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
#12 of 183 Re: Test Drive [tnjrobi1]
Apr 14, 2006 (1:52 pm)
Some large dealers do/did keep a test car. Or at least had used cars that were fully broken in that could be tested. But, unfortunately, in the case of a limited production car, it can be hard to find one to test drive. I suggest shopping dealers for a used 2004+ with the 2.2 liter engine. Think of it as preparation for when you hit it big. There aren't Ferrari 430s or Porsche Turbos out there to test drive either, but that doesn't deter buyers.
By the way, if the dealer had handed you the keys to a new one, and you responsibly kept the RPM's below 5,000 (as required during the 1,000 +/- mile break-in) it would be of limited value in giving you the real feel for a fully broken in car taken to the V-tech redline.
On the "special" distinction, cost has little/nothing to do with it. There are fleets of generic SUV's and pick up trucks that cost as much or more than either the S2000 or 350Z. My point was that Honda went all out on the ground up design of the S2000. It's the only Honda made in Japan at the same plant that produces the NSX. It shares virtually no mechanical parts with any other Honda or Acura product. It was an engineering laboratory. I read several articles indicating that if Honda allocated 100% of the true engineering development costs of the S2000 to each sticker, the cars would have to sell for between $40,000 and $50,000 just to break even. Instead, they wrote off much of those costs as corporate marketing and development - along the lines of how they write off their Formula One racing expenses.
Nissan clearly developed the 350Z as a profit center, with much higher production targets and combining chassis, engine and other major components with the G35, Maxima, Altima, etc. Again, this is not to say that the 350Z is a bad car. But the S2000 is unique and exceptional in what it does, for so little money. It really is a "gift" from the Honda racing team. Anyone that buys one for $30k +/- should take the time to write a thank you letter. Your next best option is a $60k Boxster S or $65k Cayman S.
Apr 18, 2006 (10:18 pm)
Call all the Honda dealers in your area, and you should be able to find one to test drive. The tone of your voice should say, "I'm a very busy, very successful man, and I expect satisfaction," and not "Dude! This car rocks! I can't wait to drift it through an on-ramp!"
A test drive is really the only way to get a good feel for what it's like to drive any car -- but especially a sports car.
On paper, the S2000 and the 350Z seem pretty similar in terms of 0-60 and track times. If you were just looking at the numbers, you might think, "Well the S2K has an advantage in power-to-weight, but the Z has an advantage in torque-to-weight, so they're probably about the same."
But the driving experience is completely different. You can tell more about a car from 5 minutes behind the wheel than 5 months reading magazine articles and comparing performance numbers.
#14 of 183 Test Drives for 06
Apr 19, 2006 (5:26 am)
The odds are, you won't get one from a dealership! I have been turned down in more than one place and it really took a sales guy that knew me well as a serious car nut, to secure one (twice actually).
Look up cars.com, autotrader.com etc.. in your area for an '04 - My apologies to the sellers who will be handing you free samplers - But then, Hey - other than a couple of enhancements you could certainly live without, the 04 thru '06 is nearly the same - well, except for the headrest mounted speakers on the '06, which can be dealer installed on the '04. Anywho, my point is, you might even end up liking an 04 and decide to buy outright - You never know - This car is so freaking visceral, it does stange things to an average car buff's psyche
But basically, the 8% torque / HP increase, across the entire powerband are the same for 04 thru 06. 900 rpms lower on redline than 03 and before which I am sure you know - results in less noise. Very subjective thing and it totally depends on who wants this car - To me, those 900 less revs made it feel more car like and less Yamaha like!
And yes, the 16's feel better on my posterior that is sick and tired from my ML's standard Dunlops, compared to the 17's. They are by no means soft, but definitely less stiffer.
