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Honda S2000 vs. Nissan 350Z



  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "the s2k had some good power in it but, it doesnt compare to the z."

    I think it's pretty obvious that there are fans of the S2000 and fans of the 350Z. Personally, I think those that say the "like both cars" are trying to be diplomatic. The S2000 and 350Z are about as far apart in their approach to sports car performance as one can get in the $32k+/- price range.

    But, being diplomatic myself, the "objective" performance difference between the two cars is not that significant. The March 2005 edition of Road and Track had an excellent extensive comparison test of nine (9) cars in its search for the "Best All-Around Sports Car". The cars tested were the BMW Z4 3.0i, Corvette, Viper, S2000, Lotus Elise, SLK350, 350Z (Anniversary Edition), Boxster S and 911S Coupe. The test had "objective" ratings of acceleration, handling, braking. The Honda S2000 came in 7th out of 9; the 350Z came in 9th out of 9, due primarily to much more powerful competition (Although the 911S, with "only" 355hp compared to the 500hp Viper and Corvette came in 1st.). The S2000 beat the 350Z in 0-60, 1/4 mile, slalom and skidpad. The 350Z beat the S2000 in 60-0 and 80-0 braking.

    Including subjective ratings on "fun to drive", engine, gearbox, steering feel, etc., both the S2000 and 350Z wiggled their way up a notch to 6th and 8th respectively, at the expense of the 7th place BMW and 9th place SLK respectively. Finally, add in price, and the S2000 moves past the Viper into 5th place.

    And guess what? I hope none of this really matters to most of the posters here. I certainly didn't buy my 2005 911S Cab on the basis of it coming in 1st place (price independent) in a 20 page article in a $3 magazine. Or my previous 2002 S2000 on the basis of magazine articles at that time. I test drove everything out there and came to my own conclusions as to what was best for me. The S2000 and 911S came out on top. I often read the articles after the fact to see how closely my opinions match the testers, but not to form or change mine.

    No offense to our women posters, but a good friend from my long ago single days used to joke that we'd never get into a fight over the same woman at the beach. His primary metric was large bust size, mine was low body fat. I'm pretty sure he'd take a 350Z or Viper over my former S2000 and 911S. To each their own, as they say. ;)
  • Habitat1,

    Enjoyed your comments about the S2000 and the inclusion of the 911S in the discussion. As you may remember from my participation on this forum several months ago, I own a 2006
    997S and have an eye on the S2000. My interest in the S2000 has increased since I learned it's being discontinued. The
    attractive current price has stimulated my appetite as well. I contacted several dealers last week and the lowest quote I got was $29,000, including handling charges. I'm almost certain I could get it for $28,800 or so.

    I was planning on buying a 2008 997 GT3, but I'm being discouraged by the surprisingly low 997S trade-in value. Further, a cooperating dealer who agreed to process a privately-sold deal is unwilling to guarantee that I will get a GT3. Thus it seems that the most likely scenario would be to place a deposit on several dealerships, wait until my time comes (Spring 2008) or a standing allocation is cancelled, and accept a massive depreciation hit at transaction time. In short, getting a GT3 is a traumatic experience in a decisively sellers market situation for someone who is neither track-bound nor wealthy. So I'm thinking about waiting for a year or so until the market settles. Assuming, of course, that the 2009 GT3 will be produced.

    I love my 7,500 miles CarreraS and am happy to keep it for a couple of years, until the warranty expires. In the interim, a Honda S2000 would be an economically feasible track toy for my forthcoming retirement days. Indeed, if I really love it, I may keep it for life. Again, in a year or two, the current euphoria for the GT3 may have subsided or perhaps the 2009 CarreraS would be close enough to today's GT3, performance-wise In short, at current prices, the classy and vanishing S2000 seems to be a tempting and painless "time-buying" alternative. I'll be keeping my stick shift 2005 Volvo S60 as a winter-backup.

    I would welcome your thoughts (as well as other's)about my plan. Thanks!
  • Thanks a lot for the info. Yes, I was aware of the article and indeed bought the MT June issue because of it. At any rate, I just viewed the videos once again and the GT3 in particular brought back a torrent of adolescence emotions.
    This is pure therapy for an old person.

