As a quintessential roadster-style sports car, the Honda S2000 is a performance icon for the Honda brand that combines racetrack-inspired performance with everyday usability. The front engine, rear-wheel-drive S2000 rewards driving enthusiasts with a potent 2.2-liter, 16-valve DOHC VTEC® 4-cylinder engine and a precise, short-throw 6-speed manual transmission, along with tenacious handling and an ideal 50/50 weight balance.
The renowned high-revving engine delivers 237 horsepower at 7800 rpm and 162 lb-ft. of torque at 6800 rpm. Perfectly complementing the engine’s output characteristics is a compact, longitudinally-mounted, close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission that features a direct linkage for precise shifting and quick throws. Additional performance features include a front and rear double wishbone suspension, electric power steering and a torque-sensing limited slip rear differential.
The Honda S2000 comes with 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, ABS and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA). (VSA is the Honda brand name for electronic stability control.) While VSA serves to effectively enhance driver control during acceleration, braking, and cornering, the system can be disabled with the touch of a button when conditions warrant. Air conditioning and an AM/FM/CD audio system are standard equipment on the Honda S2000, optional on the S2000 CR for weight savings.
New for 2008, the Honda S2000 has revised spring and damper tuning that subtly influences steering feel and high speed vehicle behavior. Inside, the minor changes include revised instrument panel meters and minor revisions to the seat design. Also, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) has been added.
2008 Honda S2000
The 2.2-liter, DOHC VTEC 4-cylinder engine produces 237 horsepower and 162 lb-ft. of torque while meeting California’s Low-Emission Vehicle 2 (LEV-2) standards. Honda’s innovative VTEC advanced variable valve-timing system operates the engine’s 16 valves in both intake and exhaust modes. This system is compact and tailored to the high-output, high-rpm operating characteristics of the Honda S2000 engine.
Torque and horsepower are optimized over the engine’s entire operating range to simultaneously provide low-end power and top-end performance near the engines 8000 rpm redline. The Honda S2000 is capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in less than six seconds.
The aluminum-alloy cylinder head maximizes space efficiency with a compact gear and chain-drive system for the dual overhead camshafts. The ancillary drive system for the alternator, water pump and air-conditioning compressor also use a space-efficient design.
The engine’s highly rigid, aluminum-alloy cylinder block features long-wearing FRM (Fiber-Reinforced Metal) cylinder liners.
ightweight pistons are made of forged aluminum alloy and the forged-steel connecting rods and crankshaft are heat-treated for added toughness. Numerous friction-reduction techniques, such as, roller-bearing cam followers and advanced bearing materials, are used in the engine.
A large-capacity, low-restriction intake system and low back-pressure exhaust system contribute to the engine’s overall efficiency and help create the Honda S2000’s audible performance demeanor. (The S2000 CR sport muffler is tuned for a more aggressive exhaust note.) The exhaust system uses a high-efficiency metal-honeycomb catalyst. A direct-ignition system and Honda-programmed multi-point fuel injection contribute to the S2000’s engine achieving its LEV-2 status.
A 6-speed, manual transmission uses closely-spaced low gear ratios on gears one through five, and a tall sixth speed gear for relaxed highway cruising (65mph = 3500 rpm). The transmission is a compact design and features a direct mechanical shift linkage with short throws between each gear. A Torsen limited-slip differential distributes torque to both rear wheels simultaneously or variably as traction conditions permit.
The Honda S2000 is an open-topped, two-seat roadster with a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The Honda S2000 uses steel body construction with the exception of the hood, which is aluminum. The body and frame are a hybrid monocoque structure.
The High X-Bone Frame is formed by the body’s high side sills, and diagonal (X) bracing underneath the body. A large central tunnel runs down the center of the cockpit. The tunnel serves as the backbone and main load-bearing structure for the vehicle, as well as a housing for the transmission and driveshaft.
The exterior styling of the S2000’s body is designed to appear angular, modern and sleek. The long hood and flared front fenders create the impression of lowness and mass. High-intensity discharge (HID) projector headlights highlight the front of the vehicle, while the taillight design follows a similar theme with large, round multi-LED taillights set in clear-lens housings.
