Honda discontinued its spry, sleek little roadster back in 2009, and while there have been rumblings about a return for years, we now have some encouraging new S2000 rumors.
Our friends over at Car & Driver reportedly have a source inside Honda who’s saying we’ll see a reimagined roadster in time for Honda’s 70th anniversary in 2018. That timing would line up nicely historically, as the original S2000 was released to celebrate the company’s 50th birthday — and it’s not the only indicator its dealers could have a sexy drop top in their showrooms soon.
When Honda stopped production of the S2000 almost a decade ago, it was widely seen as a move away from the enthusiast market. Now, whether that’s fair criticism? That’s up for debate, as the automotive industry wasn’t exactly riding high from 2008 to 2010 — which was exactly when the S2000 was up for a redesign. But today, there’s some decidedly exciting product in Honda’s lineup, including the long-awaited America-market version of the Civic Type R, and the giant-killing, technology-laden Acura NSX. Of course, there’s also the diminutive, mid-engine S660, but like so much other forbidden fruit, it’s not available outside Japan.
Right now, signs are pointing to the idea that the next-generation S2000 might be powered by a twin-charged I-4 which would enjoy boost from both a traditional turbo and an electric supercharger, and produce 325 horsepower. That would mean competitors like Mazda’s MX-5 Miata and the Toyota 86 would find themselves significantly outgunned — by over 100 ponies.
Adding boost would help make the engine’s power delivery more linear, and combat the complaint that its predecessor had to be within spitting distance of its lofty 9000-RPM redline before its 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter would start earning its money. There’s also talk of a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, but we hope Honda would also offer purists the option of a third pedal. Given that the previous generation S2000 only came in a stick, and the latest Type R won’t be available with an automatic, we think that’s a solid bet.
Regardless, the idea of a proper new sports car from Honda would be music to the ears of the company’s devout fans, and its rock-solid reputation for reliability might make some otherwise-hesitant buyers more opt to consider a fun weekend toy. More news on the next-gen S2000 when we have it.