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
#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.
#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...