I need not go on and on about the virtues of the S over the Z - Pretty much every post above has covered almost everything there is to say, except the real experience of an driving an S and discovering Nirvana while glued to that racing seat behind the tiny steering wheel!! One last thing - Considering the Honda reliability, this car will certainly be a keeper, low miles or not and as it is, it has attained a certain cult status -Think of what it would be 20 years down the line when the Csaba Csere's of year 2026 drool over this car on TV and tell you what a marvel of auto engineering it was and still is!! Do you see yourself telling everyone all around you that you got one of those babies in your fleet???
Good luck with your decision.
#15 of 183 S2000 Test Drive
Apr 20, 2006 (8:54 am)
In agreement with other posts, a test drive of the S2000 is highly suggested before buying S2000 or a competitor. The driving experience provided by the S2000 is hard to imitate, unless you own an old English roadster (low on power), or a much more expensive Porsche or other exotic sports car. If you want a 'sports car' that is not lightning responsive, does not always place a grin on your face, and has a partial backseat, then pick the Z or a similar car. If you seek an extremely entertaing Sports Car which is ready for track competition, then go with a S2000. Be ready for your wife/girlfriend to take it away from you so she can drive it as hers. Hopefully, she will let you ride along and drive some. Best regards, JKG.
Apr 20, 2006 (3:44 pm)
...the Z does not have a partial backseat. And it puts plenty of grins on my face!
It's been said that the S2000 drives like a motorcycle. If that appeals to you, then do it.
The Z has wonderful acceleration and handling, so don't know what you mean about "not lightning responsive." Seems plenty responsive to me.
Apr 20, 2006 (11:00 pm)
Yeah, the 350Z is not a bad car, just very different from the S2000.
It's interesting that the S2000, 350Z, RX-8, and Mustang GT are all sports cars with similar prices, but they provide very different driving experiences.
That's why test drives are so important...
#18 of 183 Re: biancar [blacktalon]
Apr 22, 2006 (7:22 am)
"It's interesting that the S2000, 350Z, RX-8, and Mustang GT are all sports cars with similar prices, but they provide very different driving experiences.
That's why test drives are so important..."
Amen. In my opinion, the S2000 is a "Ferrari-lite" and the 350Z is a "Corvette/Mustang-lite". The fun of the S2000 starts at RPMs that would cause some of the other cars to explode.
#19 of 183 Z Shifter vs' S2000 Shifter
Apr 22, 2006 (7:49 am)
One thing I noticed when I test drove these two cars is the shifter difference. The Z's shifter felt kind of chunky and difficult to shift. But the S2000 shifter felt light and easy to manage.
Does anyone else have an opinion on the shift quality of these two vehicles?
#20 of 183 Re: Z Shifter vs' S2000 Shifter [tnjrobi1]
Apr 22, 2006 (2:42 pm)
"Does anyone else have an opinion on the shift quality of these two vehicles?"
I think I can safely say that the S2000 gearbox is one of the very best in any car at any price, period. The ultra crisp very short throw 6-speed is as good as any I've driven, including my Porsche 911S (997). Don't get me wrong, the Porsche gearbox is also ultra crisp and engages with extreme precision, but even the Porsche "Sport Shifter" option has slightly longer throws than the flick of the wrist S2000.
The only slight flaw is the Honda clutch, which is a bit soft for my preference. I also like the clutch to exhibit crisp, positive engagement with precise feedback. In that respect the Honda doesn't match the Porsche, but it's still better than the 350Z, Z4 and other competition in its general price range.
In my opinion, how a sports car shifts is a big factor in how one would rate it on the "visceral" scale. Honda absolutely nailed this with the S2000.
#21 of 183 Re: Z Shifter vs' S2000 Shifter [tnjrobi1]
Apr 22, 2006 (9:58 pm)
I have test driven both 2006 models at two different dealers in the past 3 weeks. I actually like the shifting and the handling of the S2000 better than the Z but don't consider the Z clunky or difficult. Both cars were fun to drive and I both liked and disliked things about both cars.
BTW - I am no longer in the market as of yesterday - a 2005 350Z roadster is in my garage. The S2000 was a bit tight for my frame size.