Honda S2000 (1999) review

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What is?

The Honda S2000 is a car you probably know. Either from grand tourer Y Fast and Furious fame, or simply because you’re a gas buff who covets sports cars made from the purest recipes, it’s an icon.

This recipe ? Front engine, rear wheel drive, manual gearbox and absolutely no sign of turbos or superchargers. If you want to buy a new sports car that meets these criteria, your options are few. At normal prices, you’re limited to Japanese cars (Mazda MX-5, Nissan 370Z, and Toyota GT86) or a Caterham.

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If you are very careful, you will already detect the faults of the S2000. This torque is lower than that of a VW Golf Bluemotion. It also tops out at an insanely high speed of 7,500 rpm. Uh, 6,000 rpm higher than the Golf’s peak is coming up. More on this on the next page.

The S2000 was produced between 1999 and 2009, during which time more than 110,000 examples were sold, including around 8,000 in the UK. The S2000 went on sale for a decade through several updates, the biggest in 2004, when the styling was refreshed and larger wheels and suspension softened the infamously twitchy handling characteristics of the early cars.

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However, with prices starting at £6,000, the original is still a very tempting sports car. But can you really buy one for such a small amount of money? And more importantly, should you?

Our choice of the range.

2.0i GT 100 edition 2 doors

What’s the verdict?

The antidotes to today’s paddle-shifting, turbocharging performance cars don’t get any more visceral than this. Drive one before you die

Give any S2000 a try and if you’re not familiar with rev-hungry Japanese cars, we doubt you’ll be won over right away. Unless it’s for sale at a rest stop in the middle of the Brecon Beacons, anyway. More than anything, this Honda takes time to find its way to your affections. However, as a property proposal, we would say that it is perfect. Who doesn’t want a car that reveals facets of its character over time, rather than instant success?

  BMW iX3 review

And in the age of turbodiesels, many of you reading this have never seen 6,000 rpm in a car. Given how exciting that issue turns out to be, and beyond, here, it’s pretty sad.

Some drivers, especially those who recently passed their test, will never have the experience of keeping their foot on the red line in a naturally aspirated car. So if you’re lucky enough to drive an S2000, go for it. And if you’re lucky enough to buy one, give it some serious consideration.

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