Honda S2000

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Manufacturer Honda
Production 1999-2009
Designer Shigeru Uehara + Daisuke Sawai
Type Roadster + sports car
Layout Front-mid engine, real-wheel drive
Transmission 6-speed manual
Engine 2,0L F20C + 2,2L F22C
Rev limit 9.000rpm (F20C) + 8.200rpm (F22C)
Enginer power 177kW / 241PS
Curb weight 1260kg-1299kg
Wheelbase 2.400mm
Length 4.120mm
Width 1.750mm
Height 1.285mm
More specifications #Specification_comparison_table

The Honda S2000 is a roadster and sports car that was developed and manufactured by Honda to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary.
Shigeru Uehara was the chief designer and project leader. He was also responsible for the design of the Honda NSX.
It was produced between 1999 and 2009 with some minor revisions/improvements on the car during that time period. Manufacturing first started in Tochigi and later moved over to Suzuka.
Up until this day the car which was first launched in 1999 still holds several records and keeps enthusiasts smiling whenever they see or drive one.
The Honda S2000 is known for it's naturally aspirated high revving engine, timeless but sporty design and it's 6 speed manual transmission which was praised by many critics, journalists and test drivers as the best manual transmission in any car.

Concept and development[edit]

The design study and concept car for the Honda S2000 was the Honda SSM (Sporty Study Model) which was presented for the first time during the 31th Tokyo Motor show on the 18th October 1995.
The SSM shared many similarities with the Honda S800, Honda NSX and later with the Honda S2000 including:

  • Self-carrying rigid high x-bone frame
  • aluminium body panels
  • 50:50 weight distribution
  • 2.0L front-mid engine
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Roadster
  • A cockpit that was built "around the driver"

The S2000 was named after its engine size of two liters and therefor carries on the tradition of the S500, S600 and S800.
Since the S2000 was also meant to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Honda it had to undergo a very detailed and thoroughly construction effort.
The whole building process of each S2000 was done in one specific production site (Takanezawa in Tochigi, later moved to Suzuka) which was used exclusively for the models NSX, S2000 and Insight.
Each engine was built by hand with countless parts being polished and adjusted by hand as well. A stamped number on every engine lets you backtrack which mechanic/person built this specific engine.

Several technologies and a lot of knowledge from the Honda Formula 1 engines such as piston speeds of 24,6m/s, molybdenum disulfide piston coating and fiber-reinforced metal cylinders made it's way into to the S2000 engine.
This ensured that the 9.000rpm high revving engine with its high power output was still reliable and robust while also being classified as ULEV (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle).
While the S2000 should be driven with "Super Plus" (98 ROZ) a test of the car magazine "Auto Motor und Sport" revealed that even with "Super" (95 ROZ) or "Normal" (92 ROZ) the engines performance was nearly identical.

Thanks to the self-carrying rigid high x-bone frame the body of the S2000 is very stiff eventhough it is a roadster.
This made it a very popular car in long-distance racing where it managed to win a lot of titles and also placed 10th 24h Nürburgring overall standings.

AP1 (1999-2003)[edit]

The model which was built since it's introduction in 1999 until 2003 is called the AP1 and was manufactured in the Takanezawa Plant in Tochigi, Japan.
It features the F20C engine which generates 241 PS / 177kW at 208Nm / 153lb-ft with a rev limit at up to 9.000rpm. Japan featured a JDM F20C version with 250PS / 184 kW due to a higher compression ratio of 11,7:1.
The AP1 has 16" wheels which originally came with Bridgestone Potenza S-02 tyres. The tire dimensions are 205/55/R16 on the front and 225/50/R16 on the back.
It had an electrically powered vinyl soft top with internal lining and a plastic rear window. The aluminium hard top was available as an extra option (from 2001-20009).
The offered exterior colors were:

  • New Formula Red
  • Berlina Black
  • Gran Prix White
  • Sebring Silver
  • Silverstone Metallic
  • Spa Yellow (2001)
  • Suzuka Blue (2002)

AP1 Facelift (2004-2009)[edit]

The model which was built between 2004 to 2009 and sold only in EU,JP and AUS is called the AP1 Facelift. It was manufactured in the Suzuka Plant in Suzuka, Japan. Compared to the AP1 the AP1 Facelift underwent several cosmetic and technical upgrades.

