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Honda S2000 vs. Nissan 350Z



  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    Congratulations! If you love yours as much as I'm enjoying mine, you'll be a happy man.

    What trim line, color, options, etc. did you get?

    The deals on any 2005's are great, aren't they. And I'm glad I got it - the new 2006's sacrifice some torque to improve the horsepower by just a little bit. I like having that low-end torque, that comes in handy more than 13 extra horses ever will.
  • I agree being that I test drove both 350Z & S2000. What I liked best is the manual shifting of the S2000 over the Z - felt like I was in shifter heaven.

    I live in a northern state, so will garage my S2000 when I buy it, but not until Spring of 2008. Will drive my 1980 280ZX (MT) - have all weather tires on it & have no problem in ice or snow. However, have to put 70 lb sandbag on each side in hatchback.

    Hope I can handle the S2000.
  • zeeyazeeya Posts: 5
    Well, enough about the "Z would be outhandled" by a S2000. A friend of mine owned an S2 and ranted and raved, so much so I actually went to purchase one, never having test driven the Z. I own two sportsbikes, so speed and agility matter and I think, despite being a girl, I have a pretty good handle on which car is, hands-down, the best bang for your buck. After test-driving the S2, although initially impressed, I did have a problem with having to keep it tached constantly and listening the whining of the tinny exhaust. Handling was remarkable, I will admit. I made my offer to the sales manager and went home to receive his acceptance phone call. The following day, on my way to seal the deal, a friend suggested I test drive the Z before making a decision, so I did. I fell in love immediately with the grumble of the exhaust and the fact that I could reach back to stash things without having to exit the vehicle and constantly use the trunk. The leg room and arm room were extremely generous, but enough about the comfort. After the break-in period, when I could finally open this thing up, I found that everyone and their brother (S2000s included) wanted to race, so I gave each and every one of them a good run for their money. At some point, a car is just a car and all the engineering in the world won't help a lousy driver, so, sadly, the S2000 got lost in the dust (well, ok, not lost, but it wasn't outhandling the Z, nor was it getting by.) I never did go back to the Honda dealership and love my Z so much that I am selling my 2003 to get a 2007 convertible - now that the S2000 isn't the only convertible on the block. If you know how to drive, the Z is just as fun as the next sports car and definitely outpowers the S2. Oh, and as for the motorcycle feel, um, I have to say that when I'm not on my bike and I show up at bike night with the Z, I have absolutely no trouble keeping up. As a matter of fact, after an exhilarating chase home, a fellow biker said, "What the heck do you got in that thing?" and 4 months later, bought a Z. Good luck with your decision!!!
  • zeeyazeeya Posts: 5
    I actually had the exact opposite experience. :confuse: The Honda dealer actually pulled the S2 out of the showroom, since they had none in the lot, and let me and my friend both romp on it on the highway. The next day at the Nissan dealership, I was unable to test drive the Z until I signed on the dotted line, but I was guaranteed that I would be able to reneg. if I didn't want the car after the test drive. Still bought the Z and won't own anything else (well, maybe a Ferrari when I hit Lotto.)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Like I said about 9 months ago in this forum, the 350Z and S2000 are, for a similar price, about as far apart in their approach to the "sports car" as you can get. simplified:

    - The S2000 is a limited production 2,850 lb groud up "roadster" that is all about precision. For some, fun begins at 6,500+ rpm, but I found it fun to drive at 30 mph through tight turns in Rock Creek Park. There isn't an ounce of body fat on that car.

    - The 350Z Roadster is a mass production 3,600 lb "convertible" (in spite of name) that is mostly about power (torque). Take it past 6,500 rpm and you'll need a tow truck. It definitely is in its element at a stoplight drag race with a Mustang on one side and a Camero on the other. And, in fairness, it would be a more comfortable, quiet ride on a 350 mile highway jaunt.

    I guess "agility" is in the eye of the beholder. But given that the 350Z Roadster's 3,600 lb weight is 750 lbs (nearly 30%) more than that of an S2000 and Boxster, it certainly doesn't meet my definition for sports car nimbleness. That's even 600 lbs more than my 5 passenger Nissan Maxima SE and only 450 lbs less than our former Isuzu Trooper. So compared to the S2000's 6-pack flat stomach, the 350Z has a big spare tire around the middle. A very big one.

