S2000 power - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-24-2018, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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S2000 power

I'm just posting some random thoughts, I know there are several folks on this board with experience with the S2000 that maybe could lend some thoughts.

Last October I decided to go looking for a fun car to tool around in for the winter. Believe it or not, there are plenty of winter days in Seattle that you can drive around with the top down.

During the process, I test drove an AP1 S2000, the first time I'd driven one. In addition to owning the Elise, I've owned a 1st gen Integra GSR and a couple of 12a Rx-7s in addition to having plenty of time in old 911s. I'm intimately familiar with the characteristics of a high strung engine that needs to rev. I quite like an undersized, rev happy engine, actually.

However, I found the S2000 that I drove never really felt like it came alive, even in the 7-9k RPM range. It made noise and it did kick a bit, but I really just found it underwhelming. I even got the rear end a little loose at the end of a roundabout with a little throttle stab, but it still didn't feel urgent. I ended up buying a much cheaper FB Miata that was actually much more entertaining to drive.

So I flipped the Miata for a bit of a profit and decided to give the S2000 another chance and test drove another AP1 that was in really nice condition. Both AP1s have been very solid and responsive from a chassis standpoint. They have a great shifter and clutch travel that is very short and light but extremely easy to modulate. Great brake feel too. The steering, eh, it's OK. But again, this second car will rev up to 9k and sounded great, but it just didn't provide the enjoyment that I expect from my experience with my Integra or any other engine that is designed for high end operation. I again left with the impression of being underwhelmed by the car.

I've kind of surprised myself with this. The car gets so much positive praise and this engine is heralded as a masterpiece. It's often preferred over the larger engine in the AP2. I actually have a similar situation with my 4.3L engine in my V8Vantage being more of a rever but lower power and torque than the later 4.7 and I actually prefer the 4.3. From what I've experienced, the S2000 can't hold a candle to the NA Elise. They're not even in the same league. The AP1 seems to be missing something to me.

Last edited by me73; 02-25-2018 at 11:48 AM.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-24-2018, 07:47 PM
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The only S2000 I've ever driven left me wanting for power. I could feel the small kick at high rpms, but it was subtle and too little too late IMHO. By the time you get the small kick at high rpms, you have to shift. It just didn't feel responsive with regards to acceleration/power.

The shifter stood out, but I honestly have never driven a manual Honda that didn't shift well.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-24-2018, 07:58 PM
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Is this the 2.0L or 2.2L?

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-24-2018, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Is this the 2.0L or 2.2L?
AP1=2.0
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-24-2018, 09:25 PM
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I owned an AP1 S2000 for about six months after selling my 111R (to fund a house purchase). I thought the S2000 could be a cheaper alternative to the Elise. It was fun, gear change was fantastic, and I didn't mind the engine, but overall it definitely wasn't an Elise. I test drove an RX8 first and found the S2000 much more lively. I fitted 18x9.5s, semi slicks and Bilstein PSS9 coilovers, but ended up selling it for another Lotus.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-24-2018, 10:22 PM
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Owned an AP2 S2000 before I bought my Elise. In fact, I bought the S2000 as a hold over until I could afford an Elise, and I quickly became completely infatuated with the car. Super comfortable, super reliable, gorgeous manual transmission, handled great, subtle styling, great ergos...the list goes on. It won me over and I was/still am a huge fan. When I bought the S2000, I was coming out of a Hyundai Tiburon, so all things being relative, the S2000 may as well have a been a 458 Italia. I never felt it was lacking for power. Seemed to me a very well-balanced package. I still dream about that shifter...
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 07:09 AM
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The first time I drove an S2k what stood out the most was how nose heavy it is compared to our eliges. But everything else like the interior, shift, refinement are all better. But that's not the reason why we buy these cars.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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The first time I drove an S2k what stood out the most was how nose heavy it is compared to our eliges. But everything else like the interior, shift, refinement are all better. But that's not the reason why we buy these cars.
The refinement and interior are higher end in ANYTHING compared to an Elise (my shifter is actually pretty nice, I guess I'm one of the lucky ones). I could say the same about the Miata. There are motorcycles that are better appointed than the Lotus But like you say, that's not the reason for owning an Elise. In fact the lack of those things is the reason for owning an Elise. I hope that when Lotus does introduce the new car in 2020 that none of that changes.

