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Why the Honda S2000 Is Still One of the Best Driver's Cars of All Time

Author: Sterling Feathers

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Sterling Feathers

Sterling was born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and has had a massive passion for cars since he could talk. He studied Business Administration at Ferris State University hoping to run his own car dealership one day. As time went on, Sterling began writing car reviews on his own website until he found his home with us as our first Copywriter! He loves everything about the car culture and was Vice President of the motorsports club during his time at Ferris. Sterling enjoys going to every car show and meet possible, attending autocross events, and going for long road cruises with other members in the car scene. He currently drives a 2016 Volkswagen GTI with a stage 2 tune, downpipe, BC Racing coilovers, and a set of Artisa ArtFormed Elders.

November 29, 2021

 

The late 90s and early 2000s were iconic eras for the car scene and remain a popular era of cars to pick up today.

This is when we saw the creation of some of our favorite enthusiast cars, like the Nissan 350Z, the 2G Eclipse, the Supra, the RX-7, and the NA Miata. These cars are a huge part of the enthusiast community, from the car show scene and the track enthusiasts to your fun daily driving crew. 

One of the most iconic cars to come out of this era of sports cars is non-other than the Honda S2000

 

A super clean white Honda S2000 with Enkei Rpf1 17x8.5 +45 wrapped in Achilles Atr Sport 2 245/45 and Megan Racing Coilovers

 @lifeofjoju's 2000 Honda S2000 Base | Enkei Rpf1 17x8.5 +45 | Achilles Atr Sport 2 245/45 | Megan Racing Coilovers

To dive deeper into what makes the S2000 so special, the Fitment Industries team and I headed to ASMotorsports in Plover, WI, to hang out with 2-time SCCA autocross National Champion and holder of multiple Gridlife Time Attack and GLTC lap records, Andy Smedegard.

Andy knows this platform like the back of his hand and provided some valuable insight into this legendary platform. After all, it's become the platform of choice for his race team at GRIDLIFE Touring Cars and Track Battle events. 

Andy also dialed in the suspension on our giveaway S2000, so it's ready for some fun autocross days once it's met with the giveaway winner. 

 

CHECK OUT ASMotorsports!

 

Quick Links:

- But First, We're Giving Away an S2K + $10K CASH {FI Giveaway Details}

- History of the Honda S2000

- Special Editions of the Honda S2000

- Honda S2000 Breakdown

- The Verdict: Why is Honda S2000 still one of the best drivers cars ever made?

 

The ASM's S2000 racecar team at GRIDLIFE GLTC event

Photo from ASMotorsports

 

 

But First, We're Giving Away an S2K + $10,000 CASH {FI Giveaway Details}

Before we get into the details of why the Honda S2000 is one of the best driver’s cars of all time, we're giving one away! But not just any S2000.

We're giving away a highly modified Honda S2000 with the works—wheels, tires, suspension, and more. Check out the full build specs below! 

 

ENTER OUR GIVEAWAY FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A HONDA S2000!

 

Fitment Industries' highly modified Honda S2000 made possible with tons of sponsors!

2003 Honda S2000 Giveaway car

Check out the full build specs below! 

Full Mod List: + Sponsors! 

- Rotiform Custom Monoblock Wheels

- BC Racing BR Series Coilovers

- Continental ExtremeContact Sport tires

- Muteki Lug Nuts

- Skunk2 Exhaust from MAPerformance

- AFE Intake 

- Seibon Front Lip

- Seibon Carbon Fiber Hood

- APR GT Mirrors

- APR Carbon Fiber Spoiler

- Supercup Race Seats

- Momo Mod .08 Steering Wheel

- Momo 6-Point Camlock Harness

- Momo Steering Wheel Hub Adapter

- NRG Thin quick release

- Custom Fitment Industries Livery Wrap

- Corner balance and aggressive alignment by ASMotorsports

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR GIVEAWAY CHARITY AND SPONSORS

 

Fitment Industries' highly modified Honda S2000 made possible with tons of sponsors!

2003 Honda S2000 Giveaway car

The best part of all this (besides the car, duh)? We've partnered with Reach Out Worldwide, a nonprofit organization founded by Paul Walker with a mission to rescue and treat victims of natural disasters, to donate a portion of the proceeds from this giveaway.

Even if you don't win the car (we hope you do), the donations from this giveaway will make a huge difference for ROWW's relief efforts.

All of their workers are volunteers who donate their own time and money to help those in desperate need. That's something we can all stand behind and support. 

