Last post on Sep 08, 2007 at 11:04 AM
You are in the Honda S2000
What is this discussion about?
Honda S2000, Nissan 350Z, Coupe, Convertible
#1 of 183 S2000 vs' 350Z
Mar 19, 2006 (5:54 pm)
My wife & I are looking for a toy. The top 2 choices are the Honda S2000 & the Nissan 350Z. We trust both brands to be dependable and both are around $32,000.
I know one is a convertable and one is a coupe, but it's about the fun not the details.
Please let me know what you think.
#2 of 183 Re: S2000 vs' 350Z [tnjrobi1]
Mar 21, 2006 (11:36 am)
While I am not too technical, I have gone thru' my share of ownership / test drive experiences of some fine automobiles in the US and I am sure that entitles me to consider myself a serious auto buff - Here are my 2 cents:
I was waiting for the redesigned Mini S convertible for a while. When it became apparent that it was not going to be released until 2008, I seriously started cross shopping the Z and the S2K.
They are both very good cars - But, the S2K is arguably the funnest car I have ever driven. I would not be exaggerating if I said that riding the S2K top down over dry pavement on a decent weather day is sheer, unadultrated automobile Nirvana. I would not say the same about the Z. The Z comes standard with some rich heritage (so does the S2000, although pople don't seem to realize or remember - After all, the S600 was the first car that Honda ever built when expanding into Car territory, unless I am totally mistaken - The civic came the following year), had a more powerful engine and I am sure does a better 0-60 sec time than the S2000, and is also available as a convertible variant. The S and Z can both be used as serious track cars and they are capabale of unleashing some serious power. The S and Z can both be used as serious track cars.
But, to me, zero to 60 isn't everything in a roadster, unless the owner robs banks for a living and the standard commute is more like a standard getaway attempt... Handling is everything, and in that department, the S2000 reaaallly shines... All the claims about the S handling like a motorcycle are so true, according to me anyway. AND, that was the biggest scale tipper... Me and the wifey test drove both the S2K and the Z, liked both, wavered for a while on the Orange Z but during subsequent drives, fell in love with the S2000 and decided to go with it- We ended up buying a 2002 S2000 in the end for the following reasons:
1) FUN FACTOR!!!!!!!!!!! It kicked the tails out of the Z on that score!!! I realy fell for the zip zap zoom handling and there was virtually no understeer while coming into or getting out of curves in highways. Now, by that, I don't mean hair pin bends!!! Use your own discretion in the level of respect you would show those danged steep curves, whether you drive a Z or an S2K or a lawnmower, for that matter!!! Ahoy there, Dear Z owners - I am not attempting to ruffle any feathers - Just sharing my honest opinions, that's all.
2) Although they both have near 50:50 weight distribution, I felt that the Z had a heavier tail, compared to the S. Maybe I was imagining it - If I was, then, It was definitely due to the handling (or lack there of, on the Z).
3) I must say at this point that the Z is a heck of a lot more torquey than the S, which feels almost whiney, compared to the Z. But, I was not looking for torque this time - My daily driver is an M class and it has a peak torque band from 3000 RPM to 4500 RPM and that is more than all the torque I would ever need to experience on earth!
4) Buying preowned made more financial sense since this was an addition to the existing fleet. When buying used, I felt more comfortable going with Honda reliability over Nissan's. I have had Hondas before and the only reason I sold them was because I was moving upmarket.
5) Also, with the 2002s, the redline is 1000 RPM higher over the 2004 and beyond versions. This was an important deciding factor fod going in for a 2002, VS 2004, which could have been had for barely a few hundred dollars more than what I paid for the '02.
6) The car I bought was in very good condition, RED!!, 24,400 miles and came with an optional hardtop which makes it an year round driver - well, almost...
Hope this helps. Either ways, you are not going to go wrong.
#3 of 183 re: z v s
Mar 22, 2006 (10:17 pm)
the model yr 2004 and later s2000 is supposedly much improved, better handling, better torque, and much less peaky. That is from the reviews I have never driven either generation. I do own a 2005 350z and can tell you it would be better for daily driving, but would be outhandled by the s2000 no doubt. In convertible form, I think the Z may be tough to beat. it is flat out beautiful! It is supposed to ride better than the coupe Z, but I have never driven one either.
oh-- all Z owners desire the antenna from the s2000 for their Z. But, that really means nothing and is just odd.
#4 of 183 Re: S2000 vs' 350Z [tnjrobi1]
Mar 23, 2006 (4:13 am)
We trust both brands to be dependable and both are around $32,000.
I know one is a convertable and one is a coupe, but it's about the fun not the details.
I owned a 2002 Honda S2000 for 2.5 years and 19,000 miles. I still own a 1995 Nissan Maxima SE w/ 155,000 miles. So, based upon my experience, I can agree with your statement that both "brands are dependable". But that's about where it ends, between these two.
