Honda S2000 vs. Nissan 350Z

tnjrobi1tnjrobi1 Member Posts: 41
edited March 2014 in Honda
My wife & I are looking for a toy. The top 2 choices are the Honda S2000 & the Nissan 350Z. We trust both brands to be dependable and both are around $32,000.

I know one is a convertable and one is a coupe, but it's about the fun not the details.

Please let me know what you think.
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Comments

  • njexpressnjexpress Member Posts: 170
    While I am not too technical, I have gone thru' my share of ownership / test drive experiences of some fine automobiles in the US and I am sure that entitles me to consider myself a serious auto buff :D - Here are my 2 cents:
    I was waiting for the redesigned Mini S convertible for a while. When it became apparent that it was not going to be released until 2008, I seriously started cross shopping the Z and the S2K.
    They are both very good cars - But, the S2K is arguably the funnest car I have ever driven. I would not be exaggerating if I said that riding the S2K top down over dry pavement on a decent weather day is sheer, unadultrated automobile Nirvana. :):) I would not say the same about the Z. The Z comes standard with some rich heritage (so does the S2000, although pople don't seem to realize or remember - After all, the S600 was the first car that Honda ever built when expanding into Car territory, unless I am totally mistaken - The civic came the following year), had a more powerful engine and I am sure does a better 0-60 sec time than the S2000, and is also available as a convertible variant. The S and Z can both be used as serious track cars and they are capabale of unleashing some serious power. The S and Z can both be used as serious track cars.
    But, to me, zero to 60 isn't everything in a roadster, unless the owner robs banks for a living and the standard commute is more like a standard getaway attempt... ;) Handling is everything, and in that department, the S2000 reaaallly shines... All the claims about the S handling like a motorcycle are so true, according to me anyway. AND, that was the biggest scale tipper... Me and the wifey test drove both the S2K and the Z, liked both, wavered for a while on the Orange Z but during subsequent drives, fell in love with the S2000 and decided to go with it- We ended up buying a 2002 S2000 in the end for the following reasons:
    1) FUN FACTOR!!!!!!!!!!! It kicked the tails out of the Z on that score!!! I realy fell for the zip zap zoom handling and there was virtually no understeer while coming into or getting out of curves in highways. Now, by that, I don't mean hair pin bends!!! Use your own discretion in the level of respect you would show those danged steep curves, whether you drive a Z or an S2K or a lawnmower, for that matter!!! Ahoy there, Dear Z owners - I am not attempting to ruffle any feathers - Just sharing my honest opinions, that's all.
    2) Although they both have near 50:50 weight distribution, I felt that the Z had a heavier tail, compared to the S. Maybe I was imagining it - If I was, then, It was definitely due to the handling (or lack there of, on the Z).
    3) I must say at this point that the Z is a heck of a lot more torquey than the S, which feels almost whiney, compared to the Z. But, I was not looking for torque this time - My daily driver is an M class and it has a peak torque band from 3000 RPM to 4500 RPM and that is more than all the torque I would ever need to experience on earth!
    4) Buying preowned made more financial sense since this was an addition to the existing fleet. When buying used, I felt more comfortable going with Honda reliability over Nissan's. I have had Hondas before and the only reason I sold them was because I was moving upmarket.
    5) Also, with the 2002s, the redline is 1000 RPM higher over the 2004 and beyond versions. This was an important deciding factor fod going in for a 2002, VS 2004, which could have been had for barely a few hundred dollars more than what I paid for the '02.
    6) The car I bought was in very good condition, RED!!, 24,400 miles and came with an optional hardtop which makes it an year round driver - well, almost...
    Hope this helps. Either ways, you are not going to go wrong.
    Cheers!!
    --njexpress
  • dat2dat2 Member Posts: 251
    the model yr 2004 and later s2000 is supposedly much improved, better handling, better torque, and much less peaky. That is from the reviews I have never driven either generation. I do own a 2005 350z and can tell you it would be better for daily driving, but would be outhandled by the s2000 no doubt. In convertible form, I think the Z may be tough to beat. it is flat out beautiful! It is supposed to ride better than the coupe Z, but I have never driven one either.

    oh-- all Z owners desire the antenna from the s2000 for their Z. But, that really means nothing and is just odd.:)
  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    We trust both brands to be dependable and both are around $32,000.

    I know one is a convertable and one is a coupe, but it's about the fun not the details.


    I owned a 2002 Honda S2000 for 2.5 years and 19,000 miles. I still own a 1995 Nissan Maxima SE w/ 155,000 miles. So, based upon my experience, I can agree with your statement that both "brands are dependable". But that's about where it ends, between these two.

