• Oct 13, 2008
Honda's S2000 may not be the newest thing on the market, but that doesn't mean it'll be easy to improve upon. The balance is sublime, the driving environment is nearly perfect, and it really comes alive after 6,000 rpm. Fashion probably drives the automotive landscape more than technical superiority, so Honda's been working on a replacement for its S2000. While the Open Study Model that broke cover in London is officially a design study, conjecture holds that it may portend the direction of Honda design language, even though Honda insists that the OSM is not the successor to the S2000.
Road and Track has whipped up a rendering that doesn't look any better than the current S2000's purity of line, but seems a credible stab at how an S3000 may appear. There's a bit too much Acura TL in the lines for our tastes, and the thought of a V6 from the same car thrumming under the coupe's hood doesn't set our enthusiast hearts a-beating. Much of the fun in an S2000 is keeping the high-output four cylinder on boil. A wealth of low-end torque would drastically change the car's character, likely not for the better. Since it's all conjecture anyway, we'll also throw out the chatter about possible hybrid powertrain for this model, too. While reality will answer all of this speculation eventually, we're just going to have to spend the ensuing days getting as much seat time as we can in the S2000.

[Source: Road and Track]


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  • 15 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      First off, the picture isn't a coupe and the S2000 is not a coupe, so why does the text refer to it as a coupe?

      Secondly, the picture looks pretty darn good.

      Thirdly, why would a V6 be such a bad thing? A modest displacement V6, or even a better balanced inline 6, would have less piston weight per cylinder and a more rapid firing order than a big-ish inline 4. Although I have no problems with big 4s, especially when they are turbocharged.

      a 3 liter V6 or I6 (adding two cylinders to an S2000 mill would make a 3 to 3.3 liter inline 6). With Vtec, light forged pistons, and a well balanced rotating assembly, it could be a real rev-machine, AND have livable driving characteristics below the cam timing change-over.

      BMW's E46 M3 had a 3.2 liter that made 100hp per liter, and was a nice engine. I would think Honda could do something similar, and with new processes, perhaps make it even more eager to rev by being lighter, as well as driveable due to displacement increase. Inline or V-configuration.

      300+ naturally aspirated horsepower, in a new honda RWD chassis at ~2800-3000lbs max, it could be a real contender against 6-cylinders like 370z, Cayman/Boxster, and Z4, rather than just splitting the difference between those cars and the 4-cylinder Miata/Solstice/Sky/MR-Spyder, as the S2000 did. It was kind of in no-mans-land between the two groups.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "300+ naturally aspirated horsepower, in a new honda RWD chassis at ~2800-3000lbs max, it could be a real contender against 6-cylinders like 370z, Cayman/Boxster, and Z4, rather than just splitting the difference between those cars and the 4-cylinder Miata/Solstice/Sky/MR-Spyder, as the S2000 did. It was kind of in no-mans-land between the two groups."

        Keep in mind, the S2000 competed more directly with the Z4 and Boxster early on its life cycle. The 350Z, Cayman, Solstice and Sky wouldn't become available for at least another 3-4 years and the MR-Spyder and Miata didn't offer the kind of power the S2000 had.

        The Miata and S2000 were the closest in terms of roadster "purity". Not a ton of horsepower nor a lot in the way of creature comforts, but times have definitely changed. This makes both Miata and S2000 seem a bit "old school" and the S2000 "in between" competitors.

        What that car doesn't need however, is a V6 nor a turbocharger. There's a lot of history with "S" cars. There's no reason that history shouldn't continue on, but Honda doesn't offer anything more mainstream and that's an issue where sales are concerned. I see no reason why there can't be two different experiences, much like the Boxster/Cayman relationship (Cayman is essentially a Boxster coupe, for those that are wondering what I'm talking about).
        • 6 Years Ago
        As an S2000 owner, I have to reluctantly agree with you. I love the F20c engine, but the benchmark for acceleration changed since the s2000 was introduced. It's a real shame that an accord can now out accelerate the S in a straight line. Maybe taking the M3 route makes sense.

        As much as it pains me to say this - Drop an I-6 with the same redline and HP/L and call it an s3000. It would appeal to a broader audience, allowing for more aftermarket choices. It would then avoid the fate of the NSX, where the world's perception of performance numbers changed, but the car stated the same.

        I think as long as it still has a stratospheric redline, similar hp/L characteristics to an M3 and GT3, and is lightweight, it will be the spiritual successor to the s2000.

        Plus, it's just sad that a turbo cobalt can now beat the s2000.
      • 6 Years Ago
      the article says that it has acura tl lines in it, i agree with that but does anyone else see a little bit of that toyota supra concept they had out last year in the nose of this car ?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Now THAT I wouldn't mind.
      • 6 Years Ago
      As an owner of a '06 S2000, I think there are many ways to improve on the car w/out going the V6 route and keeping the new car an improved evolution of the original.

      1) More ALUMINIUM. Boot lid, doors, front and rear fenders. Wherever possible.
      2) Increase it to a 2.4L and bring back the 9,000rpm redline of the F20. I'm sure it's technically possible ! Should bring hp up to 270-280.
      3) Employ Direct Fuel Injection
      4) Add a 7th gear !!! Please !! No fun cruising at 75mph with 4,000rpm on the counter.
      5) Transmission in rear would be nice.
      6) Add multiple VSC settings.
      7) Provide a coupe version
      8) Improve rotors/brake pads.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A bigger 4-cylinder is not going to get a higher redline. the bigger the pistons, the more they weigh, it is harder to dissipate that inertia at the bottom and top of each stroke.

