AP1 S2000 Tangles with E36 BMW M3 at Laguna Seca
A turn of the century matchup at an iconic track — what could be better?
We love the Honda S2000 for a lot of reasons. Its has a high-revving, eager four-cylinder, the F20/22C. It has balanced, yet supremely agile (and sometimes challenging) handling characteristics. It also has supermodel good looks combined with Honda reliability. One thing we don’t universally love, though, is its power.
It’s true that the power output from its normally aspirated F20 is impressive at around 120 horsepower-per-liter. Especially now, in an era where turbochargers rule the day due to concerns about fuel economy and packaging. However, its overall power output was merely adequate at just under 240 horsepower.
If it was adequate at the turn of the century, it may seem a little underwhelming in an era where most family cars have at least 300 horsepower, and performance cars have 400 or more. Oh course, power isn’t everything, but sometimes you just want more.
In this YouTube video by Zygrene, he drives his AP1 S2000 at Laguna Seca and is routinely passed in dramatic fashion by more modern machinery.
A Corvette Z06, Dodge Viper, a handful of Porsches, and even a McLaren have their way with the S2000 and pass by it like bored singles swiping left through Tinder profiles. However, it doesn’t take long for the yellow AP1 to find its match for the day: a BMW E36 M3.
ALSO SEE: This S2000 is Patiently Waiting for Its 2JZ Swap
A somewhat contemporary rival to the S2000 in a few ways, the E36 M3 ended production just as the S2000 was released. Like the S2000, it was routinely praised for its agile handling, and just as often maligned for its less-than-impressive power output when compared to its home-market counterpart.
Both cars are piloted by skilled drivers, and the battle is intense, with both making occasional mistakes likely due to nerves, anxiety, and adrenaline. Still, the S2000 stays right with the E36 M3 until the driver decides to back off, noting that his driving was getting worse, not better.
Still, it was an impressive battle to watch, and the S2000 still took home a consolation prize when it passed a Mustang. No matter how overpowered the competition may be, the Honda S2000 is a great platform that deserves respect to this day.