Birthed into the world in 1999 (for the 2000 model year), the Honda S2000 was everything you could want in a sports car. It made the right noises, went like the clappers, drove like an extension of your body, and revved to a searing 9,000 rpm. But by 2009 it had become fairly long-in-the-tooth, and it was killed off, never to return again. Until now?
Rumors of the S2000’s return have swirled ever since it left, yielding no successors as of yet, but now Car and Driver says one’s on the way, and their source makes a compelling case.
According to C/D, a new Honda S2000 is expected to arrive in 2018, and curiously just in time to celebrate the Japanese automaker’s 70th anniversary. With a wink and a nudge, the original S2000 was put on sale in celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary.
“Expect something special,” says the insider. “Size-wise, it’ll be similar to the Mazda MX-5 Miata, but the Honda will have a lot more power.”
Previous reports over the past few years had first speculated Honda was preparing a mid-engine sports car, seated below the all-new Acura NSX in performance and price, yet still utilizing a related chassis architecture to keep costs low. That notion was eventually discounted, though it was followed by the claim that the Japanese-market Honda S660 roadster—a small kei car—would instead be brought to US shores. That too turned out to be a no-go.
Instead, the source claims this new Honda S2000 will be a clean-sheet build, using its own rear-wheel drive platform and a detuned 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine nicked from the upcoming turbocharged Honda Civic Type-R. A curb weight of just under 2,900 pounds is claimed.
Of interesting note, Honda doesn’t currently build any longitudinal front-engine, rear-wheel drive cars, nor does it appear to have such a platform readily available, but the insider points to both the S660 and NSX supercar and claims this to be a non-issue. “Both those coupes have unique, dedicated platforms right?” Hmmmm.
As far as styling goes, Acura’s recent Precision coupe concept, revealed at the 2016 Detroit auto show, provides a likely jumping-off point for future Honda S2000 designs, albeit with the aggressive styling turned back a few notches. The concept (pictured above) features a powerful, elongated sports car shape, though in S2000 trim it would likely feature a droppable top.
And if these claims ring true, the car is said to be built in the USA alongside its NSX supercar sibling at Honda’s performance center in Ohio. “A large complement of R&D staff from Japan are already in Ohio working on the car,” the source tells C/D. “They have more time now that the NSX is finished.”
Of course, none of this is official, but if a new S2000 were to arrive… 2018 would sure seem to be the right time. Cross your fingers.