        Actually a small-ish 6 cylinder can sometimes rev a bit easier than a large 4. 6 lighter pistons, in a 120 degree arrangment, 4 are always moving, if two of them are at the top or bottom of their travel. That preservation of momentum can sometimes allow the engine to spin better. An inline 6 being even more balanced than an offset V6.

        The F20c engine could be expanded to an 'F30c' 3.0 liter inline 6, and while not being quite as light, it might be smoother revving than a 2.4 or larger inline 4. The Porsche 944/S2/968 cars went from 2.5 to 3.0 inline 4 engines, and the engines got more poweful, but mostly by getting more torque, not a lot more horsepower, or easy rev characteristics. They added a turbo the engine to really make it perform.

        Without turbos, and keeping a rev-happy nature, a small inline 6 would be preferable to a relatively big inline 4.

        I am not saying that the car needs to get heavier, and more luxurious like an E46 M3 did over the E36 M3 as a car... I was only likening efficient and powerful inline 6 engines, and the S52 (I think that is the engine code...) Inline 6 engine being a nice one.

        I would think that the body and chassis of the new car would be a nice update of the S2000, more features, plus newer processes and materials, so a net weight difference near zero, with a rev-able inline 6, and I like the idea of the rear-mounted transaxle, Corvette or front-engined-Porsche style, with SH-AWD-style differential torque vectoring... (SH-RWD?)

        The S2000 is bit on the expensive side to be really compared to the Miata and Sol/Sky. But the powerplant might be rev-happy, but it isn't as "tractable" as the Z4 6-cylinder, SLK 6-cylinder, or Boxster. A well done small 6-cylinder engine could rectify that, and still provide high specific output (hp/liter) and better power to weight (hp per lb. of chassis weight) and an all around better driver's car, if it is done right.

        E-type, Triumph GT6, MGC, and other old sports cars used to have inline 6 engines, too. They weren't all I4s, and they were a lot lighter and a lot less rigid than new cars. a new car is tighter, and can handle the power, and they weigh more, so they could actually benefit from that additional power. We aren't talking about a 6-liter V8, after all. That has big pistons, ...kinda like a ~3-liter I4.

        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree with most of your suggestions with the exception of the addition of a big-bore 4 banger and a seventh gear.

        Big displacement 4 bangers tend to vibrate more and need balancers to counteract the excess vibration. Earlier suggestions of going with a small displacement 6 would be more in line with the car's character. 2.4-3.2L inline 6 would just take this to a whole new level especially if it had the same high revving, high output characteristics of the original engine.

        Honda, please keep the design simple like the original and you have a winner!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Some people have commented that it is impossible to produce an engine w/ slightly more capacity (200cc or so) AND raise the rev limit back to 9,000rpm. Others have said that it would be impossible to include DFI in such an engine.

        Are such things truly impossible ?????

        The F20 revved to 9,000rpm with each cylinder displacing 500cc. The F22 revs to around 8,400 with each cylinder displacing 539cc. I'm dreaming of an F24 revving to 9,000 with each cylinder displacing 589cc.

        If the F20 cud send a 500cc displacing cylinder to 9,000rpm, almost 10years ago, could they not possibly produce one that sends a 589cc displacing cylinder to the same rpm. If they cud possibly spread out that extra 89cc in bore and stroke, and add in the advancement in engineering, oils, and material science advancements in the past 10years, how could this not be a possibility ?????!!!!

        Fifty years ago, F1 cars in the were revving to 7,500. A few years ago, before the rev limit band, they were revving to 22,000rpm or so. Sure, there is the law of diminishing returns, but if they could make such advancements in 50years, would it not be possible that Honda make a 589cc displacing cylinder rev to 9,000, ten years after they made a 500cc displacing cylinder rev to the same limit ?????

        Sure, the big 4cylinder Porsches, (944 with 2.5L and 968 with 3.0L) could not rev above 6,500rpm or so. But that was like 25years ago for the 944 and over 17years ago for the 968 !!

        And why can't they do all this and not include DFI as well. The Gallardo LP560-4 displaces 500cc with each cylinder and revs to 8,500rpm AND has DFI !!

        I don't want them making an Inline6 like the BMWs. Have you ever seen the bonnet of a Z4 ??? The bonnet of a Z4 is about 1 1/2 ft longer than the bonnet of an S2000. I feel like I'm trying to steer an oil tanker when driving the Z4.

        Besides, high-revving four cylinders are what Honda does best. And putting the whole engine behind the front damper towers is just beautiful. Of course, I wouldn't mind it if they moved the transmission to the rear as well.
      • 6 Years Ago
      YES! Finally. You know, 2008-09 Will probably go down in automobile history .
        • 6 Years Ago
        Haha, yes why not?, that could be one of the reasons.
        There other reason could be the most amazing performance vehicles that were(and to be) launched in 08-09.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This should be interesting, but the information presented by Road and Track doesn't seem the least bit likely.

      Torque would be welcome for the 350Z set, but it's not characteristic of this car. It would, however, make the car more accessible to more of the public and be more profitable for the company.

      But still.....
      • 6 Years Ago
      the only reason i don't like the s2000 is because of the 4 banger. with a v6 in it i'd definately take it over a 350z. the design looks good but i doubt it'll look that "radical"
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is stupid. As was written, it's 100% conjecture from the picture to the info. How it made a magazine cover I have no idea.

      But poor Honda has another lose/lose situation on its hands concerning enthusiasts. This article already contains preemptive complaints about both styling and power... including a complaint of possibly TOO MUCH low-end torque, after 8 years of the opposite concern. *rolls eyes*
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thought I'd chime in ...

      Traded in my 2004 last spring, and I miss it like crazy.
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