    If you do win that lottery, you might want to reconsider your choice of a Ferrari. The 430 is 400 lbs lighter than the 350Z, has a 8,500 rpm redline similar to the S2000, and a horsepower (high) to torque (low) ratio that is almost exactly the same as the S2000's. You would just be getting more of what you aparently don't like about the S2000. I've driven the Ferrari 360 and you need to run it up to redline to extract maximum performance as well. Which I consider just dandy.

    I suggest that, en-route to the Ferrari dealership, you might stop in the Ford dealership and find a Shelby GT 500 more to your liking. Weight (3,900 lbs)redline (6,200 prm), and gobs of torque to give even the Ferrari a run for the money at that stop light. Plus about $140k cheaper. Yes, it's darn near two tons, who cares, right?
  • zeeyazeeya Posts: 5
    All good points. I actually will probably stop by the Lotus dealership (not Ford) since their newest model looks like it's giving Ferrari and some other top cars a good run for their money despite its lower HP numbers and much smaller price tag. I am not a big fan of Mustangs, especially when their top car boasts a full 100 horse more than a Corvette but couldn't beat its numbers in a one-on-one. The reason I prefer the 350 to an S2000 is the same reason I bought an R1 versus an R6. I don't want to work at going fast...I just wanna get there fast; but, nonetheless, you make a good argument. :)
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 242
    Yes the roadster is heavy, but you should compare the coupe to the S2000, it weighs 3300 lbs (3150 for the pre-06 models). You have a clouded Honda snobbery outlook on this comparison. The S2000 is a focused one-trick pony while the 350 is a better all-around sports car that you can live with day to day. I have driven my 05 touring model for a year with about 20,000 miles and you can commute relatively comfortably in it. The seats are great, it has a decent ride on most surfaces and has plenty of room for two people on a weekend trip. I can get 28-29 mpg on the hiway. No, I've never driven an S2000 but could imagine it is not as comfortable day to day, but would be an absolute blast on Sunday drives on country roads (or at the track).

    For another comparison take a close look at the C&D issue from a couple months ago where the 350Z takes the honors in their new Nuremborg-style track comparison at VIR. The 350 took top honors in the sub-40 grand bracket, just slipping above the mega-hyped EVO MR. I don't even recall if the S2000 was even in the comparison. C&D is using this new method to compare all sporty cars.

    In a couple weeks the updated 07 model will be out with the screaming VQ35HR (306hp SAE rated with 7600 redline). We may see 0-60 in under 5 flat with that car.
  • dblydbly Posts: 2
    Funny I choose the S2000 and the R6. The answer is not which is better S2000 v. 350z; R1 v. R6. The answer is which do you prefer.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "You have a clouded Honda snobbery outlook on this comparison. The S2000 is a focused one-trick pony while the 350 is a better all-around sports car that you can live with day to day."

    "Clouded Honda snobbery"? That's pretty funny. As it turns out, my first new car was a 1978 Datsun B210GX which, as I was buying, was salivating over the 240Z in the showroom. I put 100,000 miles on that car. And have 155,000 miles on a 1995 Maxima SE which I refuse to sell and we keep at our second home, that's how much I like it. I had the S2000 for 2.5 years and 19,000 miles, so my Nissan loyalties are about 235,000 miles ahead of my Honda loyalties. And I continue to recommend the S2000 as the best ground up roadster one can buy under $50k, period. The fact that I now own a 911S Cabriolet does not cause me to think any less of the S2000 or any more of the base Boxster. No Porsche snobbery here, that I can tell.

    The Lotus Elise is a one trick pony (and a good one). The S2000 was a very decent daily driver and accomodated one full size or two travel bag size sets of golf clubs in the trunk. As "comfortable" as the 350Z, no. But therein lies the distinction. The S2000 is a sports car. The 350Z is a GT car without the back seat. Even in coupe form, it weighs 300 lbs more than my 1995 Maxima. If you do ever get a chance to drive the S2000, the crisp handling, tight steering, flick of the wrist gearbox, and overall driving dynamics will tell you, IMO, what a sports car should aspire to.

    I don't have any issue with someone who would say the S2000 is too hard edged and they prefer more of a compromise between a sports car and a GT. I also owned a 1984 Toyota Supra that fit that bill. But, just to put it in perspective, it seated 4 adults and their luggage in reasonable comfort and weighed 2,980 lbs. In this regard, I actually think the G35 Coupe makes more sense than a 350Z coupe. The performance is virtually identical, with the G35 offering more utility and comfort.