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT REACH OUT WORLDWIDE

 

Our highly modified Honda S2000 at Road America drifting on the autocross track!2003 Honda S2000 Giveaway car

 

 

 

History of the Honda S2000

Now back to the Honda S2000—Let's start from the very beginning.

Before the S2000 came to be, Honda tested the waters with their original S-line of cars, including the S360 and the S500, both released at the National Honda Meeting General Assembly in the early 1960s. The S360 was never put into production, but the S500 triumphantly made it through and was very successful in the global market.

 

CHECK OUT THE HONDA S2000 GALLERY

 

@Ceramicprosarasota's 2000 Honda S2000 Base | Volk CS28SL 17x9 +63 | Toyo Tires Proxes R888R 235/40 | BC Racing Coilovers

Though the original S-series cars were released 40 years before the Honda S2000, these compact sports cars set a new direction for Honda's future cars—fun to drive, sporty, and overall, enthusiast-driven cars. 

In 1999 and 2000, the world finally witnessed the release of the Honda S2000, which became an instant success. 

Praised by gearheads and average daily drivers alike, the S2000 hit the spot no matter where your interests lied in the automotive world with its broad powerband, manual transmission, and responsive handling capabilities. 

 

A super clean while modified 2000 Honda S2000 Base Enkei Rpf1 17x8.5 +45 wrapped in Achilles Atr Sport 2 245/45 with Megan Racing Coilovers

 @lifeofjoju's 2000 Honda S2000 Base | Enkei Rpf1 17x8.5 +45 | Achilles Atr Sport 2 245/45 | Megan Racing Coilovers

The Honda S2000 lived out its production until 2009 when Honda decided to be...well, boring. This is the era where minivans and overweight SUVs invaded the market and stole everything that was good from enthusiasts. Yes, they still had the Civic SI, but nothing as exciting as the S2000. 

Fast forward to today, the Honda S2000 is STILL praised by enthusiasts for its extraordinary handling, perfect weight distribution, rewarding powerband, and its appealing looks—hence why we thought it was only right to find one in good shape to giveaway (with a few extra goodies, of course). 

 

A rear shot of a white Honda S2000 running Enkei Rpf1 17x8.5 +45 with Achilles Atr Sport 2 245/45 tires and Megan Racing Coilovers

 @lifeofjoju's 2000 Honda S2000 Base | Enkei Rpf1 17x8.5 +45 | Achilles Atr Sport 2 245/45 | Megan Racing Coilovers

 

 

 

Special Editions of the Honda S2000

Before Honda pulled the plug on the S2000, they released a few special edition models as an attempt to ease the pain of enthusiasts around the world. 

 

READ: HONDA S2000 WHEEL FITMENT GUIDE

 

 

Honda S2000 CR

The Honda S2000 CR was the most dedicated enthusiast version of the platform, with wider tires with wider, special edition CR wheels, an even more responsive suspension setup with a track-oriented exhaust system, the lightest curb weight of any S2000, and front and rear spoilers. 

And believe it or not, the S2000 CR was reserved only for the U.S. market. That's right, the U.S. market was given the even cooler, more refined version of the car instead of Japan, for once. 

This special edition of the S2000 is the most sought-after due to its track-oriented handling and badass looks. These features also make it the most valuable S2000 you can buy right now (2021), with well-preserved examples selling for over $100,000! 

 

Photo from Bring a Trailer

Honda S2000 GT Edition 100 (UK market only)

Similarly, our friends across the pond felt the love from Honda with their own special edition model, named the GT Edition 100—and as you can guess, they only made 100 of these cars. The GT Edition 100 was equipped with more cosmetic styling features, like the Grand Prix White paint option, a removable hardtop, red leather interior, an aluminum ball shifter, and some graphite-colored wheels. 

In the rest of Europe, this model was named the S2000 Ultimate Edition and came with the same features.

 

A Honda S2000 GT Edition 100 in the grand prix white for the UK market only

Photo from S2KI

 

Honda S2000 Type S 

Of course, it wouldn't be right if Japan didn't get an even cooler version of the S2000, so Honda released the Type S special edition model during the last two years of production. 

The Type S shared many of the same characteristics as the hot CR that we luckily got in America with only a few minor differences. The Type S retained the stock tire size, 245/40, to handle the Type S-specific suspension system Honda went with. 

Outside of those smaller details, the Type S was nearly identical to the CR but had less emphasis on track-oriented driving and more of the comfortable driving experience in mind. 

 

The Honda S2000 Type S in a baby blue color on the track

Photo from The Driving Enthusiast

 

 

 

Honda S2000 Breakdown

The Honda S2000 looks as good as it drives, and it's what's under the hood and the chassis it sits on that makes this car special. 

