, this is a car that must be pushed. Some people say the car has no torque. They got it wrong. It does- at high RPM. Obviously, you can't drive it like a V8 Mustang. You'll be disappointed. You have to DRIVE the car. It's pretty simple really. If what you want is a torque monster to drag race with, go buy a Camaro or Mustang. You're obviously not looking for anything like a S2000.

But if you want to drive, the S2000 is one of a kind. The engine-transmission experience is flawed only by its sound. Don't get me wrong, the S2000 doesn't sound bad per se- but for such an crisp powertrain and such an emotional engine, the sound should be better. Personally, I enjoy the sound of the G35 and 350Z far more. While I am not one to modify exhausts - I would search for something, anything to help the S2000. Not because the S2000 sounds terrible, but because this is a car that's about the experience much more so than numbers. So if you have to pay up for something like a straight titanium exhaust from a funny sounding company in Japan, it's worth it, if only for the right sound....

But let's get back to the big picture here. We originally set out to see how the Consulier compares with the G35 and in particular, the S2000. The real lesson here is that cars, and sports cars especially, are about feel and more succinctly, how they make us feel. Was the Consulier the most capable platform? Quite possibly. But which is best? Which is the most fun? Depends solely on what you're looking for. And that's something the specifications can, at best, only hint at. But don't believe what they tell you.

Around the block cars like the S2000, Consulier, and G35 will each get their fair share of attention -to varying degrees. The G35 is the most comfortable and overall competent on the road. The Consulier, in contrast, is the most demanding, direct, and authentic. The sheer attention it will get will force you to be more social than you probably are, but will always keep you in a good mood- even if you're tired from driving it. The S2000 however is the most passionate. It's like a lover that always demands the most from you.

And that's all I can say. Thinking over them it's amazing how different they are, and I can be angry at no man for picking one of the others....

...but me personally, well let me risk my continued welcome among Nissan owners and say this: the S2000 is truly something special. It's not the speed. Nor is it the feel. It's the emotion. I love it.

I had to get up extra early just to drive this car out east once more. The crisp cool air blowing against you as you lock in one gear from another, finely weaving from one corner to the next, is fantastic. Then there's all the sights and sounds that go along with it. It's a truly awesome experience.

Rounding about south shore at the eastern most point in the US with all of the Caribbean Sea before you, firing off one gear change after another is an experience I won't soon forget. It's so good, I'm very seriously considering buying one for myself.

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Old 05-13-2008, 08:58 PM
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Duttyman Duttyman is offline
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Default Re: The Honda S2000

Very well done and a fascinating read. I am particularly taken aback because the older I get, the more disappointed I am that I still judge books by their covers. Me who considers himself an equation away from full Technocrat would NEVER have associated that car (the S2000) with anything more that a breezy drive. In fact, at the risk of pissing off some of our treasured members of the opposite sex, I would have referred to this car as a machine for girls! Sorry ladies, men are visual animals. I mean look at the last photo for crying out loud. Need I say more? That said, after reading the comparison, I am happy to admit an improvement in my older years. I can admit when I am wrong.I was wrong about the little car with big heart. And as a Trini, I can safely say that I might just like myself in the S2000.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:33 PM
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StreetRX7 StreetRX7 is offline
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Default Re: The Honda S2000

Did you guyz race to see who was faster...???

Nice read....
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:49 PM
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Tekknikal Tekknikal is offline
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Default Re: The Honda S2000

Mosler said, and I quote, "It's a girls car." (He voluntarily offered the both comment and the OK to quote him on it)

For sure, he wasn't a fan of its ride, which skips and jiggles over the pavement at times.

But he did agree with my assessment that it was like a toy. And it's great fun at that... but this isn't something easy; It's not for everyone and not everyone will "get it".

Assuming you're at the right place and in the right conditions with it..and that you love to drive, the car is brilliant.

Another thing: looking at the G35 vs S2000, is sort of like how I am looking at the GT-R vs LF-A. I'd say the G35 and GT-R are in the same class, and the S2k and LF-A are in the same class. If you can't respect one (given its price range), I'm not sure you'd appreciate its big brother.... at least not from a driving perspective....
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:05 PM
JJ340 JJ340 is offline
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Default Re: The Honda S2000

DO u want to sell the s2000? if so how much?
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:19 PM
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Tekknikal Tekknikal is offline
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Default Re: The Honda S2000

not selling the S, thanks though..
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