The Honda S2000 20th Anniversary Edition Makes Us Yearn for the Roadster’s Return
Sad to say, but that’s not happening anytime soonby Kirby Garlitos, on
The Honda S2000 hasn’t been in production since 2009, but that’s not stopping Honda from celebrating the roadster’s 20th anniversary at the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon in January. As part of the celebration, Honda is showcasing the S2000 20th Anniversary Prototype, a modern-day interpretation of the second-generation S2000 AP2, which was discontinued exactly a decade ago. Honda currently has no plans to revive the S2000, so the 20th Anniversary Prototype is most likely a special effects package that will be offered to existing owners of the S2000 AP2. The package includes a body kit, though there are reports that an upgraded suspension will also be included. Engine upgrades, however, are unlikely to be part of the package.
A Honda S2000 Successor?
Before you get all excited about the possibility of the Honda S2000 returning after a decade-long slumber, let me shoot down those hopes and dreams now. Honda has gone on record — multiple times, in fact — saying that the S2000 is not returning.
It was a tremendous sports car that followed a long lineage of fun-to-drive Honda performance cars, but there’s no place for the S2000 in Honda’s plans.
That much is certain, at least for now.
If that’s the case, why would Honda roll out the S2000 20th Anniversary Prototype? The answer, of course, lies in the “20th Anniversary” title. The S2000 is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and Honda decided to celebrate that birthday by showcasing the S2000 20th Anniversary Prototype at the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon in January. If there was a Honda model that deserved a celebration, it’s the S2000. Honda’s doing exactly that.
The Honda S2000 Was One of the Best Sports Cars of the 2000s
The Honda S2000 was one of the best sports cars to hit the market in the last decade.
The second-generation S2000 AP2, in particular, held a timeless appeal that extends to this day.
You can spot an S2000 AP2 on the road these days and you’d think that it’s a modern sports car. That’s how evergreen its design was. More than that, the S2000 AP2 also came with an impressive 2.2-liter naturally aspirated inline-four cylinder engine that produced 237 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The S2000 AP2 wasn’t just potent for a car of its size and era, but it remains potent if you roll it out in today’s Japanese sports car market. Think about the Toyota 86 in the context of the Honda S2000 AP2. The latter is actually more powerful than the 86 despite getting discontinued three years before the Toyota sports car arrived.
Compare the design of the two models, and can you really say the 86 looks more modern than the S2000 AP2? Absolutely not. The Honda S2000 could even sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. That sprint is more than one-second faster than the 2020 Toyota 86, which needs a little over six seconds to hit 60 mph from an idle position.
The Honda S2000 AP2 was a sports car that was completely ahead of its time, and everyone recognized it. The Japanese sports car received so much praise and acclaim that it racked up so many awards during its life. Edmunds included the S2000 in its Consumers’ Most Wanted Vehicles list in 2004, 2005, and 2007. It was also named the “Best Affordable Sports Car” by U.S. News & World Report in 2008 and 2009. Jalopnik named it one of the Best Cars of the (last) Decade and Top Gear ranked it as the number 1 car in its annual survey in 2003, 2005, and 2006.
There’s More to The S2000 20th Anniversary Prototype than Just a Celebratory Showcase
It would be one thing if Honda brings the S2000 20th Anniversary Prototype to the Tokyo Auto Salon in January 2020 to simply show it off. In some ways, that might be what Honda plans to do. But there’s also more to it than that.
Honda actually plans to offer an effects package for owners who still own a Honda S2000.
The package is rumored to consist mainly of cosmetic touches, some of which can clearly be noticed in the only photo Honda released of the sports car.
It’s easy to spot the new front bumper from that image. The front grille is also bigger and looks more aggressive and the smoked headlights are definitely modern touches. Look closer and you’ll also notice that the S2000 20th Anniversary Edition is sporting a black windshield frame, mirrors, and a set of black wheels. Oh, and those red sports bucket seats? Absolutely to-die-for, folks.
The package also includes a new audio system and, more importantly, modifications to the sports car’s suspension setup. There’s no word on any changes to the sports car’s existing naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, but we’re fine if Honda opts to leave that part of the sports car untouched. The S2000 is still powerful by today’s Japanese sports car standards.
I Wish I Had a Honda S2000
I say this now knowing what to expect when the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon arrives. The Honda S2000 20th Anniversary Prototype will be showcased in the show and everyone who doesn’t own an S2000 will share my sentiments while those who still have their S2000s will revel in the glory of the opportunity to avail the S2000 20th Anniversary package and dress up their S2000s with it.