The AP1 Facelift has 17" wheels which originally came with Bridgestone RE-050 tyres. The tire dimensions are 215/45/R17 on the front and 245/40/R17 on the back. The spring rates, shock absorber and suspension geometry was modified to improve stability by reducing toe-in changes and oversteer. The subframe received a revision in order to achieve higher rigidity. The brass synchronizers in the gear box were replaced with carbon fiber ones. The material of the differential has been changed to improve rigidity by 40% while also strengthening the case by 20%. The cosmetic changes include:

  • New front bumper
  • New read bumper
  • New xenon head-lights
  • New LED tail-lights
  • New oval exhaust tips
  • Plastic rear-window in the vinyl soft top replaced by a glass rear-window.
  • New design of the instrument gauge cluster
  • Some interior changes such as a different shift knob and a different layout of the central console.

The offered exterior colors were:

  • New Formula Red
  • Monza red
  • Berlina Black
  • Deep Burgundy Metallic
  • Gran Prix White
  • Sebring Silver
  • Silverstone Metallic
  • Rio/Indy Yellow
  • Imola Orange
  • Lime Green Metallic
  • Suzuka Blue
  • Monte Carlo Blue

Throughout the years different editions of the S2000 AP1 Facelift were released with each of them having minor cosmetic changes. The different years and editions are most noticeably separated by their wheels which are referred to as the AP2/V1, AP2/V2, AP2/V3 wheels. In 2006 the drive by wire and electronic stability control system was introduced as well.

AP1 Facelift GT (2002)[edit]

In 2002 a GT model was offered which featured a removable hard-top and an outside temperature gauge.

AP1 Facelift Type S (2008)[edit]

During the last two production years the Japanese market received the Type S model.
It is similar to the Club Racer (CR) in the US regarding the weight loss, higher downforce and the changes to wheels (although it retained the tyre size of 245/40/R17 for better handling) and interior.
The suspension setup was improved in order to make it stiffer but more compromising than the CR model to suit it better for the Japanese touge experience.
Additionally to the standard S2000 interior there was also the option for yellow and black ancantra.
Further changes made: It had 41kg lower body weight and a lower center of gravity by removing the spare tire, air conditioning and stereo. The following changes were made:

  • Lower ratio steering rack
  • Revised exhaust system
  • Black lug nuts
  • Darker colored wheels with 245/40/R17 at the rear (AP2V3)
  • New front lip and a larger spoiler to reduce overall coefficient of lift by 70-80%
  • New spherical aluminium shift knob with 6% reduction in shift stroke distance
  • Carbon fiber overlays on the center console and radio door
  • Peak power indicator on the instrument gauge cluster
  • Removed spare tire

A total of 1.755 Type S models were produced and sold exclusively in Japan:

  • 2007: 168 units
  • 2008: 827 units
  • 2009: 737 units
  • 2010: 23 units (only sold but not produced)

AP1 Facelift Ultimate Edition and GT Edition 100 (2008)[edit]

In 2009 the "Ultimate Edition" was released in Europe. It was called the "GT Edition 100" in the UK market.
It was limited to only 100 units numbered from 1 to 101. The individual number is engraved on the metal kick-plate in the side doors.
The changes introduced with the UE and GT edition are:

  • Grand Prix White body color
  • Removable hard top
  • Graphite colored alloy wheels
  • Red leather interior
  • Red colored stitching on the gear leveler

AP2 (2004-2009)[edit]

The AP2 model was built between 2004 to 2009 and sold exclusively in the US and in Japan. It was manufactured in the Suzuka Plant in Suzuka, Japan.
Additionally to all the cosmetic and technical changes that the AP1 Facelift model underwent in EU/JP/AUS, the US/JP AP2 also received a new engine, the F22C1.
The differences from the F20C to the F22C1 are:

  • A higher displacement (2,2L instead of 2,0L)
  • Rev limit decreased from 9.000rpm to 8.200rpm
  • Peak torque increase to 220Nm / 162 lb-ft
  • The power output remained but was achieved at a lower rpm
  • Changed transmission gear ratio to shorten the first five gears and lengthening the sixth gear.

