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Honda S2000 vs. Nissan 350Z

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  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    Here are the links for the respective Entusist Forums:
    Nissan 350z: My350z/
    Honda S2000: Honda S2000

    Just know you will find the same debates there that you are finding here, only a bit more heated. ;) BUT you will find a great deal of help, information, and perhaps even a local active chapter that promote fun runs (e.g. The Dragon). I'm looking forward to my first fun run in my S2000 this summer.

    Be safe!

    Oh, with any roadster you end up getting, don't forget the sun screen! :shades:
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "But the cost for what you get is influenced by the Honda mystique in my opinion."

    "Honda mystique"? That's pretty funny. :)

    In my opinion, the $30,000 S2000 is the deal of the century, price wise, if what you want is a serious sports car with world class driving dynamics and handling. It compares favorably with the base Boxster at $50k+ and bests both the Z4 and SLK350, both of which are $45k+. The closest thing to an S2000 in driving experience is a Lotus Elise, which is even less civilized for well over $40k.

    The 350Z Roadster does indeed offer more amenities and a more "comfortable" touring style ride. But at 600+ lbs more than the S2000 and Boxster, it can't come close to the S2000 and Boxster in agility and driving dynamics. It really is more of a GT car than a sports car, which is perfectly fine, if that's what you want.

    Back to the "mystique". Honda has it? I don't really think so. I bought an S2000 in 2001 because it was a better car than the mystique-laden base Boxster at the time. Every car that the S2000 competes with has more "mystique". Honda delivers the goods with the S2000 and, in spite of being nearly 8 years old, shows just how well you can do when you set out to build a sports car from the ground up. Something that no other Japanese manufacturer has done in the last decade, period.

    I suspect I could get accused of succumbing to the "mystique" of Porsche with my purchase of a 911S Cab. But I never thought I'd hear that about a Honda. ;)
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    Does mystique = "What is that?"

    I've filled up my tank 3 times, and 2 of the times, I've been asked, "What kind of car is that?" I reply with, "It's a Honda S2000."

    Their response: "That's a Honda?"

    I love it! :shades:
  • dadszdadsz Posts: 14
    Honda Mystique = most reliable cars built so you pay for the quality reputation...

    Although it appears that in some areas that the S is selling for $2,000 under invoice as dealers try to sell their 2006s before the new 2008 redesign hits the lots. So apparently, mystique only goes so far....

    I'd up the ante to jealousy for a Porsche! Mystique doesn't quite get you there with a Porche 911S Cab.... (As in "I wish I had one of those!" and "Holy #@$@! That's the car I'm going to buy when I get rich.")

    Enjoy your car! It's awesome baby... Dicky V mystique does not apply.
  • dadszdadsz Posts: 14
    Yep, there's that too! Great feeling isn't it?
  • tgeentgeen Posts: 20
    Would any S owners (or Z owners, or anyone else) care to enlighten me on how well the S works as a daily driver? My current car is a 2000 Celica GTS, which I have been driving every day for the past seven years. So, I know a thing or two about peaky engines and all that.

    I promised myself to get something with more torque next time, so I've been test driving larger and heavier cars, but driving the S was way more involving and fun than anything else I've tried lately. I'm estimating it has 30-40 ft-lbs more torque to work with between 3000-6000rpms compared to the Celica, and an extra 300 lbs of weight to haul around. It felt quicker through traffic according to my butt-o-meter. Not as grunty as the Z, for sure. But for the same price, I get a drop top. Advice, anyone?
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 242
    If you want a sports car with more torque than you should test drive a Z! And when you miss the high rpms...the Z has a 7500 redline so it's got plenty up top too, the best of both worlds.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I did not find the S2000's 162 ft lbs of torque to hinder its use/enjoyment as a daily driver, when I had a 2002 model for 2.5 years and 18,000 miles.

    Frankly, a bigger issue was the noise level and overall comfort with the top up. I could handle it from the driver's seat, my wife did not like it from the passenger seat. If you will be doing a lot of daily driving with the top up, you may want to test drive it under those conditions.