I only mentioned the comparison to the Elise to compare the feeling of acceleration and the fizz of the engine. Not to compare the rest of the aspects of the car. From that aspect, the S2000s that I've sampled feel lazy and uninteresting. The Elise blows it away. Ignoring the numbers, the Miata has a more entertaining sense of speed than the S2000. This is the thing that really has me scratching my head.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 06:38 AM
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Consider this: the car is almost 20 years old. The power to weight ratios have gotten a lot hotted in the last 20 years... shoot, even camrys out accelerate cars from 1999.

I've had 4 S2000s. The 2006 with IHE and FlashPro will have enough power to tickle your fancy. That's the only one that has ever felt "quick" to me. I still prefer the 2000 model because 9k is rad and rear bump steer makes it dance. The 2006 is much better for an inexperienced driver though.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
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Consider this: the car is almost 20 years old. The power to weight ratios have gotten a lot hotted in the last 20 years... shoot, even camrys out accelerate cars from 1999.

I've had 4 S2000s. The 2006 with IHE and FlashPro will have enough power to tickle your fancy. That's the only one that has ever felt "quick" to me. I still prefer the 2000 model because 9k is rad and rear bump steer makes it dance. The 2006 is much better for an inexperienced driver though.
I'm comparing it to cars that are 35 and 25 years old as well as contemporaries so I don't think the era of construction has something to do with it.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 07:30 AM
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So you think a GS-R feels faster? Or a 12a RX-7? I think your relative perception of quickness may have shifted a bit since those days.

But overall, I agree. The S2000 is not "impressive" from an acceleration standpoint.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 10:08 AM
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I think the S2000 and it's F20C motor received accolades because it was so refined. Honda produced a consumer market car with an engine that produced more hp per liter than any other production car. 120 hp/liter, 9,000 rpm, and it was refined and could do it all day, every day.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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So you think a GS-R feels faster? Or a 12a RX-7? I think your relative perception of quickness may have shifted a bit since those days.

But overall, I agree. The S2000 is not "impressive" from an acceleration standpoint.
It hasn't been that long since I've driven those cars, but I take your point. I will say though, that the NB Miata that I just sold may not have been faster, but it sure felt like it was moving faster.

Of all the cars that I've driven/owned that have a small, hard working engine, the S2000 is the heaviest by at least 150 pounds and as much as 450. I'm sure that has something to do with it too as lighter cars can feel faster while not actually going faster.

Last edited by me73; 02-26-2018 at 07:22 PM.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-28-2018, 05:44 AM
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Having driven a few S2000's I think the issue comes down to low end torque. Even the later 2.2L AP2 only makes 150ish ft/lbs of torque so it doesn't have that lunge off the line that feels so good. When one looks at the weight of the car and its torque and compares it to modern cars it's easy to see why it can feel a bit flat when you stab at the throttle at low rpms.

I own a S2000 engine but it's no longer in its original Honda home but instead it's in my Westfield S2000. The Westfield weighs less than 1/2 that of the Honda (mine weighs in at 1275 lbs) so the torque-to-weight ratio is very good. On top of that the engine is fitted with tubular headers and ITB's giving it about 20 hp and 15 ft/lbs more than stock...so when fitted into this lightweight chassis it gets out of the way in a hurry.

I drove a gutted Honda S2000 race car a number of years ago and it was wonderful. Still lacking a bit in low end grunt but keep it spinning and it's very quick and agile.

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-28-2018, 02:41 PM
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I own a S2000 engine but it's no longer in its original Honda home but instead it's in my Westfield S2000.

So you have a Wes2000-field? Or maybe a Wes-two-thousand?

Drives a Prius (clearly knows nothing about cars).

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