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Honda S2000 vs. Nissan 350Z

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  • it is true that both cars have different high and low points.they do handle diffently.it 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.
  • Honda's F20c motor used in the S2000 did make Ward's 10 best twice, though you did remind me that the VQ is a multiple award winner too. Of course when comparing the S2000 to the Z I would only consider the 3600 lb 'vert version of the latter for fair compairsons sake. Did C&D make that same distinction?
    From what I make on edmunds you can option a 'vert Z up to $45k which I think is a different price bracket shared with the like of Boxters, Elises, etc. of the world.
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 242
    true C/D was talking about the coupe, not the 'vert...
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Did a comparo of 5 convertibles back in 2003. The Audi TT, BMW Z4, Porsche Boxster, 350Z and S2000.

    http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/6846/the-blow-dryers.html

    They thought the S2000 wouldn't be a competitor because it is so much less expensive than the others, and powered by a small 2.0L engine.

    It won the comparison. It was the most responsive handling car, 2nd quickest in straight-line acceleration (behind the BMW), and fastest lapper around BeaveRun. It was also the harshest riding and smallest of the bunch. The 350Z, on the other hand, was praised for it's sporty character and it's comfort, but was panned for it's curb weight and cave-like, high silled cockpit.

    Personally, I don't get this comparison (S2000 vs. 350Z). To my mind, it's like comparing a Bell 206 to a Cessna 206.
  • "The S2000's gauges and layout are designed to mimic an F1 car's."

    That's swell. Wake me up when you enter an F1 race in one, will you? The gauges are goofy, like the new Civic's and an earlier Prelude's. Why Honda comes up with such stuff periodically is beyond me. Especially when they have terrific instrumentation in utility vehicles like Accord, Odyssey, and Pilot. They just can't seem to resist gimmickry. Ask redsoxgirl when she expects to see instruments like S2000's appearing in a Porsche. Answer: Don't hold your breath. Simply inappropriate.

    Look, I've owned two Benz 2.3-16's with Cosworth-designed racing engines (see Automobile magazine's Feb 2007 issue), so I know how to and what it's like to drive cars that have to be revved to the max to get real grunt. Fun for awhile but over time tiresome to drive.

    S2000 is a nice toy--if you can fit--but "brilliant" it is not. NSX shows that Honda is capable of "brilliance." And note that I've never claimed the Z to be "brilliant," either. Both are very nice, fun-to-drive cars--different, but still really nice cars. But the over-the-top worship of the S2000 by a few here is just annoying.
  • Well actually the S2000 digital gauges are being spread in the Honda family now as the Civic has a digital speedo. Porsche is not the end all be all of sport cars. I test drove a 968 before buying the honda, a 4 cyl with about the same hp as the S2k, and bought the S2k w/o reservation. Jeremy Clarkson can sum it up better that I do - check out his comparo on youtube b/t S2k, Z3, and one other car I forgot which.

    I just wish more carmakers made no frills sports cars, light weight and nimble but sadly things are going in the comfort/overbuilt/gadgetry direction b/c American drivers want to be coddled all the time. Little do they know that less is actually more when it comes to sports cars. In other words I would rather drive a 2000 Miata over a 2000 V8 Mustang b/c it is a more visceral connected experience.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "Why Honda comes up with such stuff periodically is beyond me."

    When you have a tach that runs to 9,000 rpms, you want to highlight it as a feature. An ordinary, circular analog dial would be... ordinary.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "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."

    You are certainly welcome to your opinion, just try stating it as such.

    I put 20k miles in a Honda S2000 over 2.5 years and found the instrumentaion to be just fine. This is a no-frills sports car and the LED tach is a better altenative to analog guages, especially when you are taking it up to it's 9,000 rpm redline. But if you want to buy a sports car based upon instrumentation as a top priority, that's up to you.

    As far as "brilliance" goes, Getting more HP per liter than a Ferrari 360 and implementing some of the most advanced technolgy in anything under $60k is a big step towards deserving that accolade, IMO. The S2000, as a roadster, far exceeds the 350 Z coupe in responsive handling, steering, gearbos crispness, etc. The 350Z convertible is the Queen Mary II by comparison. The S2000 is ground up new technology, in much the same way (or better) than the NSX was at the time it was introduced

    As far as the 911 being "overpriced and unreliable". I also happen to own one now (2005 Cab "S" model). I did a lot of research into it before buying, since it exceeded my next highest new car purchase by a factor of 2.5. You might find that too pricey for your blood, but it's barely half of a Ferrari 360 and the performance is comparable. Price/value is highly subjective, but again, there was nothing out there that floated my boat in terms of build quality, reliability and performance

    As far as the 911 being unreliable however, that is more objective matter and you are just plain WRONG. The 911 is about as bulletproff as any high end sports car can get. I now have 12,500 miles on it's odometer and I went ahead with an oil change at 10,000 miels and 1 year, in spite for the insitance by Porsche that you car wait to 2 years and 20k miles. JD Powers ranked Porsche above Lexus this year as the #1 quality manufacturer. Even Consumer Reports gives it a recommended mark and they are not exacly fans of sports cars. So you might want to recheck you facts on that one.

