Avg. Price Paid:$19,658 - $20,801
Original MSRP: $34,300 - $37,300
MPG: 18 City / 25 Hwy
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2008 Honda S2000 Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Honda S2000 was new.

The 2008 Honda S2000 is built for speed. In fact, it leaves most of its affordable sports car and affordable convertible competitors in the dust.

  • "Everyone knows Honda for its popular, solidly built Honda Accords and long-running Civics. ... But Honda has a racing heritage, too, in everything from superbikes to Formula One. The S2000, with its front-engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration, is designed to draw on and highlight that heritage. And it does so superbly." - MSN
  • The "Honda S2000 is almost pure sports car, more suited for winding roads than trips to the grocery store or the daily commute. It's a car you will dream about driving while you're stuck in the office, and is best used for recreation." - CNET
  • "The CR -- the initials stand for 'Club Racer' -- is about rubber-chunking, brake-burning, wall-fanning track work. You wouldn't really want the shale-stiff CR for anything else, which is perhaps why Honda plans to sell only 1400 copies of the circa-$38,000 CR in 2008." - Car and Driver
  • "[T]he S2000 blows away most other four-cylinder models. For instance, the S2000 has about 40 percent more power than the base Mazda MX-5 Miata or the base version of the Pontiac Solstice. It even puts out more horsepower than some non-turbo V6 engines from European competitors -- although those engines offer more torque, which provides acceleration oomph at lower speeds." - Forbes
  • Compared alongside the Nissan 350Z Nismo, Road and Track found that "[b]oth cars have mild understeer at the limit, but while the CR's is always manageable, the Z can sometimes get into a terminal push when over-driven. With the gumball tires, power-on oversteer is difficult to achieve in the Z and nearly impossible in the CR. On this tight course the cars are near equals, but on a fast track the Z is sure to out-perform. It's more fun to drive the Honda, but the Nissan is quicker. Life is full of difficult decisions, but I'd opt for the a/c, stereo and extra power that come standard with the Z." - Road and Track
  • "Whether you choose the standard or CR model, the S2000 offers a purely visceral driving experience. ... It's also hindered by its aged design; save for minor tweaks, the car has remained pretty much unchanged since its introduction almost a decade ago. During this time, the segment has only grown more competitive. The raw lightweight Lotus Elise has come along to take top honors as the segment's pick for sports-car purists. BMW's Z4 and Porsche's Boxster have benefited from recent improvements, and while flawed, the Solstice GXP and Sky Red Line twins offer stronger performance and competitive prices. The 2008 Honda S2000 continues to be an impressive choice in this segment, but buyers would be wise to investigate all the latest offerings before making a commitment." - Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

Test drivers find the S2000's 2.2-liter 237-horsepower I4 engine to be a good fit for the job. While power maybe lacking in the low rpms, it drops jaws once revved high. According to the EPA, the '08 Honda S2000 nets 18 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Though our research has yet to uncover a solid 0 to 60 mph acceleration time, numerous sources report the S2000 base-trim can do it in less than six seconds.

  • "The S2000's engine is a work of art, whether you're listening to it, looking at it, or feeling its power." - CNET
  • "The S2000's engine doesn't have much output until you wind the tachometer past the 5000-rpm mark, a range where most cars begin to run out of steam. With the high-pitched whine of mechanical things spinning at high speeds, the S2000 rockets forward and keeps on going to a redline that was once considered the sole domain of high-performance motorcycles." - Kelley Blue Book
  • "Drivers of S2000s must think of other cars the way superbike riders think of Harleys. Stay under 5000 revs, and you'd think this was like a Mazda Miata. Over that, the valve timing opens up, and it screams. Leave it in gear to redline in first, and you can drive past people at a reasonable pace while making that high-rpm noise." - AutoWeek
  • "With no more horsepower, the CR pruned about three seconds off lap times turned in the base car. That's a gift any racer will surely find spectacular and exciting." - Car and Driver
  • "Performance-wise, it's incredible, pretty well justifying its price. But although it squeezes a lot of power from a relatively small engine, it pours in a lot of gas to accomplish this feat." - CNET

Handling and Braking

Though most reviews find the 2008 S2000 to be a spectacular performer, its stiff suspension and loud engine create enough discomfort for some to classify it as unsuitable for daily driving.

  • "Thanks to its racecar-inspired suspension, perfect weight balance and high-output four-cylinder engine, the S2000 holds its own with costlier German and American rivals on twisty roads." - Edmunds
  • "The car's 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution and extremely rigid structure...give the S2000 a nearly flat cornering response that allows it to negotiate the corners with sure tenacity, and with reaction that feels as if it's coming directly from your nerve endings." - Kelley Blue Book
  • "A penalty for all that performance must be paid in ride comfort -- the suspension is stiff and the S2000 is hardly silent at any speed." - Cars.com
  • "A small, light, stiffly sprung sports car, so nearly every small bump and tar strip registers through seats. Still, S2000 is never brutally harsh." - Consumer Guide
  • "Unfortunately, the Honda S2000 is not very comfortable for daily commutes on potholed roads or long trips on the highway, due to its exceedingly sharp and responsive suspension and steering systems. Nor does it insulate occupants very well from engine, road or wind noise." - Forbes
  • Commenting on the CR trim, "So what is it like to drive? It is a blast if you can put up with increased noise and a choppy ride. This is no Lincoln Town Car in either department." - MarketWatch
  • "There is noticeably more grip than in the base S2000. The chassis is firmer, the suspension tauter, but it doesn't do a number on your kidneys. Steering response is a touch sharper, too." - AutoWeek
  • "At street pace, the CR improvements are mildly noticeable: a bit of additional grip here, slightly quicker steering there, and a more communicative ride overall. On the track is where the CR really shines. While much of the credit goes to the stickier tires, the excellent neutral lift characteristics of the suspension are evident under full braking." - Motor Trend
  • Explaining that the CR's unique body style enhances the S2000's overall performance, Car and Driver notes, "The whole affair is affixed with black supports that look more like a back yard racer's weekend concoction than factory pieces, but who are we to argue if it works? Honda claims overall downforce on the rear axle at speed, a rare trait for a street car." - Car and Driver
  • "Park it in your garage and bring it out when the roads are open, the skies are clear and you need to hear the sound and feel the spirit of a real S2000 track car." - Autobytel
Review Last Updated: 2/18/09

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