The Honda S2000 is a roadster manufactured by Honda Motor Company since April 1999. The car was created to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary, and continues in the tradition of lightweight roadster "S" cars such as the S600 and S800. Like previous S cars, the name of the S2000 comes from its engine displacement of approximately 2000 cc (although Honda would later introduce a 2200 cc model, retaining the S2000 name). From its inception in 1999 to 2003, S2000s were manufactured at Honda's Tochigi plant. S2000s since then have been manufactured at the Suzuka plant.
Design and Construction
Continuing in the tradition of its predecessors, the S2000 is rear wheel driven, with power being delivered via a Torsen limited slip differential mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
The car is constructed using an X-bone monocoque frame which is extremely rigid, thus improving handling, road noise, and steering feel and feedback. Other features include double wishbone suspension, electronically-assisted steering, integrated roll hoops and an electrically powered canvas top that takes 6 seconds to operate, touted as the fastest opening top among all convertibles.
The car was originally launched in 1999 as a 2000 model, and was sold through to 2002. It featured 16" wheels with Bridgestone Potenza S-02 tyres.
The 2001 model saw new rear spring rates and modified rear dampers. 2002 featured another revised suspension set up and the introduction of a glass rear windscreen, replacing the plastic one featured in cars built from 1999. It maintained the same looks on the outside and the same wheels.
2000 Honda S2000
The 2004 model introduced newly designed 17" wheels and Bridgestone RE-050 tyres along with a retuned suspension that reduced the car's tendency to oversteer. The spring rates and shock absorber damping were altered and the suspension geometry modified to improve stability, by causing toe-in under cornering loads. In addition, cosmetic changes were made to the exterior with new front and rear bumpers, revised headlight assemblies, new LED tail-lights, and oval-tipped exhausts. The 2.0 L engine was also revised, with its redline reduced to 8,200 rpm. At the same time, Honda introduced a 2.2 L variant to the North American market.
The 2006 model introduced a drive by wire throttle and a Vehicle Stability Assist system. Interior changes included revised seats, additional stereo speakers integrated into the headrests, and additional headrest padding where previous seats had helmet depressions and screens. The 2.2 L engine was also introduced to the Japanese market during this time.
The first S2000s (2000 to 2003 models) came equipped with a 2.0 L (1997 cc) F20C inline 4 cylinder engine producing 240 hp (179 kW) at 8,300 rpm and 153 ft·lb (208 Nm) of torque at 7,500 rpm, though the Japanese models were quoted with 250 PS (184 kW, 247 hp) due to a small difference in engine compression ratio.
Because of its high-revving nature (9,000 rpm redline for the 2000 to 2003 models and 8,200 rpm for the 2004 model onwards), it is one of the few naturally-aspirated engines to produce over 100 hp/L. The compact and lightweight engine, mounted entirely behind the front axle, allowed the S2000 to obtain a better front/rear weight balance and lower rotational inertia than would have been possible if the engine had not been so-mounted.
Following criticism about a lack of low-down torque, Honda introduced a variant of the F20C engine to the North American market in 2004. Designated the F22C1, the stroke of the motor was lengthened, increasing the displacement to 2.2 L. As a result, the redline was reduced to 8,000 rpm (mandated by the longer travel distance of the pistons). T Peak torque was increased by 6%, and the F22C1 was quoted by Honda as having more torque at lower rpm than the F20C, although officially the power output remains the same between the two engines. Initially, the F22C1 was intended only for the North American market, but it was also introduced to Japan in 2006 with specified power of 242 PS (178 kW, 239 hp). The 8,000 rpm redline was one part of a criticism as labeling the the F22C1 models as less raw compared to the F20C1.
At the same time as introducing the F22C1, Honda also changed the transmission gear ratios, by shortening the first four gears and lengthening the last two. Another change was the inclusion of a clutch release delay valve to improve drivetrain longevity by reducing shock loads.
The official fuel economy figures for the 2006 Honda S2000 produced by the United States EPA are as follows:
The S2000 was on Car and Driver's Ten Best list for 2000 through 2002 and 2004.
The S2000 was the highest-ranked model in the J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Vehicle Dependability Study's "Premium Sports Car" class, and consistently holds one of the top three positions.
The F20C engine won the International Engine of the Year award in the "1.8 to 2 liter" size category for five years from 2000 through 2004.
The S2000 came 1st out of 159 cars in the Top Gear Survey of 2005.