Honda’s S2000 roadster isn’t blowing out candles; the lights are being turned off for good. Honda announced that the ’09 model year would be the last for this award-winning and profoundly tunable drop-top. A driving enthusiast’s dream machine, the S2000 was originally developed as a limited edition to celebrate Honda’s 50th anniversary, but demand from the public and acclaim from the media propelled the S2K into full-fledged production. The car dropped in 1999 as an ’00 model and has sold 110,000 copies worldwide, more than 65,000 in the U.S.
We are hoping it will be more hiatus than gone for good, resulting in a resurgence of the S2000 or a similar car that captures its essence in the future.
Super Lap Battle
New Official Website
Super Lap Battle has become the go-to series for those looking to test their car’s performance in Time Attack fashion. Just recently, the launch of The Official Super Lap Battle website, featuring the new ’09 race season has been released. Get the latest SLB news, schedule and rules, while watching exclusive videos and content features on the most pre-eminent Time Attack cars in the country. Make sure to check in frequently for up-to-date information and qualifying round results. Check it out today at www.superlapbattle.com.
Factory Custom Scion XB Release Series 6.0
In other ’09 North American International Auto Show news, Scion announced the release of its 2,500-unit run of Absolutely Red limited edition Release Series 6.0 XB.
The ’09 xB Release Series 6.0 comes exclusively in Absolutely Red exterior paint. A unique front grille with custom black finish and Release Series wheel covers distinguish this limited-production xB. A color-keyed rear spoiler will be available as an option.
Inside, the XB features a touch-screen Pioneer Audio Visual Navigation (AVN) head unit with flash memory, voice recognition, MSN Direct and Bluetooth. For media player flexibility, the AVN unit comes with USB, SD card and iPod connectivity. The Pioneer AVN head unit is also satellite radio and HD Radio ready and will play DVDs and iPod videos when the gear selector is in park. Absolutely Red makes its mark inside the xB as well with color-tuned four-in-one interior lights, RS 6.0 illuminated doorsills, accented interior trim and color-tuned seat fabric. The XB RS 6.0 will also be equipped with a rear cargo cover. Individually numbered badging ensures the rarity of this whip won’t go unnoticed.
Nissan GT-R Spec-V
Crazy factory-tuned super GT-Rs have been dubbed V-Spec since the first iteration of Nissan’s iconic breakthrough Skyline GT-R in 1989–90. That trend is continuing with the R35 series and lucky Spec-V hot-shoes will have more of everything as Nissan and its tuning arm Nismo have enhanced every aspect of the potent GT-R.
A trick new exhaust, a bump in boost and a recalibrated computer to produce the proper on-road thrust result in as yet undisclosed gains over the 480 bhp conventional GT-R. A reduction in curb weight compliments of carbon-fiber body panels means the Spec-V gets maximum performance improvement from its new power scheme. The regular GT-R tips the scales at 3,891 lbs, so a diet is in need.
The Spec-V is a two-seater with exclusive carbon-fiber Recaro buckets surrounded by numerous carbon-fiber storage and trim items. It sports better brakes and trick wheels.
The Spec-V debuted in Japan February 2 and is not slated for U.S. consumption, but a left-hand-drive mule has been sighted on a Best Motoring DVD, of all places. This has the rumor mill spinning like an overboosted turbo, but Nissan is sticking to its guns at this point—still no Spec-V for America.
Mitsubishi Ralliart Sportback
Mitsubishi PR peeps are spooling up in front of the arrival of the Lancer Sportback, a five-door wagon version of the popular car that is the basis for the Lancer Evolution. The Sportback is slated for summer arrival as an ’10 model. According to Mitsubishi, the Sportback will meld high performance and progressive design with an extra dose of utility to feed the most active lifestyles.
Mitsubishi designers created a dynamic new shape for the Sportback that is instantly recognizable as a Lancer from the front, with its signature “jet fighter” grille, while being completely fresh from the C-pillar rearward. The key element is a sleekly sloping rear door with integrated “roof wing” that creates a visually distinctive shape while making the Lancer significantly more versatile. The door extends down to the rear bumper to make loading cumbersome gear much easier.
The Sportback will be offered in naturally-aspirated GTS attire and a more adrenaline-gland-friendly Ralliart guise.
Sportback GTS models feature a 2.4-liter engine rated at 168 bhp and 167 ft-lbs of torque, mated to either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed CVT automatic transmission.
A 2.0-liter MIVEC turbocharged engine that pumps out 237 bhp and 253 ft-lbs of torque powers the Sportback Ralliart. All-Wheel Control (AWC) with Active Center Differential (ACD) is standard, as is the quick-shifting 6-speed Twin Clutch-Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST) that it shares with its buffed-out brother, the Lancer Evolution.