    Also, do not spend too much time with your calculator doing torque-per-pound or other such calculations. It's performance that counts. In spite of a 100+ ft-lb advantage on paper, the S2000 and 350Z are essentially identical in actual (full throttle) acceleration. Around town, at 50% throttle, the Z's low end torque offers a bit better acceleration, but you will be giving up point and shoot handling and better fuel economy with the S. It's very much a subjective choice.

    Lastly, by comparison, my 911S "only" has a 28 ft-lb advantage over the 350Z, but at around 4 seconds 0-60, is in a completely different league, performance wise. I'm sure there is a statistical way to figure out why some ft-lbs of torque do more than others, but if you can do that, start a hedge fund, make billions, and buy a Ferrari 599. No torque issue there. ;)
  • jkgreer2jkgreer2 Posts: 42
    We own a 2006 S2000 and other Honda & Acura cars. I suggest you test drive the S2000 and the Z, or whatever you are comparing, over a portion of your daily commute. When I walk into the garage every morning, I start smiling in anticipation of the morning commute in the S2000 with top down. At about half way to work, I try to convince myself to continue to work vs. taking off on a longer commute due to the enjoyment of driving the S2000. For the drive home, the same process happens and I try to add a grocery stop or other stop to lengthen the drive. All the while at 23 mpg to 30 mpg (depends on routes taken). Does the S2000 have less torque? May have, but driving it is like riding prior motorcycles, with two wheels added and a top. Any S2000 drive is very enjoyable due to the 6 speed transmission matched to the engine. Does the S2000 have less room? Yes, but my wife does not travel with me to work. Can you carry groceries for a family of 4 or 5 in the trunk? No (drive your other car). Will the car be a 'collector's item'? I think so for sports car enthusiasts, because it is pure fun to drive, as a sports car should be. Good luck with your decision. Life is short. Enjoy every day.
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    I have to agree with everything jkgreer2 had to say, except I spent $150 in groceries (9 plastic bags) and I was able to get it all in the trunk, albeit it was tight. I use my S2000 as a daily driver with the first 15 minutes in stop-n-go traffic and the remaining 25-35 minutes of my morning commute on a open highway (mostly straight). This morning was a perfect 76. I'm not on a lot of twisties but I still enjoy every minute of the commute. The shifting in the rush-hour is effortless while on the open road is exhilarating. The clutch is smooth. Like jkgreer2, my wife doesn't go to work with me either, which might be why we are still married! ;)

    The things you should also consider are your environment (will you get enough time to enjoy the car in your climate), insurance cost (it is high to insure), etc. Would you rather have some of the creature comforts the Z offers or the oneness you feel with the S2000? Do you want a unique car (S2000) or one you see everywhere (350z)? I love being at an intersection and dropping the top. I imagine people looking at me and wishing they had my carefree life. And no, I don't have a carefree life, the S2000 just lets me pretend like I do and allows me to enjoy life; for me, that is priceless.

    This is the first car I can see myself literally driving till 100k or even 200k miles. I've never been able to say that about any car I've owned (in 18 years of driving, this is my 11th vehicle). I've had a mustang GT and while the acceleration was fun, I'm not lacking/missing any fun by the driving the S2000.
  • I think you are on to something with the butt-o-meter. To take that idea a step further, you also need to consider the mass of the vehicle. Too much mass will mask good torque numbers.

    Look at these and you will see why I just ordered the Solstice.

    Solstice GXP/Sky Redline = 11.4 lbs/lb-ft
    Z350 = 13.4 lbs/lb-ft
    S2000 = 17.6 lbs/lb-ft

    The Sol will flat put you deep into you seat.

    I also went with the auto. The torque converter gives you another 2.0 torque multiplication over the gears by themselves.

    Yeeeeeeha!!!
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    @TGREEN:

    Be sure to factor in how long it takes to put up/down a top on a ? An S2000 can do it in less than 4 seconds.

    Don't think it is important? I found myself just last week in some questionable weather but the air was cool and I didn't want to miss out on the cool breeze. So, I dropped the top. About half way home, I could literally see the wall of rain up ahead... I pulled over, pushed the button, and up went the top. I pulled over, put the top up and was was back on the freeway 15 seconds later; another 45 seconds after that, the rain was pouring down on me as I was heading into the rain. If I had been in a Solstice/Sky, I don't know that I would have risked putting the top down, not to mention getting out of the car on the freeway to put the top back up... safety factor there.