    I admit that perhaps my disspointment with the 350Z is that, when it was being developed, it was being touted as the "return of the Z" referring to that original 240Z that I admired nearly 30 years ago. They created a false expectation and pretty much developed the 350Z with a lot of spare parts and not a lot of innovative ground up technology as is found in the S2000. Otherwise, the would have had a 2,850 lb coupe with a sports car like 7,500 rpm engine that would have been capable of competing with the Cayman in the same way the S2000 competes with the Boxster. That's not to say the 350Z is a bad car, just not what I had hoped for from the company that I have logged a quarter million miles with.
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 242
    My apologies--- you make a lot of spot-on statements. Still, 3300 lbs isn't exactly flabby by modern standards, if you consider all the mandated safety features. Also, you can get your 7500 redline in the updated VQ motor in the 07 models.

    Granted if they had the funding to develop a seperate chassis, not based off a mid size lux sports sedan, it would probably be 300 lbs lighter. I guess what's more refreshing is that the G35 only weighs 3500 lbs.

    Anyway, I do want to drive an S2k sometime. Sounds like a fantastic car to drive. I guess what Nissan meant to say was they were shooting for a reincarnated 280Z, not 240Z....
  • it is true that both cars have different high and low points.they do handle is hard to choose as both cars can be fun to drive,my final solution to which to get was a blue06 z and a yellow06s.i alternate depending on mood and miles.some days i need the quieter and roomier z,other days i need to hear my s scream on the road.i respect both cars for thier own nuances.all said, i have 2 cars for the price of one porshe...............
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 242
    Wow!!!! That's the way to do it.
  • you own 2 sports bikes and you cant keep the revs up ?? wtf
  • iancariancar Posts: 31
    Mustang is kinda like your highschool friends, still friendly, but the waistline had expanded and not many new tricks learned. RX-8 is like a girl you meet in the library: sensible, fun, knowledgable, do-everything-right; yet, you want a sport car, not a minivan, right? 350Z is like running away from school: extreme fun, easy-to-do, but deep inside, rebel? yes, but brilliance? not really. S2000 is like playing football; yes, a lot of hard work needs to be done, but once you are in the league, everything just pays off.
  • "S2000 is like playing football; yes, a lot of hard work needs to be done, but once you are in the league, everything just pays off."

    Except that if you're big enough to play football (that is, normal-sized or above) you can't fit into it. Plus the dash is a bad joke. How Honda comes up with silliness like this and the new Civic dash is a great mystery.

    Sorry, this glamorizing with words like "brilliance" is just absurd. Nothing "brilliant" about it. Nice, impractical, undertorqued sports car for smaller people.
  • "Except that if you're big enough to play football (that is, normal-sized or above) you can't fit into it."

    My brother is 6'2", 195, played college football in the early 1990's and fits in an S2000 just fine. Doesn't own one, mind you, as he is a former Porsche racing team member and loyal to the brand. But from taking plenty of runs in an S2000 around various tracks, he would credit it as "brilliant" compared to anything else out of Japan.

    Perhaps you are more waistline challenged or need a muscle car to feel macho, but I would personally like to see more competition along the lines of the S2000 than the 350Z. Not that I'll turn in the keys of my 911, but I respect a good car, regardless of the badge.
  • "Perhaps you are more waistline challenged or need a muscle car to feel macho..."

    Your uncalled-for unpleasantness is an embarrassment to Red Sox nation. I'm 6'5" and 200 pounds, so if I'm "waistline-challenged" so is your wonderful brother.

    The S2000 is simply too small, has goofy, inappropriate instrumentation for its genre, and lacks adequate torque. "Brilliant" it is not. And I'm not impressed one whit by the fact that you own a 911. Overpriced and unreliable, I regret to say.
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 242
    good stuff... keep it coming. we've got to keep the comparisons alive of these two disparate but nearly identically priced sports cars.
  • The S2000's gauges and layout are designed to mimic an F1 car's. Of course Honda has a F1 pedigree and Nissan does not.
    Digital gauges also can avoid the problem of "needle lag" sometimes associated with analog gauges.

    As far as being "brilliant" I know that the S2000 has made C&Ds ten best list and Ward's top ten engines, but I know of no such accolades for the current Z.
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 242
    Are you kidding? Car mags all around the world have raved about the Z. The car was recently featured in CD as the best car on the VIR circuit for under 40 grand cars, and was also the pick in Automobile for all performance cars under 40 grand. The VQ motor has been on the Wards engine list for at least 10 years in a row, you must have confused the Honda motor with that accolade.
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