    Thanks again and take care.
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 242
    That MT test was about the most worthless comparo I've ever seen! How can you compare a 20g honda civic over cars costing several hundred thousand? C/D did a more realistic comparo in a similar vain a few months back where they broke all the cars into categories but still compared the segments too.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Funny, I asked my dealer about the GT3 when I was in for service a couple of months ago. His response was "how many times have you been to the Porsche (or other) Performance Driving School?". It is his opinion that, unless you really learn how to drive a 911 from professionals, that 97% of most drivers would not be able to push a 997 C2S to it's limits. And only a small fraction of the other 3% could handle a GT3. He has received three (3) GT3's so far and actually talked one of the buyers out of taking the car because they "wouldn't have known how to use it". He sold him a 911 Turbo instead, which is more civilized and forgiving.

    I'm curious as to what you consider "massive depreciation". I bought my 2005 S Cab with an MSRP of $102k+ for $92k in September 2005. Today, 19 months and 13.6k miles later, I think I could sell it privately for close to $80k. Maybe I'm being optimistic, but there are still people in the DC area that think a $3k discount on a new 911 is a good deal, and would be looking at a 2007 MSRP of over $105k for a comparably equiped car.

    As I've exhibited, I'm a big fan of the S2000. That said, it would be a little tough going back to one from a 911S. Especially for me, because I'd be trading a "family car" for a two seater in the eyes of my daughters. Actually, same holds true for the 2-seat GT3. So neither of those are realistic temptations for me.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. But if you do go for the GT3, I would budget an extra $6k for a couple of sessions at the Porsche driving school. I'll join you for one of them. :)
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Well, I didn't take much stock in all the computer graphs they published, but I would hardly call it worthless. The detailed descriptions of how the cars feel on the road and track (ride, turn-in, power, etc.) was interesting, and the lap times did make for an interesting comparison.

    The videos on the website are also entertaining.
  • Thanks for your reply. Correct, after driving a 997S, it would be difficult to be satisfied with almost anything else. I have experienced that already. However, I enjoy going back and forth from one vehicle to another and experience contrasting design quality and dynamic character. Further, I view the S2000 as a suitable and relatively economical track-training tool.

    By "massive depreciation" I mean a current 22% hit on a 2006 997S delivered on August, 2005. Your case is a bit different, you bought a 2005 convertible in September, after the 2006s 997S began to arrive. As a result of these timing differences, I got only a 2 1/3% discount as oppossed to your 10% discount. Naturally, I'm impacted more dramatically than you do.

    Insofar as the 997 GT3 is concerned, it is not my intention to push it even close to its limits but rather to experience its character (sound, purity of feedback, power/torque, etc.)on both street and track environments. As you know, not every GT3 owner is necessarily a
    hard core, track-oriented person.

    I'm still undecided with respect to buying a 2007 S2000. However, I probably will. The lowest quote I have received is $29,500.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "I'm still undecided with respect to buying a 2007 S2000. However, I probably will. The lowest quote I have received is $29,500."

    I paid $32,000 for a 2002 S2000 in November 2001 and thought I got a heck of a deal. The Edmunds "TMV" at the time was $36,800, $4,000 OVER MSRP. So $29,500 seems like a no-brainer, if you like the car.

    "As you know, not every GT3 owner is necessarily a
    hard core, track-oriented person."

    I would have said that about "regular" 911's and even Turbos, but the GT3 does tend to appeal to the more hard core drivers. According to my dealer, the settings on the PASM are dialed up a notch or two on the GT3, making for a jolting ride over rough streets even in the "regular" mode. "Sport" mode can be downright painful, except on a track or very smooth highway. I am pretty sure the GT3 would be a hoot to drive - for all the reasons you cited (especially the 8,400 rpm redline)- but I doubt I'd have driven it daily the way I do my 911S. As long as the buyer is aware of that, it's their money. But it's not exactly an easy car to find to test drive. Every one of the dealers I've asked has sold out their allocation way in advance and they only way to get a test drive is to bribe an existing owner.
  • Yesterday I gave a deposit for a new 2007 S2000. I'll sign up the papers tomorrow. I got it for $29,300. As you have noticed, the current supply appears to be dwindling and I didn't want to continue searching at the risk of missing the opportunity to buy a new one in the silverstone/black interior combination I wanted.

