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Honda S2000 vs. Nissan 350Z



  • dat2dat2 Posts: 251
    Your entire argument is void because you spelled Dan Quayle's name incorrectly :lemon:
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "to me the Z looks and feels like a fun-to-drive sports car. The S2000 looks, handles, and sounds like a toy."

    I think you hit the nail on the head - the S2000 is a "toy." A fast, playful, responsive, and fun toy. Other "toys" that I would love to own include the Lotus Elise, Porsche Boxster, BMW Z4, and Mazda Miata.

    The 350Z is certainly a fast and capable sports car, but it's more of a broadsword to Honda's rapier.
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 251
    The original 03 weighed 3188 lbs by the way. From edmunds, the current 07 model: Curb Weight: 3339 lbs.
    Yes the roadster is heavy and more of a touring convertible than a roadster in the traditional sense. If you go back and look at the 96 300zx TT you will see that it weighed even more than the current Z but C&D consistently chose it over the other sports cars of the day. I think you are weighing your judgments on sports cars a little too heavily on this one aspect. There's a little more to it than that.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Your entire argument is void because you spelled Dan Quayle's name incorrectly

    But I can spell potato. :P
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "The original 03 weighed 3188 lbs by the way. From edmunds, the current 07 model: Curb Weight: 3339 lbs."

    So you are saying I should look more favorably on Rosie, because she didn't used to be quite as fat? I probably got my 3,402 pound figure from one of the other models (Touring or Grand Touring). Which are at least more aptly named than the slightly less obese "Enthusiast" model.

    I don't think you score any points by saying the current 350Z is lighter than the 300ZX TT. That so-called sports car died a pretty undignified death by being overweight and overpriced at the same time. And, for the record, I never saw a comparison test in which the Supra TT didn't pummel it in performance.

    I do concur that weight is not the only factor by which to judge the quality of a sports car. But if you fail as miserably as Nissan has on that front, not much else matters, IMO. Heck, even the sledgehammer (vs. scalpel) style 7 liter Corvette and 8 liter Viper come in under the curb weight of a 350Z, if I am not mistaken.
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    I cracked up when I read this! :) Thanks for the chuckle today, I needed it!

    Boy am I easily amused...
  • biancarbiancar Mid-AtlanticPosts: 918
    "Fail as miserably as Nissan did???"

    No question the Honda is smaller. If you think that's a good thing, then you'll be happy with it. If you want a little more interior room, the Z is better.

    Personally, I like the fact that the Z is a bit heavier and roomier. Where I live, I have to contend with 18-wheelers and other heavy traffic on the Beltway around Washington. When I test-drove smaller roadsters (like the Miata, for instance - comparable to the Honda) I felt buffeted and blown around. In the Z, I feel secure and sure-footed.

    If you can manage to drive only on twisty country roads, maybe a smaller car suits you better. For real-world driving, I want something a bit more substantial.

    But getting to the fun part - the Z has a 3 liter, 300 hp engine that is, year after year, named to Ward's best 10 list. The Honda has a 2.2L 237 hp. The Z is faster than the Honda in the 1/4 mile, in the time to 30 and in the time to 60. And in the all-important 60 to 0.

    The Honda's power band is higher than the Z's and some people complain it's buzzy. The Z gives you more low-end torque for faster take-offs.

    Both cars are arguably going after similar buyers, although the Honda is cheaper so perhaps might be more appealing to younger people on a budget. The only way to really know is test-drive them both.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "In the Z, I feel secure and sure-footed."

    "The Z is faster than the Honda in the 1/4 mile, in the time to 30 and in the time to 60. And in the all-important 60 to 0."

    If you are looking for a car that is fast and secure, have you checked out the Subaru Legacy GT and MazdaSpeed6? Both cars accelerate faster than the 350Z, and they have the bonus of a spacious 4 door cabin and large trunk. AWD guarantees that these sedans always feel surefooted too. 000.html

    Oh, and in a 2003 Car & Driver test of 5 convertible sports cars, the S2000 proved to be .1 sec faster than the 350Z to 60 MPH, .2 sec faster through the 1/4 mile, and pulled .04g better on the skidpad.

    So let's recap. The AWD sedans from Mazda and Subaru are faster and more surefooted than the 350Z, and the S2000 is faster and handles better with a lighter, more nimble platform.

    At least the 350Z is cool looking...
  • biancarbiancar Mid-AtlanticPosts: 918
    You're quoting from some pretty old stats there. But you're absolutely right about one thing, the 350Z is definitely cool-looking! ;-)

    Look, if you like the Honda better, good for you. I'm trying to point out the differences between the two for people who are still shopping and still considering one over the other. It's not so much which is "better," because that's really subjective. It's more which is better for a given buyer, because while they're certainly comparable, there are differences that are going to be noticeable, depending on what a buyer is looking for. - n/2004- _nissan_350z.html

    In this comparo, the authors liked the Mazda RX-8 the best, 2nd place was the Nissan, last was the Honda.

