Honda’s sports car lineup has become a lot clearer today. We already know the NSX is coming and the same for the diminutive S660 sports coupe. Now, Motoring Australia is reporting that Honda has given the green light to bring back the S2000 . Pop open the metaphorical champagne, ladies and gentlemen, Honda’s recently discontinued sports car is coming back!
Okay, let me pump the brakes up a little bit. Technically, this sports car won’t be packaged as a direct successor to the S2000. Remember, the S2000 was a front-engine mounted sports car that broke out in the 2000 model year and was produced until 2009. The new S2000 will be developed with a mid-mounted engine setup. This setup is similar to what Honda is preparing for the NSX and the S660, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see the new S2000 adopt the same setup.
Motoring Australia also said that the new S2000 will adopt similar styling to the NSX and the S660, including wraparound headlights, large side air intakes, and flared wheel arches. This could point to a more robust design for the S2000, as opposed to the sleek, bullet-like look of the model’s previous incarnation.
The same report also indicated that the new rear-wheel drive S2000 will employ a modified version of the 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that currently takes residence under the Honda Civic Type-R’s hood. An electric motor is also expected to be slapped into the car, ensuring a total output of around 365 horsepower and mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Honda is also reportedly planning to produce the new S2000 at its Performance Manufacturing Center in the U.S. This little detail is important because that’s where the NSX will also be built, which means that there’s a possibility that the S2000 receives the same production materials as its big bro.
What’s still unclear is when the new S2000 will arrive. By all indications, a launch in late 2017 sounds like a fair estimate of the sports car’s development timeline.
For now, we’re not concentrating on that as much as the report that a spiritual successor to the Honda S2000 is officially coming.
Note: Last-generation Honda S2000 pictured here.
Click past the jump to read more about the Honda S2000.
Why It Matters
Today, Honda doesn’t have a true sports car in its lineup. You can make a case for the Civic Type-R, but that’s pretty much just a performance variant of the Civic. That doesn’t count in my book. But just a few years from now, there’s a real possibility that Honda will have not one, not two, but three legitimate sports cars in its lineup. I’m most excited the NSX for obvious reasons, but from a more practical and financial standpoint, the S2000 is really the car that could spearhead Honda’s move toward becoming a serious player in the sports car segment.
Between 2000 and 2009, the Honda S2000 proudly flew Honda’s sports car banner, but the model was eventually discontinued because Honda couldn’t find a good business plan for it in the wake of the global economic crisis. Things are a lot different now than they were five or six years ago. The evolution of hybrid technology has made it possible for sports cars to retain their performance capabilities while also addressing the growing trend of eco-friendliness and fuel efficiency.
That’s a big reason why Honda probably gave the thumbs up to developing a spiritual successor to the S2000.