    By the way, if you are interested in driving a 997 GT3, I would suggest joining Rennlist. The core 997 GT3 forum participants are very committed to their beloved track toy and I have no doubt would let you drive their GT3s. Indeed I have been invited to drive a couple of them without solicitation. These enthusiasts are very friendly, extremely knowledgeable about their sport, and have a great sense of humor to boot.
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    Where are you located? There is a dealership here in town that is selling their S2000 at $28,500 (and they have two reds and two silverstones). Let me know if you are interested in the dealership name and who to contact to get this price. This dealership does have the Presidents Award and are top notch dealer (but of course you do have to watch the numbres at any dealer so don't get in with blind faith that they wont fudge somethinge).
  • trucktrickstrucktricks Posts: 45
    Hey don - I am very interested in your selection of the S2000. I am considering a purchase of the Solstice GXP. Since these cars are nearly identical in size and weight, I ran a comparison of the Solstice with the S2000. In all due respect, the Solstice is a landslide winner in this comparison. For example:

    Solstice vs S2000

    260HP vs 237HP
    260 lb-ft @ 2500rpm vs 162 lb-ft @ 6800 (WOW!)
    22/31 MPG vs 20/26 MPG
    P245/45R 18 tires vs P245/40ZR 17‘s
    100,000 mile powertrain warranty vs 60,000
    XM radio vs not available

    Now here is the clinker:

    $25,057 vs $31,637

    Now styling of course is an entirely subjective thing but the Soltice looks much more up-to-date to me. What am I missing here???
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136

    You are missing the weight difference of the two cars, the Honda reliability, S2000 proven track record, and residual value. :)

    If I may chime in here, I don't think you can get a Solstice GXP at $25,057, can you? That is the invoice pricing and you haven't added any options yet. There is more to than just numbers on paper, the subjective factors. Personally, the S2000 fits me. I'm fairly slender (140#, 5'9"). In the S, I'm planted; in the SOL, there was not enough bolster support for me, I slid side to side.

    The nice thing is that all three (S2000, Sky, and Sol) are all produced in limited numbers so the uniquness remains in tact.

    I did stop a guy on the street who was more than happy to talk about his Sky R/L. He was a considerably larger man, height and width wise and said he preferred the Sky because he thought it looked like a mini corvette, not the mention he could fit better in the Sky. :) He got the 5speed automatic and said it was smooth. I haven't heard that the stick is very smooth; perhaps that will be addressed in 2008 models.

    Either way you go, let us know what you think after you drive them.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,173
    The Sky is an econobox, built to a pricepoint and it shows. There is a lot of lessons to be learned when the next generation bows (which in GM terms will be in about 10 years) starting with the piece-parts approach. Lessee, the rear end comes out of the CTS, the engine from a Cobalt (mounted longtitudinally for RWD application, good luck checking the oil dipstick stuffed in front of the firewall) and the not so slick gearbox pulled out of a Colorado pickup truck.

    Add to that the lawnchair support of the front buckets, those asthetic humps that impede on any rearward vision unless you put your hand on the seat and prop yourself up over to see (Not the best move while driving) and door sills that are about eye level giving you the feeling sitting in a clawfoot tub.

    Then, there's the ill-fitting, cumbersome-to-operate soft top that looks like an afterthought and if you plan on taking taking your wife/girlfriend with you on a weekend getaway, leave your change of clothes at home. Or, have her follow you with the bags in another car.

    Good thing all this good stuff remains in the Turbo version, including the clunky pickup truck gearbox.... Um no. Yay, so they added more power, just enough to keep up with a 7 year old NA design.

    On the reliability front, the S has an excellent record. The car is overbuilt, the engine is bulletproof even with its ridiculous 9000RPM redline. The Kappa, eh not so much (Black circles in the CR and a "not recommended" rating). Tranny issues and bad rear ends are common along with water leaks (wonder why) from everything I read about them. 100k mile warranty? Gonna need it.