The S2000 is a world class sports car engineered from the ground up. Everything about it is unique to Honda. The super stiff RWD chassis, the 8,000 (formerly 9,000) RPM engine, the super crisp short throw 6-speed. It is mostly hand built in limited numbers at the same plant that used to produce the NSX. All of this shows in how the vehicle performs, as well as it's fit and finish.
As soon as I drove the 350Z, I could feel the extra 600 lbs. The low rpm / higher torque engine is borrowed, major chassis components are borrowed, etc. etc. The 350Z is not a bad car, by any means. But it is a far cry from a ground up sports car. And that comes through in a much less "visceral" driving feel.
Think of the S2000 as a "Ferrari-lite". Think of the 350Z as a "Corvette-lite". I know which one of these I would want to own in their full flavor.
P.S. The "details" of the S2000's 6-second up and down convertible top is all about the fun!
#5 of 183 S2000 vs 350Z
Mar 24, 2006 (4:02 pm)
I've taken both for test drives. If you're looking for a fun toy, I would definitely go for the S2000. Its handling is much more responsive and visceral. The Z has more torque and a more linear powerband, but I found the high-revving S2K engine more fun. Also despite being more nimble, the S2K also has a more comfortable suspension tuning than the Z.
For a sporty daily driver or an only car, it would be a tougher choice, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow. But that doesn't seem to be your situation. As a second or third car, the S2K is hard to beat.
However, the S2K is a very small car, so you and your wife should take a test drive and see if it's comfortable for you. If so, then I would go for it.
#7 of 183 Re: S2000 vs 350Z [centreville]
Mar 26, 2006 (5:29 am)
Pretty entertaining video.
But too bad Nissan paid the Skyline to block out the S2000 from passing the 350Z. That was more than a little annoying. The 350Z magically came in first place in spite of having slowest fastest lap times than either the S2000 or the M3 coupe. And those S2000 and M3 lap times were Skyline hindered. At least the video doesn't hide how the Z was completely outclassed by the S2000 in the corners.
Guess when you pay for the test you can manipulate the outcomes. And even the conditions - a wet track? Why didn't they just run the M3 on its rims?
#8 of 183 Test Drives
Apr 13, 2006 (4:19 pm)
I test drove both a 2006 Z and a 2002 S2000 (Honda won't let you test a new S2000.) (I really don't know why they think the S is so special, they will throw you the keys to a Z at any Nissan dealership.)
Anyway the I drove both the Z auto and stick. The Z was a little cumbersome in a stick model. The Z auto was really smooth and very easy to drive. The S on the other hand has a very nice stick, but felt a little low on power.
I know the newer S2000's have a little more low end power. Is there a major difference in around town driving (I mean can you really tell a difference?)
#9 of 183 Re: Test Drives [tnjrobi1]
Apr 14, 2006 (4:09 am)
I owned a 2002 S2000 and have driven a 2005, The difference to me was noticable, but it didn't change the fact that the S2000 is still a lightweight, high RPM sports car. The new one is a bit quieter, with a little more low end torque. On the other hand, it's 17" wheels felt a little more jarring, with no noticable improvement in handling and the 8,000 rpm redline isn't quite as much fun as the old 9,000 rpm redline.
On your comments about "why they think the S is so special", it's because it is - certainly compared to the 350Z. Honda makes (mostly hand builds) 5,000-6,000 a year and it's completely ground up engineering and design. The engine is unique and on par in terms of cutting edge performance with BMW's M engines, Porsche and other high output / high RPM engines. The fact that the Honda dealer wouldn't throw the keys to you is a relief. The S2000 engine needs to be broken in properly and I would never buy a car with any test drive miles on the odometer.
The 350 Z isn't a bad car, but it has a tiny fraction of the engineering of the S2000. The engine is nothing special, simply a standard Nissan workhorse, powering everything from the Maxima to the Pathfinder. Other components of the car are constructed from Nissan's shared parts bin. As a result, this 2 seater sports car - in convertible form - weighs as much as my 1995 Maxima with a 600 pound water buffalo in the passenger seat. And it's handling and feel would hardly be labeled as "visceral". So, in my opinion, there is nothing "special" about the mass market, parts sharing 350Z - you might as well get a G35 coupe and at least have a back seat for all the extra tonnage over the S2000. That the 350Z was supposed to be a modern equivalent of the 240Z is a slap in the face of that car, which was far more of a sports car for its day.
Apr 14, 2006 (6:56 am)
The VQ is a fine motor, lots of torque, plenty of horsepower. The Z has a very usable powerband while with the S2k you need to work for the power. But then again, that is half the fun of owning this car.
The Z is a major porker of a car, more Mustang than S2000 IMO. The S has more Miata like reflexes, light and tossable. Both are great cars with different attitudes.