    If the S2000 at $32k isn't brilliant from an engineering and performance standpoint, I'd like to hear what you think is.

    P.S. Sorry to hear that you can't fit. It's one of the few times I was glad I am height challenged, at 5'7". And in the case of the 911, my 5'1" wife and two pre-teen daughters can go along for the ride, as well.
  • tidestides Posts: 3
    Habitat, I remember you posting on the S2000 threads from awhile back. Glad to see you're stil extolling the virtues of the S2000.

    I've wanted one since it came out, and had an opportunity to buy one a couple of car purchases back. I decided to go with another car, since I was already coming from a torqueless Prelude vtec.

    I've now driven the current 2.2 powerplant, and I have to say Honda has made big strides with the low end torque. I'm impressed.

    The car just feels right. Fits like a glove. In addition, the clutch/manual combination is heaven. You forget you're driving a stick because it's so natural and effortless. I didn't find the clutch to be too soft. I'd driven a Civic Si immediately before, and it felt like work rowing through the gears and the clutch made my foot tired.

    I think it's a tribue to the S that we're still talking about it and heaping praise on it 8 years later.
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 242
    "You are certainly welcome to your opinion, just try stating it as such."

    I would hope most of us can recognize that people are stating their opinions here!
  • "That's swell. Wake me up when you enter an F1 race in one, will you? The gauges are goofy, like the new Civic's and an earlier Prelude's. Why Honda comes up with such stuff periodically is beyond me."

    Driving an S2k is the closest thing you'll ever get to F1 technology without having to buy a Ferrari. Strap on a Mugen full exhaust and it even sound like one, less the 4 cylinders. Honda pioneered variable valve timing which you now see a lot of other manufacturers are using to improve performance; which I think is brilliant!
    As far as the gauges.. it's a niche-market technology. Why it's beyond you might have something to do with the factor of age? Don't get me wrong, nothing wrong with analogs(I especially like the Audi's). But people are often afraid to accept new things. Maybe it's the S2000's way of telling us.. welcome to the new millenium. The digital age. Even if future buyers were to consider not getting an S2K because of it's "goofy" gauges, they'd be at fault not to test drive it first and take it to redline b4 making a decision.

    :)
  • My other car is a VW GTI with analog gauges and comparing them to the S2k's there is no difference in readability. A very close analogy would be a digital clock compared to a standard one.
  • Greetings everyone. I'm new to the forum. I have enjoyed reading many of the posts in this topic area and am impressed with the knowledge base here. I realize that my question is a bit off the S vs. Z topic, but am hoping that you will be able to help me out.

    I will be moving to Ohio shortly to begin my residency training. To celebrate being done with medical school, I have decided to purchase a new car. My search began with the new Civic Si. While I enjoyed the 6-spd gear box, high-revving engine and creature comforts, I decided that I am looking for something with a little more 'meat'. A friend suggested I give the Subaru WRX a test drive given the fact that AWD might be nice during the winter. While this had a bit more under the hood, I missed the slick Honda transmission.

    This brings me to the S2000. While I don't have the funds to buy a new S, I do think I could put together a few grand above what a new Si would cost to purchase a reasonably young (04-05) S without too many miles on it. So, to get to my question, is it feasible to have an S2000 as a daily driver in a state like Ohio that gets a decent amount of snow? I'd be willing to spend some money on a decent set of snow tires if this makes any difference.

    I appreciate your thoughts and comments...
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "So, to get to my question, is it feasible to have an S2000 as a daily driver in a state like Ohio that gets a decent amount of snow? I'd be willing to spend some money on a decent set of snow tires if this makes any difference."

    Sorry, the answer is "no". If you could figure out a way to buy a cheap winter car or SUV, that would be the way to go. I speak from the experience of having an S2000 for 2.5 years and being originally from Erie. Snow tires could help you get through the occassional 2-3" we get in Washington, DC. But Erie has had 100+ inches so far and you'd be pushing or pulling an S2000 more than you would be driving it, even with snow tires.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,174
    There are a couple of guys in the NE club that drive theirs year round with a good set of snow tires. But from what I gather, anything over like 3 - 4 inches of snow and you are pretty much dead in the water. The S is really not a four season car IMO, so I would probably steer away from it as a DD. Trust me, there may be 364 days of perfectly acceptable driving weather, but that 365th day will be the worst day you'll ever have to be stuck with an S2000 as your only car.
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    I've been wanting to see Heel & Toe in action and that video was perfect. Thanks for the link!
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    First, I'll state my credentials below so you will understand the invaluable addition I'm about to add to this thread.

