Last post on Oct 14, 2011 at 1:34 PM
You are in the Honda S2000
What is this discussion about?
Honda S2000, Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice, Convertible
#1 of 18 Honda S2000 vs Saturn Sky/Pontiac Solstice
May 18, 2007 (7:22 am)
Please use this thread to compare the S2000 and the Saturn Sky/Pontiac Solstice (Redline and GXP discussions are welcome here, too, since they are more in line of specs to the S2000).
May 18, 2007 (12:09 pm)
The S2000 is along the lines of a Lotus Elise, TR-6 and Alfa Spyder, work for the power and you'll be rewarded with a well rounded but raw racecar for the streets. In the S, everything falls right where you need it to from the tight steering to the fantastic gearbox to the X-bone chassis beneath your bottom. It's a car built from the ground up to serve its purpose in a no compromises fashion.
The GXP and R/L take the 60's muscle car approach of stuffing a big motor under the hood of an econobox. The car was never that great in the first place and in the case of the Kappa, you're penalized by a poor seating position, a hard clutch and clunky gearbox from a pickup truck. Mix that with the quality flaws and the ill-fitting manual top and things don't look so promising anymore. But, hey it looks good and that's all that matters right?
I once saw a 1983 Chevette with a 350 stuffed under the hood. In the end it was still a cheap Chevette.
May 18, 2007 (12:41 pm)
I don't think anyone can argue about the look of the Sky/Solstice. They both look great. I like the clean lines of the S better but I digress.
I've only put on about 250 miles on my S so I'm still getting to know my S but wow, what a car! The more comfortable I get with it, the more I appreciate the car. Everything is where I expect it. Can I criticize anything about the car? Yes, but they are superficial compalints and by no means prevented me from getting the car (I knew of the issues going into the purchase).
I like the a/c and radio controls being a finger tips but I would like to know when I change the station what channel I just changed to. I'd like to see the radio station show up in the instrument cluster, perhaps near the temp guage. I'd also like the volumne switch to also toggle left and right for tune up/down and up/down for volumn control. That would remove the need for the push button and clean up the buttons. The other complaint is if you take a drink with you, take a bottle with a cap. If you attempt to use the cup holder, you will knock the drink shifting gears. Lastly, I would like the seat to be height adjustable by about 2 inches so when I'm backing up, I can see easier out the back (I have a short torso). I also think a factor sub could go behind the seats but I'm not sure what is currently there so while I think a sub could fit, part of the cars frame may be there so I could be very off.
At 250 miles, that is all the compalints I have... Oh, OEM tires are expensive. $1000 a set. You can find cheaper rubber; just depends on if you plan on purly street duty or if you are going to autocross.
#4 of 18 Re: . [anythngbutgm]
May 21, 2007 (9:30 am)
On the handling, I recall some of the early Solstice tests by Car and Driver, Motor Trend, and Road and Track. They were extremely complementary of the handling and also how solid the car felt.
But what stands out to me is the engine. I wouldn't call 2.0 liters a "big motor" as you suggest. The 2.2 in the S2K is "bigger". I have read an awful lot about the wonderful Honda engines but this one does not cut it in my book. Max torque is a paltry 162 lb-ft and you don't get it until you reach 6800 RPM!! Up shifting the Honda must feel like you accidentally hit the kill switch.
The GXP on the other hand has 250 lb-ft at 1700 RPM and gradually increases to 260 lb-ft at peak power of 5300. This is an amazing feat achieved via direct injection, twin scroll turbo, continuously variable valve timing, sodium filled exhaust valves, etc. Add to that the large fuel mileage benefit (31 mpg vs. 26 mpg). This motor is clearly a techno marvel.
I see that accelerator paid $6345 off sticker for his S2K Obviously a very good price. But it makes me wonder if the presence of new and good competition at an affordable price (Solstice and Sky) is pulling the transaction price of the S2K down. And what does this new competition do to residual and trade in values??
#5 of 18 Re: . [trucktricks]
May 21, 2007 (9:45 am)
I'm still in the break-in so I can't comment on the "kill switch" but I'll let you know soon.
As for the residual, I'm in a lease so my residual is locked in. I looked at lease numbers for the Sky/Solstice but you'd be better off buying it as the sky/solstice haven't had enough history yet to establish a good residual. According to Edmunds, the S2000 has been in the top of residuals for the past 4-5 years, IIRC. I think the S2000 is only pulling itself down some, not "competition." The S2000 is still a techno marvel in my book and this book is 7 years old.
If the true value does take a nose dive, I'll be in great shape to buy this gem when the lease runs out; unless Honda comes out with another roadster to top the S2000, which I may just have to get in line to get!
P.S. Just to add, I'm not a GM hater as I also have an HHR with the larger engine and I love the HHR (I'd be interested to see an HHR SS, though).
#6 of 18 Re: . [trucktricks]
May 22, 2007 (3:53 am)
"But what stands out to me is the engine. I wouldn't call 2.0 liters a "big motor" as you suggest. The 2.2 in the S2K is "bigger". I have read an awful lot about the wonderful Honda engines but this one does not cut it in my book. Max torque is a paltry 162 lb-ft and you don't get it until you reach 6800 RPM!! Up shifting the Honda must feel like you accidentally hit the kill switch."
