About the S2000:

  • "I will boldly defy any genuine sports-car aficionado--particularly one with road racing experience--not to fall head-over-heels in forbidden, Lolita-lust love with this champing, snorting filly of a classic roadster" - car magazine review
  • "Faster, faster! Until the thrill of speed overcomes the thrill of death!" - H.S. Thompson
  • "Do it at 4965 fpm!"
  • "Drive it like you stole it"- Car & Driver S2000 Road Test
  • "Life is measured by the number of times your soul is deeply stirred" - Soichiro Honda
  • "SHIFT_9000" - take-off on Nissan ad campaign
  • "l've got you under my skin

    l've got you deep in the heart of me

    So deep in my heart that you're really a part of me

    l've got you under my skin"    - Frank Sinatra

     

 

We first became interested in the S2000 when AutoWeek started publishing spy shots of it in ~1998. These were taken at test sessions in Germany at the Nurburgring. Rear taillights and the general size of the car were clear (the front wasn't seen), as was the dual exhaust. It was clearly a rear-wheel drive sportscar. One particular image showed a large stack of mufflers, which were different designs being evaluated on the track. It was clear something special and unique was up. Later, at our yearly pilgrimage to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we attended it's North American introduction and spent hours crawling all over the two cars that were shown (one elevated, so that the underside could be seen). We didn't buy one immediately when it came onto the market, instead we managed to find one for rent and spent a couple of days driving it around back roads in Nevada. It was clear that this type of sportscar with very crisp and dynamic reactions would be a great car for us. Shortly thereafter, we had our own (model year 2000). The drive home from the dealer of our new S2000 lasted until midnight and covered hundreds of miles of roads in Central Texas.

Our original reaction to the S2000 when it was introduced at NAIAS remains the same: We're completely stunned by the car. It's a great drive, it's a modern masterpiece by Honda, and it looks even more perfectly proportioned in person than it does in the photos. The handling is great, the engine is incredible and it's great fun to take it thru the entire 9000 RPM rev range. This is one of the greatest true sportscars* of our time.

The test of a true sportscar is in the driving. We drove our own 2000 Silverstone S2000 in track events without modification other than braided brake lines, brake pads, and alignment. It didn't need anything else. It never let me down, it never failed to handle the Texas heat, and the only limiting factor in the car was the remaining life in the S-02s and our own skill as a driver.

* Definition of the term "sportscar"
  • Sportscars are for the purist: it's all about the driving and handling experience. Any comfort or convenience that would draw attention away from the road is strictly secondary.
  • Lightweight, with a perfect or very near-perfect weight balance.
    • The S2000 has near 50-50 fr/rr and side-to-side.
  • Rear wheel drive. Front and AWD not allowed. Econobox drivetrains moved to the back are not allowed.
    • The S2K is a purest sportscar with rear wheel drive.
  • Dedicated purpose-built chassis: not taken from a sedan platform.
    • The S2000 has a dedicated chassis not sharing design with any other vehicle.
  • 2 seats: not designed to carry more than 1 passenger.
    • The S2000 is a true 2-seater. There is no possible provision for rear seats.
  • Inexpensive - sportscars cost more than a sedan, but not in the realm of exotica. The Ferrari Enzo is the pinnacle of it's market spaces, but a true sportscar is and has to be in reach of more people.
    • The S2000 costs about $33,000.
  • Form follows function.
    • The S2000 styling makes a statement about the modern technology underneath the body and inside the engine compartment. It's purpose beyond that is simply to contain those items. There are no styling cues for looks: no fake hood scoops or other poseur statements.
  • Luxury takes away from the driving experience.
    • The purpose of the S2000 is to drive - not to be coddled. The seats are very supportive - and unlike some other brands, the US model doesn't get "American-ized" (wider) seats. All of the controls are centralized around the steering wheel and can be adjusted while keeping hands on or very close to the wheel. The radio is covered when not needed. The purpose of the console is to support the arm which in turn supports proper shifting (and the S2000 has the best shifter in the world).
  • Ready to go right out of the box.
    • The S2000 was literally ready to go onto the track right out of the box. I added the minimum required modifications (for safety purposes) that any track car should have: braided stainless brake lines, track-specific pads, and a very mild alignment (to protect the tires). There are very few sportscars you can say this about. There are almost no other cars other than exotics that you can say this about. Aftermarket performance parts should be added as enhancements and not as requirements to make up for faulty design.