On the last day with the S2000 I decided to shed my critical gloves and put on a pair of rose colored ones. It seems I've been looking down on this car, so this morning I left for work early, took a longer, more open route and threw out the journalist conventions for the enthusiast attitude I've been told I lack.

The S2000 is much better this way.

Flying down empty Chicago streets is a high velocity thrill and the ones I chose were generally free of pot holes, bumps etc. With the stereo playing and the wind rushing by it was fun. I didn?t even notice any back problems getting out when I hit the parking lot. Another thing dawned on me. I have finally gotten adjusted to the transmission. It?s not an easy one or as silky as others but it isn?t an unmanageable mess like the GTO?s either. The clutch still needs some extra pressure but it seems I?ve grown a tolerance to that too after a full week of driving.

Cornering and handling as I?ve said all along are where the car shines. I?m still getting that drift in the back but it?s very manageable. Even high revs were enjoyable but I haven?t gotten used to the engine note. It just doesn?t seem right in the same way the RX-8?s rotary whir doesn?t sound right. But the acceleration is top notch regardless.

Also as seen in this head-on shot, the S2000 is the best looking car Honda has ever made and I?m including the Acura NSX in that group. I?m not a fan of the yellow and would probably prefer black, but even this hue offers something for the racer wannabes out there. The menacing front grill has even been copied in many an aftermarket body kit. Some people don?t like the interior because it?s so sparse but I find the high quality materials and leather seats very stylish. I even found myself getting used to the digital gauges since they for the most part resemble analog shapes. And actually with direct sunlight on them they?re more visible than many recessed analog gauges.

The stereo, sans the controls and location, is fantastic. I don?t understand how four speakers can produce such terrific sound while other cars with six or more can?t come close. I generally test Radiohead in every car and the S2000 isn?t at the top where the luxury cars go with surround sound etc., but for the money it?s probably as good as it gets.

And that?s the final note. For $32,000 there aren?t a lot of performance cars out there that you?ll find, let alone roadsters, that offer so much for the money (I?m still waiting to test a Lotus Elise). There are more trade-offs in this vehicle and I think many buyers would choose creature comforts and more room found in other vehicles in the price range. But for those in sunny locales or with wide-open roads the S2000 could (and obviously does after the last batch of feedback) sway opinion.


***I?ve sent a note to Honda about the spacer issue and will report back with an answer.


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