The Legendary F20C and F22C Engines

The AP1 Honda S2000 is powered by a  2.0L 4-cylinder DOHC-VTEC engine, codenamed the F20C engine. This insanely responsive engine pumped out an impressive 240 ponies with its famous 9,000 redline. 

In 2004, the S2000 received a facelift and was dubbed the AP2. The updated model featured a slightly larger, reworked 2.2L F22C engine that produced more torque but had a lower redline at 8,200 RPMs.

 

READ: HONDA S2000 WHEEL FITMENT GUIDE

 

A super clean build of a Honda S2000 with Volk CE28N  wheels Front: 17x7.5 +50 Rear: 17x9 +63 wrapped in some Firestone Indy 500 Front: 225/45 Rear: 255/40 and Swift Spec-R Lowering Springs

 @Delsolobsessed's 2000 Honda S2000 Base | Volk Ce28n Front: 17x7.5 +50 Rear: 17x9 +63 | Firestone Indy 500 Front: 225/45 Rear: 255/40 | Swift Spec-R Lowering Springs

Honda’s F-series engines were specifically designed to produce impressive power figures while still retaining the responsiveness of a naturally aspirated engine.

In fact, Honda was so successful in achieving this goal that the S2000’s F20C set a new record for the highest horsepower per liter of any naturally aspirated production engine at the time. This record would stand until 2009 when Ferrari took the title with the V8 powering their new 458—which should put things into perspective. 

 

The rear of a Honda S2000 running Volk wheels and lowering springs

 @Delsolobsessed's 2000 Honda S2000 Base | Volk Ce28n Front: 17x7.5 +50 Rear: 17x9 +63 | Firestone Indy 500 Front: 225/45 Rear: 255/40 | Swift Spec-R Lowering Springs

The impressive engineering behind this engine makes for an especially thrilling driving experience when the car is driven at its limits. The broad powerband makes the car feel alive at any RPM while its superb top-end rewards drivers who spin the engine all the way to its screaming 9000 RPM limit. 

 

A super clean example of a Honda S2000 with tasteful mods like wheels, tires, and suspension

 @Delsolobsessed's 2000 Honda S2000 Base | Volk Ce28n Front: 17x7.5 +50 Rear: 17x9 +63 | Firestone Indy 500 Front: 225/45 Rear: 255/40 | Swift Spec-R Lowering Springs

Rigid and Lightweight X-Bone Chassis

While having the right engine is certainly a credential for the ultimate driver’s car, power is nothing without the support of a solid chassis. Fortunately, Honda made sure that the S2000 delivered in the handling department too. 

The Honda S2000 was built with an “X-bone” chassis giving it the structural integrity to handle the impressive cornering speeds of the car and to give the car a perfect 50/50 weight distribution. Honda achieved this perfect weight distribution by having the engine and transmission sit as close to the center of the chassis as possible, with the front of the engine residing right behind the front suspension. 

 

Photo from Unique Cars and Parts

Speaking of suspension, Honda also reworked the traditional double-wishbone suspension to give the S2000 its low hoodline and, ultimately, a wider stance. This wide stance further contributes to an excellent handling car. 

Back to the chassis, Honda used what they refer to as a "monocoque body" using a centralized backbone frame to provide more stiffness to the chassis. This backbone ran through the center of the car using large side sills to add additional support. 

Every single detail of this car was purposefully made to keep the car planted in and through the corners, creating an unmatched driving experience for its class. 

 

Photo from The Driving Enthusiast

 

 

 

The Verdict: Why is Honda S2000 still one of the best driver's cars ever made?

A true driver’s car is one that goes beyond the basic power and handling credentials for having a good time. While the S2000 does exceptionally well in both categories, its looks, feel, and sounds create a comprehensive motoring experience designed to excite the senses.

 

 @Delsolobsessed's 2000 Honda S2000 Base | Volk Ce28n Front: 17x7.5 +50 Rear: 17x9 +63 | Firestone Indy 500 Front: 225/45 Rear: 255/40 | Swift Spec-R Lowering Springs

The S2000’s ability to simultaneously deliver a raw yet refined experience solidifies its place as one of the best driver’s cars of all time. 

 

"SuperK" - Photo from ASMotorsports

Andy over at ASMotorsports contends that a clean Honda S2000 is still a great value even at today's inflated prices and is an outstanding platform for driving enthusiasts. 

The FI team shares that same belief, which is why we're excited to be giving away one of these badass cars to one lucky enthusiast. 

 

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