Next year marks Honda’s 70th anniversary, a perfect time to reveal a new sports car.
We’ve been reporting on rumors of Honda’s on-again, off-again, on-again plans to create a three-pronged lineup of sports cars for some time. In 2015, the first of that threesome arrived in the form of the S660 microcoupe powered by a mid-mounted turbocharged 660-cc inline-3. Then last year, the long-awaited NSX supercar, with the mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 aided by a few electric motors, appeared at the top of the automaker’s lineup under its Acura brand.
The big question inside Honda’s product-planning department has been whether to add a third sports car that would slot in between the S660 and the NSX. The main issue, according to one Honda source, is that, since the S660 is Japan only and the NSX is an Acura, that leaves U.S. Honda dealers with no sports car to sell. Given that the United States is the company’s biggest market by far, it makes sense for a sports car to be created for U.S. Honda dealers. Now more details about that car—a revival of the S2000—have emerged.
Honda launched the original S2000 on its 50th anniversary, in 1998. Twenty years on, it’s time to do it again. Our source reveals that Honda will commemorate its 70th anniversary, in 2018, by unveiling an S2000 replacement along with an RC213V-S superbike.
The S2000 replacement was to employ the engine from the Civic Type R, but that plan is no more. “Sure, the Type R’s 2.0-liter turbo is a great engine,” said our source, “but by 2018, that would be old news. We need to take things forward. As a celebratory model, the sports car must be special, so it must have a new powertrain and a unique chassis.”
Japan’s Holiday Auto magazine reported that the next-gen S2000 will employ a two-stage electric boosting system. Similar to a technology used by Mitsubishi, the system consists of an electrically driven supercharger, a conventional turbocharger, a bypass valve, and other components. Tests by Mitsubishi showed that such systems are not only compact and lightweight but achieve better fuel efficiency than current twin-turbos and nearly eliminate turbo lag. So throttle response is expected to be sharper than current turbos.
According to our source, a design almost identical to Mitsubishi’s system will be bolted onto a longitudinally mounted 2.0-liter inline-four, making in excess of 320 horsepower. We’re also told that the S2000 will be fitted with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transaxle to optimize weight distribution.
We can expect to see the S2000 replacement unveiled in the fall of 2018 at either the Paris auto show in September or the Los Angeles auto show in November, with the latter most likely. Expect the revived roadster to have a sticker price somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000.
Source: Car and Driver.
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