Kelley Blue Book ® - 2009 Honda S2000 Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2009 Honda S2000 Overview

Overview:

EDITORS' NOTES
Convertibles and roadsters are plentiful these days, but only a handful can truly be called performance oriented. The 2009 Honda S2000 is one of the lucky few, endowed with an incredibly high-strung four-cylinder engine born from years of Honda racing experience. From a normally-aspirated 2.2 liters of displacement, the S2000 engine manages an amazing 237 horsepower and doesn't reach redline until 8000 rpm. Toss in its extremely rigid body and sub-2,900-pound vehicle weight, and the S2000 begins to feel less like a car and more like a four-wheeled motorcycle. Offering more punch than a Mazda MX-5 Miata and costing less than a Porsche Boxster, the S2000 lets the average Joe have his cake and eat it too.

YOU'LL LIKE THIS CAR IF...
If you love the feeling of riding a motorcycle without a helmet, but your balance just isn't what it used to be, check out the 2009 Honda S2000. Those looking for startlingly-quick performance and remarkable nimbleness, but with a Honda price tag and build quality, won't be disappointed.

YOU MAY NOT LIKE THIS CAR IF...
If you're accustomed to beefy V6- and V8-powered coupes that deliver their peak torque low in the rpm band, the S2000 is not your type of sports car.

WHAT'S SIGNIFICANT ABOUT THIS CAR
No major changes for 2009.

Driving It:

DRIVING IMPRESSIONS
The 2009 Honda 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 the engine 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. The car's 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution, well-calibrated suspension tuning and extremely rigid structure – there is actually a large visible brace that runs across the floor just in front of the seat brackets – give the S2000 a nearly flat cornering behavior and extremely crisp response that allows it to negotiate the corners with sure tenacity, with reaction that feels as if it's coming directly from your nerve endings.

OUR FAVORITE FEATURES
Powerful Engine
With 237 horsepower under the hood, the 2.2-liter engine pumps out more than 100 horsepower per liter.

Headrest Speakers
Made standard last year, the headrest-mounted speakers are the only way to really hear your music when both the top and the accelerator pedal are down.

Vehicle Details:

INTERIOR
The S2000's interior is full of wonderful surprises. After slipping into the deeply contoured bucket seats, you'll notice the big red START button on the dash; look a bit further, and you'll see that the tachometer redlines at an astounding 8,000 rpm. The long center console sits up high, affording you the perfect perch on which to rest your arm while you operate the sweet six-speed manual transmission. The audio head unit is hidden behind a flip-up aluminum panel, safe from the prying eyes of would-be thieves.

EXTERIOR
The 2009 Honda S2000 strikes a very un-Honda like, somewhat wicked pose. When viewed from above, the S2000's flared front-wheel arches and tapered hood closely resemble an angry cobra about to strike: A fitting look, considering this car's performance potential. The power soft-top features a glass rear window that retracts in seconds. Expectedly, the trunk is small, but it's still usable. CR models include an aerodynamic body kit, a factory-tuned track-oriented suspension, lift-reducing front and rear spoilers and a removable aluminum hard top in place of the conventional cloth top.

NOTABLE STANDARD EQUIPMENT
Every S2000 rolls out of the factory with a 237-horsepower 2.2-liter engine, six-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, limited-slip differential, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), rear defroster, engine immobilizer, HID headlamps, dual power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD, XM Satellite Radio, headrest-mounted speakers, leather bucket seats, cruise control, power windows, remote keyless entry and alloy wheels. The CR trim adds a removable aluminum hardtop, body kit, additional structural bracing, wider rear tires and a "peak power indicator" meter. To help reduce weight, air conditioning and the factory stereo are optional on the CR trim.

NOTABLE OPTIONS
What you see is what you get. There are no factory options for the S2000.

UNDER THE HOOD
The S2000's 2.2-liter motor is strong, but only after you get the tachometer above 5000 rpm. This engine is buzzy and some people will think it annoyingly loud at times, but there is no denying the joy it brings when pushed to its limits. We never managed to match the highway fuel economy figure quoted by the EPA, but then again, we spent a lot of time with the tachometer needle above 7000 rpm.

2.2-liter in-line 4
237 horsepower @ 7800 rpm
162 lb.-ft. of torque @ 6800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25

Pricing Notes:

PRICING NOTES
The 2009 Honda S2000's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $35,500, which is just a bit more than people are paying the dealers, according to the New Car Blue Book pricing report. The limited-production CR sells for about $38,500 (deduct about $1,000 for models without air conditioning and stereo). Limited production and high demand leave little wiggle room at the negotiating table. Don't plan on saving big bucks at the used car lot, either. Kelley Blue Book predicts the S2000 will hold its value well, retaining better than average values over a five year period, better than the more expensive Porsche Boxster, slightly better than the Mazda MX-5 Miata and on-par with the Saturn Sky Red Line.

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