    Drive them both. Congrats on your choice. :shades:
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    In defense of space, if someone is looking at a two seater roadster, there are ways around the space issues. The original roadsters used to luggage racks where you could bungie cord your duffle bags to (I believe the original Miatas had them, IIRC).

    Regarding the piece-parts approach, Ford did the same thing with the Mustang. Look at the air vents of the mustang and the F150. They are the same. Even the Ford Ligtning had brakes from an F250 (or was it the differential?). It makes economical sense to share the parts bin, as long as you are taking the quality parts. :) As much as I love the Sky's look, I fear it may be another Fiero. While the Fiero looked great... I'll just leave it at that. :)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "I ran a comparison of the Solstice with the S2000. In all due respect, the Solstice is a landslide winner in this comparison....What am I missing here???"

    With all due respect, you didn't "run" any real comparison, you looked at a bunch of paper statistics. If you got your butt in the seat of an S2000 and Solstace GTP back to back, you'd (hopefully) figure out what you are missing. And it's a lot.

    The S2000 outperforms the Solstace in every category. Not by a large margin from a "statistical" comparison, but an enouromous amount with respect to how a refined sports car should feel. A quote from the Edmunds editors in their review of the Solstace GTP:

    The combination of heavy steering, imprecise shift action and fading brakes led us into trouble in one decreasing-radius corner. Wide Goodyear Eagle tires and the GXP's standard stability control kept us on our intended line, but it was a little lesson that while this car has some serious capability, it's not a very handy package.

    Regardless of its impressive 65.2-mph speed in our slalom test, the boys at the test track believe the GXP's poor control feel and lack of a close-ratio six-speed transmission will lead it to be overlooked by people who are really savvy about sports cars. Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton notes, "The unintuitive clutch uptake and heavy-handed shift action don't provide the driver with the kind of no-brainer experience a sports car should."

    If you think a big boxy vinyl sided McMansion in the suburbs "beats" Frank Lloyd Wrights Fallingwater because it has 2 more bedrooms and three and a half more bathrooms, go for it. And park your Pontiac in the garage. But for those that seek precision, performance and refinement in a high quality package, there really is no comparison between the Solstace and the S2000.
  • trucktrickstrucktricks Posts: 45
    Okay, so I just dug a little deeper on the cost issue.

    MSRP for the Solstice is $26,515. If you add air (it is optional), the total comes to $27,475. This compares to 34,250 MSRP for the S2000. That is a $6875 difference. That is a huge number …. as in a cruise vacation to Hawaii for my wife and I. Knock $3000 off of each one for proper deal making and you still have a huge difference.

    Don’t know about the reliability thing. My latest experience with a GM vehicle has been with my 2002 Tahoe. It has been virtually bulletproof for its 129,000 miles. Probably too soon to tell on the Pontiac. But with 100,000 miles on the warranty, I must say I am not the least bit concerned.

    I am leaning toward the automatic which was on the Solstice I drove. It is a snappy shifting unit also used on Cadillac CTS, STS, SRX and some BMWs. That’s another $850. (There goes the captain’s preferred deluxe cabin with porthole windows.)

    As far as the weight, if you assume a 175# driver, the Solstice comes in at 12.1 lbs/HP and the S2000 is 12.8 lbs/HP. Pretty close there. But the fatter torque curve would clearly give the advantage to the Solstice in terms of raw performance. And at $3.70/gal premium fuel, that 31 MPG looks pretty good to me………..

    Styling wise, again very subjective, I like the cleaner, simpler lines of the Solstice or Honda over the Sky. Kinda reminds me of an AC Cobra which is my all time favorite.
  • trucktrickstrucktricks Posts: 45
    Unfortunately, I don't have any "test tracks" here to do my comparisons. Besides, I am buying this car to drive on the streets and highways.

    Also, you get a D- in spelling.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Hey, I just noticed that the Solstice is $90,000 cheaper than the Aston Martin Vantage and $175,000 less expensive than the Ferrari F430 Spider!
  • Thanks for the offer. I reside in New Rochelle, NY. Does the $28,500 includes handling charges? It sounds too good to be true. Nevertheless, I would love to give them a call.

    Thanks again!
This discussion has been closed.