Rumor Has It That the Honda S2000 Is Coming Back
Honda is reviving the S2000 to go against the Mazda Miataby Ciprian Florea, on LISTEN 06:25
Introduced in 1999 as a lightweight roadster, the Honda S2000 quickly made a name for itself as a solid competitor for the iconic Mazda MX-5 Miata. But while its Japanese rival remained in production until today, the S2000 was discontinued in 2009 due to slow sales, and plans for a successor were scrapped due to the financial crisis. Rumors of a second-generation model have been flying around since 2015, and now it seems that Honda is moving closer to building a successor a re-enter the market against the Mazda Miata.
The Honda S2000 may be revived for the nameplate’s 25th anniversary
The much-anticipated revival of the Honda S2000 could happen on the nameplate's 25th anniversary.
Since it was introduced in 1999, the S2000 turns 25 in 2024. The news comes from Forbes, but the publication quotes "a source close to Honda," so you’d better take it with a grain of salt. On the other hand, the claim comes with a few tidbits about the next-gen S2000.
What do we know about the upcoming Honda S2000
The second-generation S2000 will retain the proportions of its predecessor. At 162 inches long and 69 inches wide, the first-gen S2000 was pretty compact, and it seems that the modern iteration won’t change much. This is good news as cars like these need a small footprint to do their thing. This also means that the upcoming S2000 will be about the same size as the current Mazda MX-5, albeit a tad longer. The Japanese roadster is 154.1 inches long and 68.1 inches wide.
Honda recently showcased a prototype based on the original S2000 for the 20th anniversary, but that’s not a hint as to how the second-gen model will look like. The prototype was mostly identical to the old car, but the upcoming S2000 will feature slimmer headlamps and more muscular rear haunches.
More importantly, it will incorporate more aluminum than before, but also carbon-fiber, as Honda wants to keep weight below 3,000 pounds.
For reference, the previous generation tipped the scales at around 2,860 pounds.
More interesting news comes from the engine compartment. It seems that the S2000 will continue to feature a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but the old naturally aspirated mill will be replaced with a turbocharged one.
The engine in question might be the four-banger in the Civic Type R, rated at 320 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.
However, there is a bit of an issue with this rumor, as the Type R’s mill was designed for a front-wheel-drive layout, whereas the S2000 will be rear-wheel driven. Honda will probably choose a different route than a re-engineered turbo-four, but one source at Honda mentioned that the Japanese firm is considering an S2000 model with around 350 horsepower. This would be a big increase from the previous S2000, which came with 247 horsepower in its most potent configuration.
While the turbocharged four-cylinder may be different than the engine in the Civic Type R, Honda could source the hatchback’s six-speed manual transmission. Although the old S2000 was restricted to a manual, Honda will probably offer an automatic as well, just like Mazda does for the MX-5 Miata.
How much will the second-gen Honda S2000 cost?
Well, it’s a bit too early to say, especially since this roadster won’t arrive until 2024. It’s natural to assume that Honda will keep the sticker close to the Mazda Miata’s, but that might not be the case since the S2000 will pack a lot more punch. The MX-5 starts from $26,580 in the United States, so maybe the S2000 will cost a bit more than $30,000. Still, it shouldn’t exceed $33,000 before options, which means it will be a bit more affordable than the Civic Type R, priced from $37,495.
The original Honda S2000 was one of the coolest short-lived cars around
A modern tribute to Honda roadsters from the 1960s, like the S500, S600, and S800, the S2000 arrived in 1999 for the 2000 model year. A front-engined, two-door roadster with a rear-wheel-drive layout, the S2000 immediately took on the highly popular Mazda MX-5 and the third-generation Toyota MR2. Like its Japanese competitors, the S2000 also featured a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, but Honda’s 2.0-liter delivered notably more oomph. When it broke cover in 1999, the U.S. version came with 237 horsepower and 153 pound-feet of torque.
By comparison, the NB-generation Mazda MX-5 developed only 146 horsepower and 124 pound-feet in its most powerful iteration. The S2000 was more powerful than the Mazdaspeed version too, rated at just 178 horses and 167 pound-feet. Mazda redesigned the Miata in 2005, but the NC version did not generate more than 167 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of twist.
A facelift introduced in 2004 increased torque to 162 pound-feet, but output remained locked at 237 horsepower for the U.S. market. Following several successful years with more than 10,000 units delivered per year globally (1999 to 2006), sales of the roadster began dropping dramatically in 2007, and the 2008 crisis made things worse for the nameplate. With only around 4,500 examples sold in 2008, the S2000 was discontinued in June 2009. Overall, Honda sold 110,673 roadsters, around 66,500 of which were delivered to the United States.