RWD S2000 vs FWD S2000 – Could you tell? – Onehots2k opinion and then some…
Let’s say Honda made the mistake of selling a few thousand FWD S2000’s. In your daily driving would you be able to tell? Yes, I know the chances of it happening would be near impossible for a multitude of reasons. I’d still like for you to indulge me.
There is no doubt in my mind our auto-crossers would figure it out in a heartbeat. There are two things that would tip me off from the driver’s seat. First one would be torque-steer. The closest FWD car I’ve driven with similar engine characteristics would be the Honda Si. I did not encounter torque steer. That means it could possibly be absent in an S2000 with a FWD set-up. The second one would be weight distribution. Most FWD cars have around 60% or higher proportion of its weight up front. It makes sense. It often provides a similar sense of pushing an empty shopping cart around with a case a soda or whatever your brew of choice is at the front. Honda could possibly mask that with suspension trickery. From my experience, it’s nearly as noticeable when the vehicle has a shorter wheelbase. Not all FWD cars are created equal in that sense of why most of us prefer not to drive them. With all that said, I believe the vast majority of us would be able to tell. If not, you’re not driving you car hard enough. This could explain why I’m always looking for tires. At least that’s what I’m told. So, the question remains: Could you tell?
And now, the “then some” referred in the title above:
The question of how much a FWD car differs from a RWD car surely is on the mind of several car afficionados. Sure, there are magazine article & blog posts that detail the difference, but the real difference rang true to me after driving the S2000. Sure I’d driven other RWD cars in the past, but the difference was not as obvious or perhaps I was not pushing hard enough. Coming around an uphill corner going over a bridge, I stepped on the gas to pass another vehicle and the S2000 (true to its nature) slid its rear out and had me doing a quick correction. What never happened to me in the Civic Si had happened and brought home the fundamental difference between FWD & RWD. A proper RWD car will give you prompt feedback (not speaking of the RWD pretenders that have understeer dialled in) and will oversteer on demand. Honda has built a very neutral handling car in the Si equipped as it is with a limited slip differential, front and rear sway bars that keep the car very well balanced and ensure traction during cornering. Have they built a fun to drive FWD car? you bet. Does it force me to be alert at all times – not really, as it is forgiving unlike the S. That unforgiving nature (you overstep and I’ll bite you back attitude) in my opinion is what will enable you to tell the difference. As Onehots2k asked – Have you been able to tell yet?
Images courtesy of Slowd16 & A2.
NOTE: S2KI welcomes the opinions of its members on the S2000 and on all topics related to the S2000. 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.