2009 Honda S2000 Performance
This performance review was written when the 2009 Honda S2000 was new.
The 2009 S2000 has the performance chops to leave its competitors in the dust. But those wishing to get more than track laps out of this snarling machine will be left disappointed. The track is where it shines -- and where it should probably stay.
- "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
- "Honda's rear-wheel-drive sports car packs a high-revving four-cylinder. As a result, the S2000 feels more like a racecar than a typical sports car. The S2000 CR will enhance that feeling, as it comes with a specially tuned suspension, added chassis bracing and a removable hardtop to increase chassis rigidity." -- Cars.com
- 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
- "[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
Acceleration and Power
Test drivers are in love with the S2000's high-performance powertrain, which -- due to only reaching its optimal power at high rpms -- takes some getting used to. The S2000 features a 2.2-liter I4 engine that produces 237 horsepower at 7,800 rpm and 162 pound-feet of torque at 6,800 rpm. A top-of-the-line six-speed manual transmission comes standard. According to the EPA, the 2009 S2000 has a city/highway fuel economy of 18/25 mpg.
- "The S2000's engine is a work of art, whether you're listening to it, looking at it, or feeling its power." -- CNET
- "There is plenty of scoot here, but you have to keep the engine rpm's up to realize it." -- MarketWatch
- "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
- "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." -- The Auto Channel
- "The short-throw six-speed manual gearbox is the only transmission available and remains a joy to operate, with a level of precision and a satisfying feel that are virtually unrivaled." -- Forbes
- "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
Auto writers, on balance, agree that the S2000 handles marvelously -- for a track racer. Otherwise, its stiff suspension and loud engine intrude on ride comfort. For these reasons, critics concede that it's not suitable for daily use.
- "Taking the 2009 Honda S2000 to its limits is a rewarding experience, thanks to its perfect 50/50 weight distribution, front and rear double-wishbone suspension and minimal body roll. Handling is razor-sharp and predictable, with nary a hint of body flex despite the absence of a solid roof structure." -- 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
- "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
- "On the street, the tweaked roadster [CR] drives little differently from the base S2000 - the livelier steering and better wheel control are about all you notice, and ride quality is little changed. On the track, however, the car comes alive: the additional grip, decreased understeer, and extra chassis composure are welcome enhancements to the S2000's already track-happy personality." -- Automobile Magazine