    The S2000 is a world class sports car engineered from the ground up. Everything about it is unique to Honda. The super stiff RWD chassis, the 8,000 (formerly 9,000) RPM engine, the super crisp short throw 6-speed. It is mostly hand built in limited numbers at the same plant that used to produce the NSX. All of this shows in how the vehicle performs, as well as it's fit and finish.

    As soon as I drove the 350Z, I could feel the extra 600 lbs. The low rpm / higher torque engine is borrowed, major chassis components are borrowed, etc. etc. The 350Z is not a bad car, by any means. But it is a far cry from a ground up sports car. And that comes through in a much less "visceral" driving feel.

    Think of the S2000 as a "Ferrari-lite". Think of the 350Z as a "Corvette-lite". I know which one of these I would want to own in their full flavor.

    P.S. The "details" of the S2000's 6-second up and down convertible top is all about the fun! :)
  • blacktalonblacktalon Member Posts: 203
    I've taken both for test drives. If you're looking for a fun toy, I would definitely go for the S2000. Its handling is much more responsive and visceral. The Z has more torque and a more linear powerband, but I found the high-revving S2K engine more fun. Also despite being more nimble, the S2K also has a more comfortable suspension tuning than the Z.

    For a sporty daily driver or an only car, it would be a tougher choice, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow. But that doesn't seem to be your situation. As a second or third car, the S2K is hard to beat.

    However, the S2K is a very small car, so you and your wife should take a test drive and see if it's comfortable for you. If so, then I would go for it.
  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    Pretty entertaining video.

    But too bad Nissan paid the Skyline to block out the S2000 from passing the 350Z. That was more than a little annoying. The 350Z magically came in first place in spite of having slowest fastest lap times than either the S2000 or the M3 coupe. And those S2000 and M3 lap times were Skyline hindered. At least the video doesn't hide how the Z was completely outclassed by the S2000 in the corners.

    Guess when you pay for the test you can manipulate the outcomes. And even the conditions - a wet track? Why didn't they just run the M3 on its rims?
  • tnjrobi1tnjrobi1 Member Posts: 41
    I test drove both a 2006 Z and a 2002 S2000 (Honda won't let you test a new S2000.) (I really don't know why they think the S is so special, they will throw you the keys to a Z at any Nissan dealership.)

    Anyway the I drove both the Z auto and stick. The Z was a little cumbersome in a stick model. The Z auto was really smooth and very easy to drive. The S on the other hand has a very nice stick, but felt a little low on power.

    I know the newer S2000's have a little more low end power. Is there a major difference in around town driving (I mean can you really tell a difference?)
  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    I owned a 2002 S2000 and have driven a 2005, The difference to me was noticable, but it didn't change the fact that the S2000 is still a lightweight, high RPM sports car. The new one is a bit quieter, with a little more low end torque. On the other hand, it's 17" wheels felt a little more jarring, with no noticable improvement in handling and the 8,000 rpm redline isn't quite as much fun as the old 9,000 rpm redline.

    On your comments about "why they think the S is so special", it's because it is - certainly compared to the 350Z. Honda makes (mostly hand builds) 5,000-6,000 a year and it's completely ground up engineering and design. The engine is unique and on par in terms of cutting edge performance with BMW's M engines, Porsche and other high output / high RPM engines. The fact that the Honda dealer wouldn't throw the keys to you is a relief. The S2000 engine needs to be broken in properly and I would never buy a car with any test drive miles on the odometer.

    The 350 Z isn't a bad car, but it has a tiny fraction of the engineering of the S2000. The engine is nothing special, simply a standard Nissan workhorse, powering everything from the Maxima to the Pathfinder. Other components of the car are constructed from Nissan's shared parts bin. As a result, this 2 seater sports car - in convertible form - weighs as much as my 1995 Maxima with a 600 pound water buffalo in the passenger seat. And it's handling and feel would hardly be labeled as "visceral". So, in my opinion, there is nothing "special" about the mass market, parts sharing 350Z - you might as well get a G35 coupe and at least have a back seat for all the extra tonnage over the S2000. That the 350Z was supposed to be a modern equivalent of the 240Z is a slap in the face of that car, which was far more of a sports car for its day.

    All, IMHO.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    The VQ is a fine motor, lots of torque, plenty of horsepower. The Z has a very usable powerband while with the S2k you need to work for the power. But then again, that is half the fun of owning this car.