The Honda S2000 CR adds extensive aerodynamic body work that functions to significantly reduce lift and enhance chassis balance at high speeds. An underbody front spoiler and a trunk lid-mounted rear spoiler combine to lower the Coefficient of Lift (Cl) by as much as 70-80 percent depending on the roof configuration. Downforce is created by the rear spoiler when the hardtop is installed as the contour of the roof is designed to influence aerodynamics at the rear of the vehicle.
The Honda S2000’s front and rear double wishbone suspension systems are a compact in-wheel design, similar to the type used on racing cars. At each wheel, upper and lower A-shaped wishbone links carry suspension loads directly to the subframes. Front 215/45 R17 87W and rear 245/40 R17 91W (255/40 R17 94W on CR) tires are mounted on newly-designed and lighter weight 17-inch alloy wheels.
The 11.8-inch vented front brake discs and 11.1-inch solid rear brake discs are calibrated to provide world-class stopping power and a solid, linear brake feel. Coil springs and mono-tube, gas-pressurized dampers (remote reservoirs in the rear) are used at each wheel. Front and rear stabilizers help keep body roll to a minimum.
Electronic stability control is provided through the VSA system, and an ABS system is standard equipment. An electrically-assisted power steering system provides more power steering assist at low speeds for ease-of-maneuvering. As vehicle speed increases, less power assist is supplied, giving the steering a more direct feel.
For 2008, the Honda S2000 suspension has been tuned with new spring, damper and stabilizer bar settings to further enhance road-holding and steering feel. The Honda S2000 CR suspension tuning goes even further by taking advantage of body rigidity enhancements made possible with the exclusive removable hardtop configuration and by adding stiffer springs and sway bars, and firmer dampers. Specially-developed steering gearbox stiffeners on the S2000 CR provides an even more direct, reflexive feel, and is further supplemented by a quicker steering ratio of 13.8:1 (compared to 14.9:1 for the S2000).
The Honda S2000’s driver-oriented interior is designed to be functional in much the same way as a purpose-built racecar with excellent outward visibility and simplicity of controls. High sides reinforce the cockpit-like feel of the interior. The seats contour to provide excellent lateral support during aggressive turns.
Controls such as the steering, brakes and clutch, operate with a high level of precision and a direct, commanding feel. The aluminum and leather-wrapped shift knob, racing-inspired digital instrument display and engine-start button further highlight the vehicle’s racing pedigree.
The list of comfort and convenience features includes a power-operated convertible top that opens or closes in approximately six seconds (replaced by a removable aluminum hardtop on the S2000 CR), power door locks, power windows, cruise control, Immobilizer Theft-Deterrent System and keyless entry for the doors and the trunk. The following features are standard on the Honda S2000 and available on the S2000 CR: air conditioning with micron air filtration and an AM/FM/CD audio system with eight speakers (including four speakers located in the roll bar hoops behind the seats) and remote-operated audio controls.
For 2008, a few noteworthy changes have occurred to the interior on all Honda S2000 models. The instrument panel has a revised meter design for the fuel and temperature gauges, adding to the aesthetics of the display. Specifically, the fuel and temperature meters now reside along the arc formed by the tachometer instead of a semi-circle configuration below and to the right of the tachometer.
The Honda S2000 CR interior follows traditional racecar themes with fabric seating surfaces highlighted by yellow stitching. Synthetic suede bolsters enhance lateral grip. A spherical aluminum shift knob on the S2000 CR rests 12.6 mm lower for a 6 percent reduction in shift stroke compared to the regular Honda S2000 cylindrical shift knob (aluminum/leather wrapped).
Additionally, shift load effort increases by 10 percent for even more direct feedback when engaging a gear. The Honda S2000 CR instrument panel meters include a peak-power indicator. When the engine is operating at peak power, a round, green light illuminates to the right of the digital speedometer.
The Honda S2000 has dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags (SRS) for the driver and passenger, three-point seat belts with load limiters and pre-tensioners, roll bar hoops and reinforced windshield posts. For pedestrian safety, the hood hinges and windshield-wiper pivots are designed to collapse and minimize the severity of a head injury to a pedestrian. Vehicle Stability Assist, ABS and a tire pressure monitoring system are standard equipment.
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