The high-revving, rear-wheel-drive, power-to-weight ratio titan Honda S2000 was a 2000s classic. Rumors about a second-generation have swirled since it departed from the lineup in 2009. Now, a Forbes report, citing a source close to Honda, suggests a new S2000 may arrive for 2024, the 25th anniversary of the S2000’s debut.
Forbes says the new model would be similar to the original in size, with weight savings from aluminum and carbon fiber keeping the curb weight below 3,000 pounds. Honda would employ a “tweaked version” of the Civic Type R’s turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four for a potential output of 350 horsepower, 100 more than the last generation. It would also use the Type R’s six-speed manual transmission.
Sounds incredible, right? Well, yes. We’re a bit skeptical a new Honda S2000 will come to fruition.
Look at it this way: the original S2000 didn’t sell in large numbers, and the market for small, two-seater sports cars has grown worse in the interim (a major reason Honda hasn’t brought it back for 11 years). Even Mercedes-Benz is clearing two-seaters out of its lineup.
Automakers that do build two-door sports cars nowadays often work to cut costs dramatically to ensure profits out-sourcing development costs. Honda arch-rival Toyota’s Supra is a joint development with BMW, while the 86/BRZ is a joint effort from Toyota and Subaru — and the new version saves costs even further by running on more or less the same platform.
This report suggests Honda would be doing the opposite of that. Honda would be bearing 100 percent of the development costs by going it alone. Repurposing the front-wheel-drive Civic Type R drivetrain for RWD use would be more of a major surgery on the engineering front than a “tweak” — and a substantial investment for a low-volume car. Enthusiasts wanting sporty Hondas, moreover, already have solid options, whatwith the affordable Civic Si and pricier, more track-oriented Civic Type R.
The Honda S2000 hasn’t returned because doing so doesn't make a lot of sense. And perhaps the manufacturer most apt to do the sensible thing is Honda.