    The Z is a major porker of a car, more Mustang than S2000 IMO. The S has more Miata like reflexes, light and tossable. Both are great cars with different attitudes.
  • tnjrobi1tnjrobi1 Member Posts: 41
    I understand the S2000 has a very special engine, but how are you going to know if you like the car if they don't keep a tester on hand for test drives.

    (As far as being special the Z cost just as much as or more than the S2000.)
  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    Some large dealers do/did keep a test car. Or at least had used cars that were fully broken in that could be tested. But, unfortunately, in the case of a limited production car, it can be hard to find one to test drive. I suggest shopping dealers for a used 2004+ with the 2.2 liter engine. Think of it as preparation for when you hit it big. There aren't Ferrari 430s or Porsche Turbos out there to test drive either, but that doesn't deter buyers.

    By the way, if the dealer had handed you the keys to a new one, and you responsibly kept the RPM's below 5,000 (as required during the 1,000 +/- mile break-in) it would be of limited value in giving you the real feel for a fully broken in car taken to the V-tech redline.

    On the "special" distinction, cost has little/nothing to do with it. There are fleets of generic SUV's and pick up trucks that cost as much or more than either the S2000 or 350Z. My point was that Honda went all out on the ground up design of the S2000. It's the only Honda made in Japan at the same plant that produces the NSX. It shares virtually no mechanical parts with any other Honda or Acura product. It was an engineering laboratory. I read several articles indicating that if Honda allocated 100% of the true engineering development costs of the S2000 to each sticker, the cars would have to sell for between $40,000 and $50,000 just to break even. Instead, they wrote off much of those costs as corporate marketing and development - along the lines of how they write off their Formula One racing expenses.

    Nissan clearly developed the 350Z as a profit center, with much higher production targets and combining chassis, engine and other major components with the G35, Maxima, Altima, etc. Again, this is not to say that the 350Z is a bad car. But the S2000 is unique and exceptional in what it does, for so little money. It really is a "gift" from the Honda racing team. Anyone that buys one for $30k +/- should take the time to write a thank you letter. Your next best option is a $60k Boxster S or $65k Cayman S.
  • blacktalonblacktalon Member Posts: 203
    Call all the Honda dealers in your area, and you should be able to find one to test drive. The tone of your voice should say, "I'm a very busy, very successful man, and I expect satisfaction," and not "Dude! This car rocks! I can't wait to drift it through an on-ramp!" :)

    A test drive is really the only way to get a good feel for what it's like to drive any car -- but especially a sports car.

    On paper, the S2000 and the 350Z seem pretty similar in terms of 0-60 and track times. If you were just looking at the numbers, you might think, "Well the S2K has an advantage in power-to-weight, but the Z has an advantage in torque-to-weight, so they're probably about the same."

    But the driving experience is completely different. You can tell more about a car from 5 minutes behind the wheel than 5 months reading magazine articles and comparing performance numbers.
  • njexpressnjexpress Member Posts: 170
    The odds are, you won't get one from a dealership! I have been turned down in more than one place and it really took a sales guy that knew me well as a serious car nut, to secure one (twice actually).
    Look up cars.com, autotrader.com etc.. in your area for an '04 - My apologies to the sellers who will be handing you free samplers - But then, Hey - other than a couple of enhancements you could certainly live without, the 04 thru '06 is nearly the same - well, except for the headrest mounted speakers on the '06, which can be dealer installed on the '04. Anywho, my point is, you might even end up liking an 04 and decide to buy outright - You never know - This car is so freaking visceral, it does stange things to an average car buff's psyche :)
    But basically, the 8% torque / HP increase, across the entire powerband are the same for 04 thru 06. 900 rpms lower on redline than 03 and before which I am sure you know - results in less noise. Very subjective thing and it totally depends on who wants this car - To me, those 900 less revs made it feel more car like and less Yamaha like!
    And yes, the 16's feel better on my posterior that is sick and tired from my ML's standard Dunlops, compared to the 17's. They are by no means soft, but definitely less stiffer.
    I need not go on and on about the virtues of the S over the Z - Pretty much every post above has covered almost everything there is to say, except the real experience of an driving an S and discovering Nirvana while glued to that racing seat behind the tiny steering wheel!! One last thing - Considering the Honda reliability, this car will certainly be a keeper, low miles or not and as it is, it has attained a certain cult status -Think of what it would be 20 years down the line when the Csaba Csere's of year 2026 drool over this car on TV and tell you what a marvel of auto engineering it was and still is!! Do you see yourself telling everyone all around you that you got one of those babies in your fleet???
    Good luck with your decision.
    --njexpress
  • jkgreer2jkgreer2 Member Posts: 42
    In agreement with other posts, a test drive of the S2000 is highly suggested before buying S2000 or a competitor. The driving experience provided by the S2000 is hard to imitate, unless you own an old English roadster (low on power), or a much more expensive Porsche or other exotic sports car. If you want a 'sports car' that is not lightning responsive, does not always place a grin on your face, and has a partial backseat, then pick the Z or a similar car. If you seek an extremely entertaing Sports Car which is ready for track competition, then go with a S2000. Be ready for your wife/girlfriend to take it away from you so she can drive it as hers. Hopefully, she will let you ride along and drive some. Best regards, JKG.
  • biancarbiancar Mid-AtlanticMember Posts: 965
    ...the Z does not have a partial backseat. And it puts plenty of grins on my face!