    Some quotes: Re the Honda - "The S2000 still demands a certain buyer with very little luggage who values sport over everyday liveability. You don't so much drive the S2000 as wear it or ride it. It's the kind of car you'd love to find yourself in on California's coastal Highway 1 an hour before sunset with the guarantee of grippy, dry pavement and no highway patrolmen--but how often does that happen? If you currently own a motorcycle and are looking to come out of the cold, this is the perfect car."

    Re the Z - "If you consider the power-to-weight ratios, the Z still comes out ahead, as our acceleration times demonstrate. In fact, this is the quickest 350Z we've tested thus far...All this means a driver doesn't need to rev the Z's big 3.5-liter V-6 to 6000-plus rpm to find accelerative enjoyment. The Z is happy at just about any speed in just about any gear...In terms of around-town ride quality, we'd have to place this Nissan ahead of the go-kart-like Honda, but behind the magical Mazda.

    A close runner-up to number one, the 350Z Track Model is a heavy-handed, firm-riding musclecar among nimble middleweights... like Muhammad Ali, this big fella is surprisingly quick on his feet and packs a wallop."

    And one of the best comparos I've read: - - w.html

    Basically, if you want a car that excels at the track, that's light and tossable, and you're not too tall or too big or too muscular yourself, buy the Honda. If you want a car that excels more on the highway, has more interior room and is more of a muscle-car grand tourer, buy the Z.

    And if you've got more money, buy the Porsche or the BMW, but we won't get into that here!

    (By the way, interesting that you brought up the Subaru Legacy. That's what my husband would like to buy to replace our 2k Maxima, eventually.)
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I can see that we're in agreement here. It was your reference to the S2000 as a "toy" that required a response.

    The S2000 is one of the last serious, uncompromised "sports cars" you can buy new today - and it's no toy. It was built from the ground up to be one of the best sports cars on the road - period.

    I think the 350Z has a nice blend of performance and comfort, and can see why it's popular. But, if someone is looking for a "grand touring" car with a solid blend of sport and comfort, what does the 350Z have that the MazdaSpeed6 doesn't?
  • biancarbiancar Mid-AtlanticPosts: 918
    "what does the 350Z have that the MazdaSpeed6 doesn't?"

    A convertible top. ;-)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "I think the 350Z has a nice blend of performance and comfort, and can see why it's popular. But, if someone is looking for a "grand touring" car with a solid blend of sport and comfort, what does the 350Z have that the MazdaSpeed6 doesn't?"

    Better yet, what does the 350Z have that the G35 and soon to be relaesed 330 hp G37 doesn't?

    Here's my point (again): The S2000 is truly a ground up lightweight high performance sportscar with as much innovative engineering as Acura put in the original NSX. The 350Z is, as even biancar points out, much more of a GT / Touring car in both weight, size and driving dynamics. I applaud Infiniti for the G35/G37. As a 4 passenger coupe, it has very competitive performance for the price. But the 350Z is not a visceral, tossable, outright hoot to drive sports car, IMO.

    As for "the convertible top" answer...well, that takes the 350Z even further away from the sports car category. If one wants a convertible 2 seater that weighs 700-800 lbs more than a Boxster or S2000 and only 500-600 lbs less than an Isuzu Trooper, that's certainly your perogative. But I think one is stretching the term beyond reason to call that a sports car/roadster. And in complete denial of the facts to call it "ground up".
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Yup, you're right about that.

    Maybe it's just me again, but when I've owned convertibles (an Alfa Romeo and a Miata), I can easily rest my elbow on the door sill, see all around outside the car, and feel the wind in my face and hair.

    I've noticed that when I see a 350Z convertible, all I can see is the drivers head peeking out from inside the cockpit. It's like they're sitting in a deep tub up to their chin, surrounded by windows (rolled up, of course) and a wind blocker - not exactly my idea of a convertible.
  • biancarbiancar Mid-AtlanticPosts: 918
    Well, guess that's just a question of to each their own, then. When I see a tall person in a Honda, they look like Lego-man sticking straight up out of their Lego-car.

    Maybe that wouldn't be true of habitat cuz he says he's a short guy, but it's what I've seen.

    And even habitat switched out of his Honda after only 2 1/2 years to get a much more expensive car.

    FTR, I've only seen people in convertibles/roadsters (of any make) with the windows up and top down in the early spring and late fall, when I suspect they've got the seat heaters on as well, just trying to extend the season. God bless 'em. Personally I very rarely drive like that, but will admit to doing it sometimes.

    Anyway, I'm very happy with my Z, would recommend it to anyone who's looking for a fun to drive, reliable, very manueverable, roadster. And I'm sure Honda owners feel the same.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "And even habitat switched out of his Honda after only 2 1/2 years to get a much more expensive car."