Have you ever driven a fully broken in S2000? Although obviously less powerful in absolute terms, the S2000 redline, and ratio of torque to horsepower is essentially identical to a Ferrari 360. If you're a Ford/GM fan and think that 6,000 rpm is where you need to start picking up the pieces off the road, you should consider adjusting your vision of a "sports" car. The S2000 - especially the 9,000 rpm 2.0 liter 2002 model I had - is an absolute hoot to drive for those that like to work a high revving engine with a world class short throw 6-speed gearbox.
I now have a 911S. A more docile 7,200 rpm redline with nearly double the torque of the S2000. I have absolutely no complaints, as it is the perfect sports car that doubles as a family car with our daughters in the back. But there are times that I slightly miss the point and shoot visceral feel of the S2000 revved up to 8,500 rpm. If anything gets me into a 8,400 rpm GT3, it will be that preference. One thing for sure, I wouldn't take a Corvette Z06 if I was given one. Gobs of torque, but gearing that is totally screwed up for any kind of fun outside of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Those brilliant GM engineers have a 6th gear that lugs along at about 1,300 rpm at 65. It might fool the EPA for enhanced gas mileage ratings, but it's an idiotic way to gear a "sports" car, IMO.
The gearing of the S2000 (and 911) are perfectly matched to the engine. If you don't like to shift, get an automatic muscle car and call it a day. But if you do, there is nothing more rewarding than having 9,000 (or even 7,200) rpm to play with and a car that is engineered for precision.
The proof is in the pudding. There is another poster in another forum who is a Corvette track junkie. Even he admits the "paltry" S2000s frequently beat the 400hp/400ft lb Corvettes around Willow Springs. I don't think they would allow the Solstice on the same track.
#7 of 18 Re: . [habitat1]
May 22, 2007 (7:02 am)
I wanted to add/remind readers who strictly compare cars on paper... while it is true that the S2000 doesn't reach max torque until the around 6800rpm, the engine is so free reving that it takes a split second to get the rpms up there. My last vehicle had more torque, AWD and about the same horse power but due to the turbo lag, I feel less secure about jumping into traffic with it than I do with my rwd S2000 and I'm not done with the break-in yet!
#8 of 18 Re: . [habitat1]
May 22, 2007 (9:10 am)
But there are times that I slightly miss the point and shoot visceral feel of the S2000 revved up to 8,500 rpm.
I think what you are telling me is that the audio sensation of 9000 RPM is high on your list of wants from a sports car. Personally, I put the G's of acceleration, braking and cornering at the top of my list.
One thing for sure, I wouldn't take a Corvette Z06 if I was given one.
If someone offers you a Z06, I suggest you take it. They hold their value very well (I know this to be true, I have owned three new Corvettes) and the cash when you sell it could come in handy for your daughters college tuition.
I will let you know how I like the 2000 after I do my test drive.
#9 of 18 Re: . [trucktricks]
May 22, 2007 (9:46 am)
"I think what you are telling me is that the audio sensation of 9000 RPM is high on your list of wants from a sports car. Personally, I put the G's of acceleration, braking and cornering at the top of my list."
The sound of 8,500+ rpm probably had something to do with it, but by "visceral" I mostly meant the direct "connected" feel of the S2000. Also, there are a fair number of cars that, thanks to supersized rubber, can post pretty decent maximum g's and braking. The S2000 has such tight steering and exceptional balance, that you really need to drive it in twisties with a lot of transitions to appreciate it. It feels like a go cart and is almost effortless in its ability to handle quick "S" turns. Far more so than the Z3/Z4 and SLK's and right up there with the Boxster S. The 350Z feels like the Love Boat by comparison.
"the cash when you sell it could come in handy for your daughters college tuition."
You didn't think I'd have splurged on a 911 without first pre-funding their 529 accounts, did you? As long as the market doesn't crash or the Ivy League decide to bump tuition by 15% per year, they should be covered.
But I think you may get my point after driving the S2000. There are some people, a few I even call friends, who worship torque and love raw power. One such friend had a Buick "SS" Gran National, or something to that effect in the 1970's that could do a 1/4 mile in the 11 second range. I suspect in his hands, the S2000 would dissapoint. He's a IHRA and Nascar kind of guy. A straight line or a counterclockwise oval are his metrics for a sports car. I'm a Formula One and Grand Prix kind of guy. I have a tough time getting excited by a 2 minute horse race around an oval, let alone a 2+ hour car race around one. Show me Monaco.
I look forward to hearing about your test drive.
#10 of 18 Re: . [accelerator]
May 23, 2007 (9:14 am)
I wondered about the turbo-lag issue. Turbo lag has been a problem with some (most?) of the high performance engines of the past. The engine designers are finding ways around that now.
Solutions have included twin scroll impellers (like the Solstice), ceramic impellers and even plastic impellers. BMW has even gone to using two small turbos like on the 335i.
Interestingly enough, the 3.0 liter in the BMW with two turbos produces 300HP. This is 1.63 HP/cubic in. A far cry from the 2.1 HP/cubic in. of the Solstice. And this coming from a manufacturer known for their engines. I would suggest the GM boys have one-upped them on this one.
At any rate, my somewhat brief (10 mi.) drive in the GXP revealed no noticeable turbo lag and very, very snappy shifts.