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Wednesday 5th August 2009


HONDA S2000 GT 100 EDITION

The S2000 goes off sale this year. PH's Matt Rigby enjoys a final fling

There is nothing wrong with the Honda S2000. It is an utterly amazing car - I would like to make that clear from the get-go. Many people will tell you that Honda’s wonderful, screaming, 9000rpm, 237bhp, rear-drive sports car is a deeply flawed machine. They are wrong - it is the rest of reality that is flawed.


The S2000 nay-sayers will tell you that the little Honda is expensive, liable to throw you off the road if you attack a corner with too much gusto, has all the torque of a week-old lettuce leaf, is blighted by uncommunicative steering, and its performance is inaccessible unless the driver is given a traffic-free country road or a race track.

In those respects, of course, they are right. But here lies the rub: on the right road (ie an empty, relatively smooth B-road), in the right conditions (sunny and dry), the S2000 is absolutely sen-bloody-sational.


Get the 2.0-litre VTEC singing near its 8300rpm peak power point, use the deliciously mechanical and precise six-speed gearbox to keep it there and you will have a ball. Do that in one of the more recent S2000s, and you can keep enjoying yourself when you get to a corner, too.

In 2004, Honda made various tweaks to the suspension with the aim of making the steering more entertaining and the tail less unruly. In 2008, Honda introduced an even less edgy GT model, with uprated springs, thicker anti-roll bars and re-tuned shock absorbers from the Japanese-market Type S. Now the S2000 is a much more predictable, less nervous machine; the edge of grip arrives in a much more progressive, less snappy way. You can even chuck in the odd 'dab of oppo' moment coming out of a roundabout with out fear of vicious reprisals from the rear end.


It’s aged well, too. For a car that was introduced in 1999, the S2000 still looks sharp, its unashamedly Japanese lines marking it out as a timeless design rather than dating it. The intimate, driver-oriented cabin is also pleasingly distinctive, even if some of the switchgear is starting to show its age

But, after 10 years on sale, 2009 is the S2000’s last - this GT 100 edition that we’ve managed to lay our hands on is a sort of perverse celebration of that fact.


The S2000 will soon be gone, then. But don’t remember it for its deficiencies - think of it on an empty country road, singing its VTEC heart out. Unfortunately most of the roads, most of the time, are not like that. Like I said, it’s reality that’s wrong.

Author: Riggers