    It's been said that the S2000 drives like a motorcycle. If that appeals to you, then do it.

    The Z has wonderful acceleration and handling, so don't know what you mean about "not lightning responsive." Seems plenty responsive to me.
  • blacktalonblacktalon Member Posts: 203
    Yeah, the 350Z is not a bad car, just very different from the S2000.

    It's interesting that the S2000, 350Z, RX-8, and Mustang GT are all sports cars with similar prices, but they provide very different driving experiences.

    That's why test drives are so important...
  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    "It's interesting that the S2000, 350Z, RX-8, and Mustang GT are all sports cars with similar prices, but they provide very different driving experiences.

    That's why test drives are so important..."


    Amen. In my opinion, the S2000 is a "Ferrari-lite" and the 350Z is a "Corvette/Mustang-lite". The fun of the S2000 starts at RPMs that would cause some of the other cars to explode.
  • tnjrobi1tnjrobi1 Member Posts: 41
    One thing I noticed when I test drove these two cars is the shifter difference. The Z's shifter felt kind of chunky and difficult to shift. But the S2000 shifter felt light and easy to manage.

    Does anyone else have an opinion on the shift quality of these two vehicles?

    Joe R.
  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    "Does anyone else have an opinion on the shift quality of these two vehicles?"

    I think I can safely say that the S2000 gearbox is one of the very best in any car at any price, period. The ultra crisp very short throw 6-speed is as good as any I've driven, including my Porsche 911S (997). Don't get me wrong, the Porsche gearbox is also ultra crisp and engages with extreme precision, but even the Porsche "Sport Shifter" option has slightly longer throws than the flick of the wrist S2000.

    The only slight flaw is the Honda clutch, which is a bit soft for my preference. I also like the clutch to exhibit crisp, positive engagement with precise feedback. In that respect the Honda doesn't match the Porsche, but it's still better than the 350Z, Z4 and other competition in its general price range.

    In my opinion, how a sports car shifts is a big factor in how one would rate it on the "visceral" scale. Honda absolutely nailed this with the S2000.
  • srowesrowe Member Posts: 1
    I have test driven both 2006 models at two different dealers in the past 3 weeks. I actually like the shifting and the handling of the S2000 better than the Z but don't consider the Z clunky or difficult. Both cars were fun to drive and I both liked and disliked things about both cars.

    BTW - I am no longer in the market as of yesterday - a 2005 350Z roadster is in my garage. The S2000 was a bit tight for my frame size.

    Steve
  • biancarbiancar Mid-AtlanticMember Posts: 965
    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.
  • luvroadstersluvroadsters Member Posts: 2
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 251
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 251
    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....
  • friedflounderfriedflounder Member Posts: 4
    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 Member Posts: 251
    Wow!!!! That's the way to do it.
  • knifeedge_2k1knifeedge_2k1 Member Posts: 15
    you own 2 sports bikes and you cant keep the revs up ?? wtf
  • iancariancar Member 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.
  • glendowerglendower Member Posts: 32
    "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.
  • redsoxgirlredsoxgirl Member Posts: 67
    "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.
  • glendowerglendower Member Posts: 32
    "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 Member Posts: 251
    good stuff... keep it coming. we've got to keep the comparisons alive of these two disparate but nearly identically priced sports cars.
  • gsolman6gsolman6 Member Posts: 28
    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 Member Posts: 251
    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.
  • gsolman6gsolman6 Member Posts: 28
    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 Member Posts: 251
    true C/D was talking about the coupe, not the 'vert...
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member 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.
  • glendowerglendower Member Posts: 32
    "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.
  • gsolman6gsolman6 Member Posts: 28
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 251
    "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!
  • boosted3litersboosted3liters Member Posts: 1
    "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.

    :)
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