    The S fits me, the Z doesn't. Done. :) The S is like an extension of how I see myself. Perhaps because I am a gymnast, not sure. I sit in the S and I feel at home. Perception is reality.

    Now that that debate has been settled, I'd like to comment on some other issues that have been brought up here...

    Dash/instrumentation: Brilliant. I love the dash. You glance down and see how fast you are going. None of this asking yourself, "Does that little tick represent 3mph, 5mph or 10mph - bang! You just crashed into a state trooper because you were too busy counting the ticks on your odometer and weren't paying enough attention to the road." The dash is innovative, weather you agree with me or not. Innovation is how they developed the S in the firs place.

    Fuel Economy: Yes, it takes premium. So. I have a WRX Turbo that uses the same premium gas but gets nowhere near the mpg with or without spirited driving.

    Fun-Factor: You have to drive this car to truly understand what it means to flick your wrist to change gears. Okay so the defroster comes on occassionally while shifting. So. Turn it off.

    Top Up/Down: Only the miata maybe quicker but we are Americans and we are lazy, we want buttons.

    Visual Appearance: The S is sexy and smooth (again, how I see myself but I digress). :) The Z is industrial which I don't care for. For those of you keeping score, the Z doesn't fit me and I don't care for the way it looks (the G35 visually does look better but the last I checked, the G35 isn't available in a roadster). Z = 0, S = 10 (bonus points were added just because).

    Me: I'm 5'9" 140#; my waist line is 29" and my inseam is 32"; and I'm very broad shouldered. While everything above is opinion, this last statement is fact and I consider the debate closed. :)

    I do need to add that I don't have an S yet but I plan on it within the next 6 months. I've waited long enough. :)
  • ga_kingga_king Posts: 4
    I have got a short answer to your rivalry, no contest. the S2000 is the clear winner. The "new" Z is built upon a sedan design and handles more like a 4-door than a roadster. PERIOD
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 242
    I just drove my Z almost 3000 miles cross country, from DC to California. Try that in your beloved S2000! :)
  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    "The "new" Z is built upon a sedan design and handles more like a 4-door than a roadster."

    You must have confused the Z with something else. While it uses the same platform as the Infiniti G35, it was designed from the beginning to be a roadster and a coupe. It definitely handles like a sports car, not a sedan. Which you might know if you'd ever driven one. :shades:

    Matter of personal preference, but to me the Z looks and feels like a fun-to-drive sports car. The S2000 looks, handles, and sounds like a toy.

    But choice is a good thing. If you're happy with what you've got, that's all that counts.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "You must have confused the Z with something else. While it uses the same platform as the Infiniti G35, it was designed from the beginning to be a roadster and a coupe. It definitely handles like a sports car, not a sedan. Which you might know if you'd ever driven one."

    I think you are the one that is confused. The 3,600+ lb 350Z convertible is about as far from a "ground up" roadster as Rosie O'Donnell is from a trim, fit, female athlete. Nissan's ingenious engineers borrowed the engine from the Maxima and Pathfinder, the chassis from a coupe and just about everything else they could get their hands on from the spare parts bin.

    The coupe is no better, outweighing the S2000 and Cayman by 600 lbs. If you think that makes for great two seat sports car like handling, then I wish you and Rosie the best on those hot dates on winding roads. Perhaps if you have her lean in the opposite direction of your turns, you could improve the handling to only one rung below S2000 level. ;)

    P.S. I have nothing against Nissan, per se. My 1995 Maxima SE 5-speed is still going strong at our second home with 154k miles on the odometer. But even it weighs 600 lbs less than the 350Z convertible and 400 lbs less than the coupe. Somewhere between the idea of bringing back the spirit of the original 240Z and the execution of the current 350Z, Nissan went into cost cutting, parts sharing, the hell with building a real sports mode. They ended up with a car that is closer in weight to our former Isuzu Trooper than a real 2 seat sports car like the S2000, Cayman or Boxster. That may have made the company a lot of profit from mass market John Q Publics, but it didn't win any respect from real enthusiasts, like me, who not only have driven the 350Z, but also the original 240Z. And, Senator Quail, the 350Z is no worthy successor to the 240Z. Not even close.
This discussion has been closed.