    Actually, I traded my s2000 on an Acura TL 6-speed in 2004 after my Maxima turned 150k miles. It wasn't until a year and a half later that I got the sports car bug again and had an opportunity to splurge. I was considering the Boxster S, but after several test drives, started convincing myself it wasn't worth $25k+ more than another S2000. Then I made the mistake of taking my wife and kids to check out the Boxster S "one last time". When I pulled back into the lot, they were all waiting for me in a 911 Cab. The rest is history. But I still recommend the S2000 over the base Boxster to those that ask.

    "Maybe that wouldn't be true of habitat cuz he says he's a short guy,"

    Ouch. Did I say "short"? O.K., so I'm 5'7" / 160 +/- and the S2000 fit me like a glove. Care to share your dimensions? ;)
  • biancarbiancar Mid-AtlanticPosts: 918
    No offense intended with the "short!" I'm 5'6", 135, feel very comfortable in the Z.

    And I'm surrounded by brothers-in-law and my nephews who start at 6', and the tallest is 6'8". So I think of anything shorter than 5'10" as "short." My husband barely passes 5'10". I'm the shortest of the women in my family. We both feel like midgets when with my sisters and their families.

    Normal people probably do not feel this way. ;-)

    Interesting factoid: I was doing a little research on the J.D. Power site, and found that about a third of Z buyers are women. (The site doesn't break out demographics for roadsters vs. coupes, so this is all-inclusive.)

    About one-fourth of S2000 buyers are women.

    Now it's definitely true that the sides of the Z come up higher than they do on the S. You don't happen to like that; I do. I wonder if it's a female/male difference. Going out on a limb here, I think women in general look for safety and the feeling of being protected, perhaps consciously, perhaps just instinctively. In a roadster, obviously you're much more open to your surroundings, for good or for bad. And perhaps the higher sides just feel more protective?

    When I test drove the Miata, as a comparison, I felt very UN-protected, especially on the Beltway, and after that thought I would never want a roadster. But when I drove the Z for the first time (and I was comparing it with the then-brand new Volvo C70, which felt comfy but very staid), it felt fast, fun, sexy AND safe to me. Pretty much describes the ideal date, er, car, no? ;-)
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    Yes, it does sound like the ideal date... When can you pick me up? I am one of the short people though at 5'9". :)

    All kidding aside, I like the lower side so I can put my arm on the edge. I cannot do that in the Z, not comfortably anyway. I'm 5'9" 140lbs. At my size, dimensions, the S fits me in every way.

    Does anyone else find the seats slippery in the S or the Z? It could have just been the clothing I was wearing at the time...
  • biancarbiancar Mid-AtlanticPosts: 918
    Thanks, accelerator, but my husband doesn't let me date anymore. Spoil sport. ;)

    Anyway - no, I never felt the leather seats were slippery. Never tried the cloth but wouldn't think they would be.
  • bagoobagoo Posts: 2
    Let me start off by saying once I started reading this tread I was hooked and knew I would be joining just to add this. Now on to the good stuff.

    I like both of these cars. I owned a 72 240Z for 6 years. It was my baby and I bought it lots of toys. It was punched out to a 280 with 11.5:1 compression (AV fuel was a must), gave it a crane rally cam, mikuni 6pack and a decent exhaust. Everyone’s favorite question was did I have a small block chevy under the hood and they were always surprised when they saw the inline six. I have a Mustang, a TR7, a 72 and a 77 Camaro, a ton of motor cycles including a 03 R1 plus some family cars (I have wife and 4 kids). When they released the new Z I figured it was a shoe in for my next car. When the time came I shopped around a drove a bunch of cars.

    What I drive now is a S2k and have put over 128K miles on it. I commute 135 miles a day in it and except for some really bad traffic days I love it to death. That being said a really bad traffic day is 3 hours of stop and go each way which is enough to drive any stick driver insane. I’m 6’2” and 210 pounds and fit well into the S. The biggest problem I have with it is keeping from getting pulled over for speeding down the back roads once I brake free from traffic. The Z is a great car and I wouldn’t kick it out of the garage but the S2K reminds me of my old 240 so much more that the 350 does. A true light, fast and agile sports car that put a smile on your face the second you got behind the wheel.

    Don’t know if the original poster is even reading this tread anymore but a lot of people are asking the same question and have found there way here. The reason there are so many different kinds of cars is because we all like something different. The only true way to tell which is best for you is to get behind the wheel of both. The answer will be clear to you, I’m sure.
  • zman27zman27 Posts: 1
    :) Let me first start off by saying i like both cars. I test drove a s2k the summer before my senior in high school and i must i fell in love with it but didnt have the money to buy it. now 2 years later I own a 04 z and i love it to death. the s2k had some good power in it but, it doesnt compare to the z. i also own a 99 civic si turbo which is great but i have to sell it cause i just bought a z. anyways its all about what your style of car is and what you prefer i have relized that when it comes to buying cars people know what they want and wont settle car the dealer suggests. because more then likley they dont know what they talking about or they are trying to stiff you. both cars are excellent but i prefer the 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: 251
    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.
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