AP2 Club Racer (2008)[edit]

The CR model is a lighter, stiffer and more aggressive model which was introduced in the US in order to offer a more track-ortiented version of the S2000.
Shigeru Uehara stated that the CR was positioned between the Type S and a hypothetical and never released Type R.
The only available interior colors were yellow and black alcantra.
It had a lower body weight and a lower center of gravity by removing the spare tire, air conditioning and stereo. The following changes were made:

  • Track oriented suspension setup with stiffer spring and shocks
  • Increased body and chassis rigidity
  • Weight reduction
  • Improved aerodynamics due to optimized front and rear spoilers
  • New front lip and a larger spoiler reduce overall coefficient of lift by 70-80%
  • Larger stabilizer bars
  • Lower ratio / quicker steering rack
  • Revised exhaust system with a more aggressive sound
  • Black lug nuts
  • Darker colored wheels (Kaiser Silver)
  • Larger rear tire size - 255/40/R17 (referred to as AP2V3)
  • Bridgestone Potenza RE-070 tires instead of Potenza RE-050
  • The electrically powered vinyl soft top was replaced by additional chassis bracing topped off with a tonneau cover + aluminium hard top
  • New spherical aluminium shift knob with 6% reduction in shift stroke distance
  • Shift load / force increased by ~10% for a more direct feedback
  • Carbon fiber overlays on the center console and radio door
  • Colored stitching at the fabric seating surfaces
  • Synthetic suede bolsters to enhance lateral grip
  • Peak power indicator on the instrument gauge cluster
  • Removed spare tire and replaced with inflation kit
  • Sound deadening material was removed
  • Air conditioning and stereo were both only optionally available

Compared to the 2008 base model the cumulative body weight saving were:

  • 51 pounds / 23kg with the hardtop installed
  • 90 pounds / 41kg with the hardtop removed

A total of 699 CR models were produced:

  • 269 Berlina Black
  • 200 Apex Blue Pearl
  • 140 Rio Yellow Pearl
  • 90 Grand Prix White

Main differences between AP1 and AP1 Facelift / AP2[edit]

Specification comparison table[edit]

1999–2003 AP1
(F20C, Worldwide)
2004–2009 AP1 Facelift
(F20C, EU,JP,AUS)
2004–2009 AP2
(F22C1, US only)
2008–2009 AP2 CR
(F22C1, US only)
Engine type Naturally aspirated inline 4 cylinder
Valvetrain 16 valve DOHC VTEC
Displacement 1.997 cm³ 2.157 cm³
Power 241 PS (177 kW)
Torque 208 Nm (153 lbf-ft) at 7.500 rpm 220 Nm (162 lbf-ft) at 6.800 rpm
Rev. limit / redline 9.000 rpm 8.000 rpm
Top speed 240 km/h (149 mph)
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 5,9 seconds
Acceleration 0-200 km/h 24,5 seconds
Fuel consumption 10,l L Super Plus / Premium (98 ROZ)
Fuel tank size 50 L
Bore & stroke 87,0mm x 84,0mm 87,0mm x 90,7mm
Gear ratio 1st: 3.133
2nd: 2.045
3rd: 1.481
4th: 1.161
5th: 0.970
6th: 0.810Secondary gear reduction: 1.160
Final drive: 4.100
Reverse: 2.800
1st: 3.133
2nd: 2.045
3rd: 1.481
4th: 1.161
5th: 0.943
6th: 0.763
Secondary gear reduction: 1.208
Final drive: 4.100
Reverse: 2.800
Transmission 6 speed manual
Differential Torsen limited slip
Weight 1.260kg (2.778 lb) 1.299kg (2.864 lb) 1.295kg (2.855lb)
1.254kg (2.765lb) without air conditioning
Weight distribution 50:50
Height 1.270 mm (50,0 in)
Width 1.750 mm (68,9 in)
Length 4.135 mm (162,8 in)
Wheelbase 2.400 mm (94,5 in)
Wheels Front: aluminium 6,5 x 16" ET 55
Rear: aluminium 7,5 x 16"" ET 65
Front: aluminium 7,0 x 17" ET 55
Rear: aluminium 8,5 x 17"" ET 65
Tires Front: 205/55/R16 94V
Rear: 225/55/R16 94V
Front: 215/45/R17 87W
Rear: 245/40/R17 91W
Brakes Front: 300mm (11,8in) ventilated discs
Rear: 282mm (11,1in) solid discs
Suspension In-wheel double wishbone

Technical details[edit]

Engine[edit]

The pistons are forged aluminium while the engine block and head is built out of aluminium with fiber-reinforced metal sleeves. Several other parts such as the cylinders are also built out of fiber-reinforced metal.
This makes the engine very compact and lightweight and therefor made it possible to mount the front-mid engine longitudinally and behind the front axle.
To get the most out of the compact sized engine design, Honda used two overhead cams with roller followers, a ladder-frame main bearing stiffener, a VTEC system for intake and exhaust camshaft and a timing chain.
The VTEC systems uses two separate cam lobe profiles instead of a variable cam phasing. The intake was designed for minimal volume to increase the engines response.