    But I can't argue with the push the GXP/Redline has, the looks of the Solstice, nor thier stereos! :) For me though, the S2000 just fits me like a glove, and every control is exactly where I would have put it had I designed the car.
  • rp1947rp1947 Posts: 1
    I purchased a 2005 350z for my wife and the tire problem is not resolved. I was totally unaware of it even thought I usually research vehicles as thoroughly as possible. We keep cars 10 years or more and take care of them. My wife is over 60 and drives on well-kept paved roads. At about 24K, I noticed front end noises that I thought might be brake rotor wear and had her take it back to the dealer. They charged me about $500 for new brakes and rotors and I let her pick it up. I rarely drive the car, but about 3 months later (just under 26K miles on the car), I drove it and noted the exact same noise that I thought the brake replacement should have fixed. I made another appointment, took it in myself, watched them put it up on the rack, look it over and let it down. The service manager said nothing was wrong and I insisted that a mechanic drive the car with me. It would only take 50 feet to pick up the sound. The mechanic told me about "tire roar" while strapping himself in the seat. He picked up the sound before we exited the shop and brought it back to the rack and showed me the inside of the front tires. The service manager couldn't have been ignorant, he just didn't want to mention it. His solution was to give me 1-800-nissan1 number and an estimate to replace all tires along with an alignment.

    I travel extensively, but have tried to get through 3 times now and have never succeeded. Furthermore, I'm not doing anything until I find some better advise than the dealer gave me (I won't be doing business with them in the future. I can't stand being lied to).

    For those of you that think it was fixed after 2004, you're mistaken. They may have delayed the onset of the symptoms, but the service schedule doesn't recommend alignment until 30K. If I had known of the issue, I would have checked the alignment long ago and taken it to a shop with the best equipment. The dealer that quoted it above admitted that they don't have equipment sophisticated enough to accurately correct the 350z.

    I'm aware that the Potenzas are soft (I raced SCCA long ago and know tires and sports cars), but expected 35 to 40 K given my wife's driving habits. If any of you have information on a tire replacement recommendation for the 350z or an alignment machine that is suited for this car's suspension geometry, let me know. After all, my wife isn't going to the dragstrip with the car, she just loves the look and feel of the car and Nissan has no intent of addressing the issue.
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    For your replacement tires, I might recommend you checking out www.my350z.com. I think you may get a better response than on here. I know the S2KI.com has an entire section dedicated to tires. I'm not familiar with the 350 tires but the S also rides on Potenzas. I did some preliminary research on tires and found a nice set for around $400, OEM is closer to $1000 for all four corners. Sounds like your wife may drive like my wife does and $400 would suite my wife just fine and not put her in any danger. I'd have to look it up again, but I believe the manufacturer was Sumitomo.
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 242
    Even with your wife driving there's no way you're going to get 40k out of a set of tires on the 350Z, or any other rear drive sports car with summer tires for that matter. I just replaced my original tires on my 05 Z at 28,000 miles and was very happy at that level. If your tires were going bad at 24k, that is very reasonable (when they starting making noises like they were worn out). I went with the Dunlop Direzzas from tire rack, about 130 a piece for the Z. These would be a good choice for your wife since they will retain a sporty feel, though not as serious a tire as the OEM bridgestones, but they will add a little softer ride and quieter on the hiway, they are the cheapest name brand tire you can get for the Z. But, they still won't work in the snow, never drive in the snow.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "Look at these and you will see why I just ordered the Solstice.

    Solstice GXP/Sky Redline = 11.4 lbs/lb-ft
    Z350 = 13.4 lbs/lb-ft
    S2000 = 17.6 lbs/lb-ft

    The Sol will flat put you deep into you seat. I also went with the auto. The torque converter gives you another 2.0 torque multiplication over the gears by themselves."


    Sorry to pick on you, but this post is EXACTLY why people should NOT put too much credibility in one particular statistic. I trust your numbers above are correct. But, according to Automobile Magazine Automobile Mag:

    "The joy begins petering out by 4500 rpm"

    Maybe that's why they only managed 5.7 seconds 0-60 and 14.2 seconds in the quarter mile - which would put the Solstice dead last in acceleration compared to the S2000 (5.3 /13.8) and 350Z.

