A Reborn Honda S2000 May Shatter Our Miata Fixation

A ragtop Civic R or a miniature NSX? Either way, want.

byMichael Frank| PUBLISHED Dec 7, 2015 5:59 PM
A Reborn Honda S2000 May Shatter Our Miata Fixation

There may not be a redux’d Honda S2000 in the works after all. The U.K.’s Autocar is reporting that Honda officials met with an enthusiast club in the UK to see what they’d want in a reborn S2000, and the meeting apparently went well.

The S2000 ended U.S. sales in 2008, and driving enthusiasts have all mourned the loss since. If you never drove one, find a seller and maybe just pretend to be in the market so you can have a test drive.

The S2000 exhibited precisely what any sports car fan wants: excellent power-to-weight ratio, a superb, six-speed manual gearbox—one of the best ever produced by Honda—a Hayabusa-like redline and spirited handling that wasn’t so punishing that it would ruin your dinner-and-movie date night. Add in cheap maintenance (save of course for excessive rear tire wear) and easy tunability, and you had a winning formula.

Honda Motor CEO Takahiro Hachigo was quoted by Autocar as saying he wants Honda to be more competitive in each of its global markets. In the past, Honda and its luxury arm, Acura, have had a bad habit of force-feeding the U.S. from Japan-born ideas, which is how we go from amazing cars like the Integra to an Acura brand struggling to compete in any single segment. And while Honda still crushes with the Civic and Accord, it’s facing increasing pressure from the Subarus and Mazdas of the world.

Both brands have harnessed partnerships to amortize the costs of sports car development (Toyota + Subaru = FR-S/BRZ; Mazda + Fiat = Miata/124). Even Toyota and BMW are working on a sports car platform.

And Honda may need that help. The company lacks its own rear-wheel-drive platform, but more than that, beyond having the engineering and R&D talent to nail this, Honda could really use a partnership to spur creativity.

For Mazda, it’s clearly in the DNA. But is it still there for Honda? That’s very much TBD.

The next S2000? Rumorville is ripe with speculation. Will it get the engine from the front-wheel-drive Civic Type R, all 306 horsepower of forced-induction madness arriving at 6,500 rpm? That would be tame in one sense, since the last S2000 we saw produced max power at 7,800rpm.

We’d call that logical, since the supposed premise of Honda’s mulling process is to make a slightly more upscale Miata fighter.