The Honda S2000 is a fast and capable roadster from an era when old-school engineering was at its peak. It was well-liked in the United Kingdom, and its reputation has only grown over time.
The S2000 appears to have reached the bottom of its depreciation curve; buy a good Honda s2000 price for under £10,000, and it should hold its value and reward you with many miles of high-revving fun, according to Tony Middlehurst in our Cash Cars column.
What is your favorite type of engine? A big V8’s low throb? A mid-sized V6’s creamy whizz? Or the never-ending shove of a heavily turbocharged four-cylinder?Some people believe it is none of the above. It’s the scream of a high-revving Honda.
Apart from the Honda s2000 price and rotary-engined Mazda RX-8, which likes to stop starting when it gets hot, no other affordable brand offers that exotic whiff of life at 9,000rpm. More than one Honda also performs that trick. They usually have an R somewhere in their name, but there is one exception.
We’re talking about the S2000 roadster, which was on the market from 1999 to 2009 and was popularised not only by Gran Turismo and Fast And Furious but also by the world’s motoring press. Some of you may raise an eyebrow at the prospect of purchasing a Japanese sports car that hasn’t been available new since 2009. If you have ten minutes to spare and the cost of a pint in your pocket, Uncle Bob, our in-house expert at identifying slow depreciators, will put you straight on that.
To begin, he’ll tell you that there were more S2000s on UK roads in 2018 than in 2017. That means there is still a high demand for them, whether as imports or for restoration projects.
Then Bob will explain why that is the case. In his garage, he will discuss the Honda Blackbird 1100 motorcycle. An engine of a similar size in a 2019 car will produce between 100bhp and 130bhp, depending on turbo boost.
Bob’s non-turbocharged Blackbird came out of the Honda dealership with more than 165bhp eighteen years ago. Despite Bob’s efforts to burst it, it remains completely reliable to this day.
The point is that Honda knows how to build high-performance engines that don’t pop.
The S2000’s normally aspirated VTEC 2-litre engine produced between 237bhp and 247bhp at an insane 8,300rpm, depending on where you bought it. It was the most powerful non-turbo engine ever in terms of horsepower per liter, but 20 years later, S2000 engine failure is about as common as spotting a unicorn.
Bob’s final piece of advice to you, as he slams his empty glass, will be to look into the prices of other turn-of-the-century or earlier Japanese performance cars, such as the Nissan R34 Skyline, Toyota’s Supra, and Honda’s NSX.
The S2000 has a 0-60mph time of six seconds, a top speed of 150mph, classic rear-wheel drive independent double-wishbone suspension, a slick six-speed manual gearbox, 50/50 front/rear weight distribution, a limited-slip differential, and a cool driving environment – all for a mere £3,500. Are you interested now? OK. Let Bob tell you about the many benefits and surprisingly few drawbacks of owning a Honda S2000.
Honda S2000s: The Best of the Best
If you want to have some fun on the road in a classic rear-wheel-drive sports car, your options are limited. There’s the Porsche Boxster, BMW Z4, Nissan 350Z, or Toyota GT86 – or you could get a Mazda MX-5 like everyone else.
There is no harm in doing so. MX-5s are a great value for money and will always put a smile on your face. However, unlike the S2000, an unmodified MX-5 will not have you giggling like a lunatic as you clutch the lower gears in search of that 8,300rpm power peak and 9,000rpm redline.
The aluminum 1,997cc 16-valve four-cylinder engine in the S2000 is all about power. With 152lb-ft torque at 7500rpm and the famed VTEC kick at just under 5,900rpm, it’s more Lee Evans than Lee Marvin. You’ll have to work that aluminum gear knob hard, but it’ll be worth it.
Post-2004 facelift UK models had a less manic power curve, thanks to a new intake manifold and a drive-by-wire throttle, for a slightly more relaxing drive. Alternatively, you could look for a US-spec AP2 model with a slightly larger 2.2-liter engine.