    And to think anyone would hamstring a sports car with a power sapping AUTOMATIC SLUSHBOX transmission under some screwed up notion that doing so would somehow increase the torque? Those times above were with a manual transmission - the GM slushbox version is considerably slower. Plus, what the hell fun is a sports car with an automatic?

    If you decided to buy the Solstice for other reasons, fine. But if you are buying it because of your torque per pound calculations, rethink your choice. And for goodness sakes sake don't get a friggin slushbox on a sports car. That move makes Forest Gump look like a rocket scientist.
  • tgeentgeen Posts: 20
    Thanks, everyone, for all the good advice. It's great to have a dilemma where the choices are so delicious that you can't pick a favorite right off the bat.

    I live in Phoenix and I have a choice of daily commutes--I can slog through 7 miles of crawling freeway traffic followed by 11 miles of reasonably quick freeway traffic, or I can take the 35 mile route through the reservation and enjoy the mountains and desert scenery, but at a fairly sedate speed due to the sharp eyes of the tribal police. I respect the speed limits on the reservation, including a very long stretch at 35 mph, so I usually just set the cruise control and enjoy the view. It's funny how I don't mind breaking the speed limits everywhere else, but being in a sovereign nation and all, I just relax and take it easy. Either way takes about 45 minutes.

    Calculating power to weight ratios is a good idea, but it's misleading with these variable-lift valve engines. If I can find the data, I'd like to know what those ratios are like at 3000 rpms, and 4000, etc. Subjectively, the current S didn't feel flat, which is the main thing. And this was with a passenger.

    A cramped cockpit is not much of a ding on a car from the driver's point of view, in my opinion. The driver can't exactly do jumping jacks while the car is moving, so a good seat and good ergonomics mean everything. On a trip of 500-1500 miles, I appreciate good lumbar support and satellite radio more than anything else. Wiggle room is far more important for kids in the back seat. That's not an issue if I'm just driving myself around town.

    Noise and harshness can get old in a hurry, though. Since my time in the S was fairly short, and the top was down and I was laughing out loud for most of it, I'm afraid my judgment was skewed. I will have to consider this more seriously. Thank God there are still some cars that have this effect on me in my old age, anyway.

    It bothers me that many of the rumors I read of the replacement for the S2000 sound like a step in the wrong direction. A 2+2? A V6? An Acura? Yuck. It all sounds to me like an extra 600 lbs and a complete surrender to the automatic transmission mindset. It makes me think I should get a real Honda sports car while they're still in production, and keep it forever. I hope the rumors prove false, and Honda comes up with an evolutionary improvement like Porsche did with the Boxster.

    Speaking of which, can anyone comment on driving a pre-2005 Boxster with a more recent S2000 and 350Z?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "Speaking of which, can anyone comment on driving a pre-2005 Boxster with a more recent S2000"

    After trading my Honda S2000 for a replacement sedan in 2004, I got back into the "fun car" market in 2005 and test drove and nearly bought a 2005 Boxster S (280 hp version). That car was quicker than the S2000, but not be a huge margin. It also would have been a bit more civilized daily driver (less engine noise in top up cockpit, better stereo, etc.). But, bottom line, at $58,000 for a well loaded Boxster S, that's a significant price premium over an S2000 for some to justify. Of course, then I went and got a 911S, at an even greater premium, but the fact that it holds our entire family made it easier.

    If you are looking at a pre-2005 Boxster S (258 horsepower), it is more comparable to the S2000 in performance. The base Boxster is not - the S2000 is definitely quicker than all versions of the base Boxster.
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 242
    the 07 Z is just as fast as a new Boxster S, and the 08 Z will feature the new 330hp+ 3.7 litre motor (from the new G37 coupe), so expect an extremely fast Z next year!
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    350Z conv - 306hp / 3580 lbs.
    Boxster S - 295hp / 2990 lbs.

    Is 10 extra HP really able to overcome a 600 lb weight disadvantage? Even the 350Z coupe weighs 350 lbs more than the Boxster S.
This discussion has been closed.