The Perfect S2000 send-off (as per S2KI member Onehots2k)
Look at your calendar!!!!
The year is 2011 and has Honda decided to debut a more muscular legitimate last hurrah to send off their critically acclaimed S2000. What direction should they have gone? What car today embodies what we have come to enjoy so much, amplified. Well, I have that answer for you. Look no further than the BMW Z4M Convertible. Yes, many that know me personally would expect no less than an opinion piece based on a bloody BMW! Allow me to tactfully make my case.
Let’s start out with the blatant similarities and build on that. Take a good look at the BMW Z4M convertible. It will be very hard for some but this involves looking beyond the polarizing design. We’re looking at a convertible car that is compact, rear-wheel drive, and has a front-mid engine layout. The S2000 shares all of those important specs. Where the Z4M takes it to the next level goes straight to the heart of the S2000, its engine. The Bimmer is powered by a slightly detuned version of the E46 M3’s motor. It is a powerful naturally aspirated line-six cylinder that produces 330hp at 8,000rpms and 262lb ft of torque at 4900rpms. Your trusty calculator informs you that 6cylinder mill is pumping 103hp per liter. You really can’t argue with the figures. Honda would definitely have to add a few cylinders or forced induction to efficiently clear the 300hp mark. Either that or put the vehicle on a Lotus-like diet.
Let’s clean our loop for a second here. Dropping 800 pounds in all the right places in this regulation laden environment is definitely not feasible. Unfortunately, all of these changes along with suspension/structure beefing would add some heft. You won’t be looking at a sub 3000lb car. Then again, I can’t name a powerful and capable roadster that is. The winning combination of the Z4M Convertible equates to four and half second rips to 60mph and very low 13’s in the quarter mile. Let’s move on to the handling aspects of both cars. Both of these car’s chassis are very stiff. Forget what you heard about BMW’s legendary ability to balance ride comfort and handling. It doesn’t seem to apply much here. It really is a wash between it and an AP2 S2000 with a stock set up. Both cars exhibit very minor body roll. Where the Honda really has room to excel is in the steering feel department. The Z4M uses a hydraulic power assisted steering versus the electric in the S2000. Companies now claim single digit percentage increases in fuel economy when electric steering is used.
Therefore, both cars handle exceptionally well with no noticeable hint of under steer, at least on the road. The nod goes to the Z4M in my opinion because there is very decent amount of power everywhere for daily use. You don’t have to search for it or fear of often being in the wrong gear. It’s proof that it’s possible to have such characteristics and an 8,000 redline from an NA motor. With all that said, the Z4M is not perfect. The point is not to go backwards but realistically forward. For that to happen, Honda would have to retain certain things. For one, the preciseness of the gearbox would have to stay. The Z4M’s shift action is far from the worse I’ve driven, however, it is no S2000. The fuel efficiency would have to stay in place. You have class benchmarks like the Porsche Boxter S being rated at 20city/26hwy while being every bit as fast as the Z4M. Fuel efficiency will always be a big part of Honda’s image. It shouldn’t change with their sole sports car either. The 16/city 24/hwy Bimmer was rated at simply would not cut it.
Lastly, I would have no choice to play the reliability and cost to own card. It wouldn’t even be fair to compare them. In the end, if Honda was to apply such changes to an already fantastic car while retaining its special virtues they would send a message: We have an identity crisis! But seriously, it would have been the best possible send off at a reasonable price. Once again, it would have threatened cars costing almost twice as much. For now we look to the Victor Frankenstein’s of our great community.
NOTE: S2KI welcomes the opinions of its members on the S2000 and on all topics related to the S. Should you feel the creative urge to pen a few words then by all means do so and PM Energetic, Aashish2 or Onehots2k OR send us links to what you would like us to write about and we will feature you (or your community) on the S2KI Home Page.