Originally Posted by SGladwell
Huh? A car designed to burn off huge chunks of clutch just because someone dares to try to pull away from a stoplight on a hill is hardly "perfectly balanced". Because it's such a damn pig - 2800lbs, almost as much as GM's Solstice! - the S2000 just plain needed more low-end torque then its original engine was tuned to give.
The S2000 is the wrong car for stoplight drag-racing if that's your thing. I'm on my second one (2000 lease, then a 2004 I bought) and have tried both engines. I have enjoyed both. The original hit the 120hp/L with a redline just short of 9,000rpm. Power was there but you had to be in VTEC (6000rpm) to feel it, and the high engine revs at highway speeds in 6th made the car drone a bit. The '04 model's 2.2L engine has noticably more torque so that you feel "good" passing power around 4K rpm, however the redline is nearly 1,000rpm lower so the rush doesn't last *quite* as long. Mine's a daily driver (65K miles already on the '04) so the extra torque for day-to-day use is welcomed.
I agree that the S2000 is a somewhat heavy car. I think it's a stretch to compare it to the GM cars - those are a lot heavier with weaker bodies and a lot less power. And compared to most other contemporary roadsters (SLK, 350Z cabrio, crossfire cabrio, Z4, etc.) it's actually very light. The Boxster is much more competitive (similar weight, more stuff) but costs $20K more. It's the Miata that makes the S2000 look like a "pig" - the Miata really is something special, considering what you get (driving experience) for the price. However, having come from a Miata before the S2K, I can say that the S2000 feels like a much bigger car. I barely fit in the Miata, but I do have a little wiggle room in the S2000.
Sorry to chime in on a dead post but I do think the S2000 is a fantastic car and it's a real surprise to me that nobody's buying it anymore. It's the same thing that happened to its immediate predecessor in Honda's "sporty car" lineup, the Honda Prelude; the 5th gen Prelude was arguably the best-handling FWD vehicle ever made, the only one I could actually *throttle oversteer* around a bend. It was built as good as any Lexus, had plenty of power, and was filled with real sports car DNA, but nobody bought it. The S2000, amidst Xfires and Zs and Z4s alike, is suffering a similar fate. If you want the motorbike-on-4-wheels effect better act fast, '07 is slated to be the last year for the S2000. '06 models can be had for not much more than invoice.