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
#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.
Apr 14, 2006 (12:40 pm)
I understand the S2000 has a very special engine, but how are you going to know if you like the car if they don't keep a tester on hand for test drives.
(As far as being special the Z cost just as much as or more than the S2000.)
#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.