The Honda S2000 is a high-performance, 2-seat, open-topped roadster with an advanced front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car
configuration. Introduced in 2000 as a commemoration of Honda's 50th anniversary, the S2000 incorporates many of the lessons learned
in the company's five decades of building and racing cars and motorcycles. Its original concept was to be a true sports car that could
serve as both a practical and fun daily driver and a highly capable weekend track racer.
For its 2004 redesign, Honda engineers built on those ideals and elevated the S2000 to a higher class by strengthening the all-around
performance, enhancing the interior and giving the exterior a subtly bolder appearance. The net gain is an S2000 that is simultaneously
an improved track car and an improved daily driver.
On the track, the 2004 S2000 accelerates with increased authority and more pull through corners with a broadened powerband that comes on
sooner and stronger. The new suspension tuning enhances vehicle control qualities at the limit, while minimizing bump steer effects from
road disturbances. Larger 17-inch wheels and tires provide more grip and maximize the suspension tuning.
From 1000 rpm to 8000 rpm, available torque and horsepower increase between 6- and 10-percent. Additionally, useful power for high
performance acceleration begins at about 3000 rpm compared to about 6000 rpm on the 2000 - 2003 models. This performance improvement at the lower rpm ranges can be attributed to the displacement increase, revised valvetrain tuning and the lower gear ratios on gears one
through four that help magnify the engine performance gains.
On the street, the 2004 S2000 transmits less ride harshness, while the enhanced powerband reduces the need to shift as often in certain
circumstances. Interior comfort also improves with more elbow and shoulder room, and the center console now has two cupholders, a storage
tray and more utility.
The sum of the entire series of changes produces significant results on a platform that sets an industry standard for precision and
performance. In short, the 2004 S2000 sports a new muscular feel, refined handling and enhanced interior comfort with better convenience
features while maintaining its focus as a true high performance sports car.
A revised 6-speed, manual transmission provides lower gear ratios on gears one through five, and a higher sixth speed gear for highway
cruising The transmission is a compact design and features a direct shift linkage with class-leading feel and short throws. A Torsen
limited-slip differential smoothly delivers power to the rear wheels, regardless of traction conditions. The S2000 engine and
transmission are capable of accelerating the S2000 from 0-60 mph in less than six seconds.
Honda's racing experience is also evident in the S2000's responsive handling. The chassis has an ideal 50/50 weight distribution, and
the body and frame are a hybrid monocoque-frame structure that forms a rigid, flex-free platform for the S2000's in-wheel double wishbone
suspension system, and plays an important role in helping the S2000 achieve its high level of safety protection. The power steering
system is a highly responsive, electrically assisted type.
Larger front 215/45 87W and rear 245/40 91W tires are mounted on newly-designed 17-inch alloy wheels, and 11-inch brake discs (vented
in front) provide excellent stopping power and brake feel. For 2004, new brake pad material improves the pedal feel and resists fading
in high performance driving. An anti-lock braking system is standard.
The exterior styling of the S2000's body is angular, modern and purposeful, with the 2004 model receiving bolder front end and rear
end styling. Its long hood and flared front fenders create the impression of lowness and mass. The nose has slightly improved
aerodynamics for 2004 that involves re-shaping the front bumper. High sides reinforce the cockpit-like feel of the interior.
The interior is modern and designed with the driver's needs in mind. The seats contour to provide excellent lateral support during
aggressive turns and help minimize fatigue. Outward visibility is unobstructed.
For 2004, controls such as the steering, brakes and clutch, operate with a new level of precision and have an even more direct feel.
The aluminum leather-wrapped shift knob and lever, F1-inspired digital instrument display and separate engine-start button serve as a
reminder of the racing heritage of the S2000.
A freshened exterior appearance gives the 2004 S2000 a more powerful appearance through a wider opening air intake for a pronounced and
bold look. The rear exterior has a wider, more horizontal stance with a lower height. New oval, large diameter, exhaust tips accent a
powerful presence. Larger wheels and tires (17-inch) add to the aggressive demeanor of the S2000. Headlights and taillights have been
reconfigured with triple beam designs (instead of dual beam designs) that enhance an already-sophisticated appearance.
The 2004 S2000 benefits from a wide range of interior enhancements that make it a better all-around daily driver. Redesigned door panels
provide more shoulder and elbow room, and a new center console provides greater utility and improved audio.
Objectives for enhancing the 2004 S2000 chassis included simultaneously improving both at-the-limit track performance and the street
performance during everyday driving conditions. Honda engineers re-visited the performance of the tires and suspension to improve
overall handling of the S2000 and enhance "limit controllability." To accomplish this, the tire size was increased, body rigidity
improved, rear suspension bump steer qualities minimized, and the rear roll center was lowered.
Objectives for enhancing the 2004 S2000 powertrain focus on improved power delivery at low and mid-range rpms while maintaining the
high-revving, race bred nature of the S2000 engine.
Mechanical improvements have been made to many components of the engine and transmission to enhance everyday street driving appeal
and the S2000's capabilities on the track. More torque is available at lower rpms while the overall enhanced power band increases
dynamic transitional capabilities, i.e. exiting corners faster. Significant changes include:
- 2.2-liter engine displacement (increased from 2.0 liters)
- Horsepower and torque band increased 4- to 10-percent between 1000 rpm and 8000 rpm with useful high performance power now starting
at 3000 rpm.
- Transmission gear ratios revised (4% lower on gears one through four)
- Transmission efficiency and direct feel improved with carbon synchronizers
2004 S2000 vs. 2003 S2000:
Between 1000 rpm and 8000 rpm, available torque and horsepower increase between 4 and 10 percent. Additionally, useful power for high
performance acceleration begins at about 3000 rpm compared to about 6000 rpm on the 2000 - 2003 models. The performance improvement at
lower rpm ranges can be attributed to the increase in displacement and revised valvetrain tuning. Lower gear ratios on gears one
through four further magnify the new performance characteristics of the engine.
Story by Honda