Transmission[edit]

The transmission of the Honda S2000 uses some of the technologies that Honda developed for their supersport motorcycles.
While motorcycles often rev up to 12.000rpm or higher, cars usually don't go above 6.800rpm. Shifting in the high rpm ranges that the Honda S2000 provides brings new technical challenges to a car's transmission.
On motorcycles it is quite often possible to shift a gear up by just pressing with little force on the gear selector while quickly releasing and engaging the throttle. It gets easier the higher the rpm of the engine is.
The angle and adjustment of the teeth on the gearwheel are responsible for a smooth shifting experience during high rpm's on motorcycles.
The same principle was used on the transmission of the Honda S2000. Thanks to that it makes shifting on higher rpm's smooth and easy. In return it can sometimes lead to a chunky shifting experience during the first few shifts on a cold engine with low rpm.

Reviews, awards and records[edit]

Awards and records[edit]

The Honda S2000 is known for its balanced handling, smooth gearbox, high revving engine and the high output of the naturally aspirated engine.
Up to this day the car which was built in 1999 still holds the following records:

  • Highest engine power output of any naturally aspirated street legal production car in the world
  • Highest power output per liter of any naturally aspirated engine
  • Highest revving engine of any street legal production car
  • Engine with the highest piston speed of any street legal production car
  • The only engine that has ever managed to win the "International Engine of the Year Award" 5 times
Car and Driver's Top 10 2000 + 2001 + 2002 + 2004
#1 in BBC Top Gear survey 2003 + 2005 + 2006
International Engine of the Year Award Best engine in 2000 + 2001 + 2002 + 2003 + 2004
Ward's Top 10 Best engines 2000 + 2001
J. D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study Highest ranked premium sports car in 2004 + 2006 + 2008
U.S. News & World Report Best affordable sports car in 2008 + 2009
Edmunds consumers most wanted vehicles 2004 + 2005 + 2007
Jalopnik Best 10 cars of the decade
Roads & Tracks One of the best all-round sports cars

Reviews and tests[edit]

  • Auto Motor und Sport, 2000, Link
  • Auto Motor und Sport, 2002
  • Auto Motor und Sport, 2003
  • Auto Motor und Sport, 2003
  • Auto Motor und Sport, 2005
  • Auto Motor und Sport, 2009
  • Auto Motor und Sport, 2015, Link
  • Autbild, 2002, Link
  • Autbild, 2009, Link
  • Autbild, 2009, Link
  • Autbild, 2009, Link
  • Automobil-Magazin.de, 2004, Link
  • Auto-Presse.de, 2005, Link
  • Autosieger, 2003, Link
  • caranddriver.com, 2003, Link
  • driver.de, 2012
  • Focus.de, 2005, Link
  • Heise.de, 2003, Link
  • jalopnik.com, 2013, Link
  • pistonheads.com, 2013, Link
  • s2ki.com, 2017, Link
  • Spiegel.de, 1999, Link
  • Sportauto-online.de, 2006
  • Top Gear, 2019, Link
  • welt.de, 2009, Link

Also see: Movie and TV show appearances#Reviews

Movie and TV show appearances[edit]

See: Movie and TV show appearances

Sales per year[edit]

Calendar Year U.S. Japan Canada Europe Germany Austria
1999 3.400 7.209 332 1.179 159 25
2000 6.797 3.422 412 3.955 1.478 90
2001 9.682 1.913 401 2.197 745 48
2002 9.684 1.471 336 2.537 686 28
2003 7.888 961 238 2,095 441 17
2004 7.320 1.087 250 2.036 286 15
2005 7.780 981 212 1.795 229 14
2006 6.271 1.225 146 1.474 211 9
2007 4.302 997 123 1.116 149 3
2008 2.538 1.228 65 709 94 2
2009 795 1.122 49 680 64 2
2010 85 42 21 20 8 0
2011 5 0 0 0 0 0
Total 66.547 21.658 2.585 19.793 4.520 253

Vehicle population[edit]

Calendar Year Germany Austria
1999 0 24
2000 1.279 95
2001 1.626 129
2002 2.330 152
2003 2.939 170
2004 3.265 180
2005 3.326 193
2006 3.274 201
2007 3.145 202
2008 2.235 205
2009 2.208 215
2010 2.181 214
2011 2.009 218
2012 1.982 220
2013 1.953 224
2014 1.950 221
2015 1.945 225
2016 1.911 217
2017 1.913 217
2018 1.851 221
2019 1.827