Momentum Grows On The Return Of Honda’s Popular Sports Car
Are we finally going to see the comeback of the Honda S2000?by Kirby, on
The Mazda MX-5 Miata may dominate the small sports car market today, but there was a point in the last decade when it faced a legitimate challenger in the form of the Honda S2000. That model ran for 10 years (1999 to 2009), encompassing two different generations before the global auto crisis of 2008 forced Honda to scrap plans for a third-generation model. As the years have passed, rumors have swirled that Honda was considering bringing back the S2000, even going as far as to file patent images of a mid-engine Honda sports car and introducing a sports car concept wearing similar design nods to the said patent images.
All of that has led to a new report coming out of Holiday Auto, which not only confirmed the return of the S2000, but also went so far as to say that the returning sports car would be slotted between the entry-level Honda S660 (another sports car that’s rumored to be in development) and the automaker’s performance crown jewel, the NSX.
According to the Japanese magazine, the returning S2000 is going to receive a whopper of an engine in the form of a newly developed turbocharged unit that can produce more than 320 horsepower while mated to an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. The whole technical setup will also reportedly include an electrically driven supercharger that can cut fuel consumption compared to a conventional biturbo engine while also removing any sort of turbo lag that’s normally attributed to turbochargers.
How Honda plans to tackle every other part of the returning S2000 is still unclear, but a timetable for a 2018 launch has apparently been set as Honda looks to celebrate its 70th anniversary (also happening next year) with a ferocious bang. A price point of around $50,000 has also been mentioned, making it significantly more expensive than the MX-5. That’s probably a sign that Honda’s leaving that specific battle to the S660, as it places the S2000 in a more premium position to possibly take on the likes of entry level European sports cars like the BMW M2 and Audi TT.
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A long time coming, but it’s about time
There once was a time when the Honda S2000 was regarded as one of the best sports cars in the market. It made Car and Driver’s “10Best” list four times (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004). It ranked first in Top Gear’s car survey three times (2003, 2005, 2006). It even made Edmunds Consumers’ “Most Wanted Vehicles another three times (2004, 2005, 2007).
The S2000’s list of accolades runs long and deep, and Honda’s decision to scrap the model wasn’t indicative of lagging sales as much as it was a victim of the circumstances brought about by the auto crisis during that time. But, that’s in the past now because the industry is in a far healthier state than it has been in a long time. That’s why it’s a good move by Honda to bring back the S2000 and attempt to rekindle the sports car’s glory years.
Make no mistake. The new S2000 is going to be one of the most anticipated sports car debuts in recent memory. The fact that Toyota’s bringing back its own “legacy” sports car, the Supra, makes the S2000’s return that much more dramatic and relevant. Imagine seeing these old rivals make their respective comebacks and line up opposite one another once again? The nostalgia alone is going to be enough to get people like me excited about the possibility.
That said, I’m not going to get too excited just yet. Honda may be close to announcing the return of the S2000, but until there’s an official confirmation that it’s actually happening, preempting that confirmation could be a recipe for disappointment. Besides, even if Honda does make it official and announces the S2000’s return, there’s still that very important matter of making sure that the car is going to live up to the absurd hype and buzz that it will inevitably attract.
That’s the most important aspect of the Honda S2000’s reported return. Now, it’s just a matter of waiting and seeing what Honda can cook up with what could end up being one of its most important releases in years.
Read our full review on the Honda S2000 here.
Source: Car and Driver