Honda enthusiasts have to be looking at the Mazda camp with a tinge of envy. The new MX-5 Miata has proven to be a big hit, but Honda hasn't had an answer to the roadster since 2009, when the popular S2000 was discontinued. Rumors about the S2000's return have been swirling for years now, but a new report suggests Honda is finally getting serious about getting it to production.
According to Autocar Honda engineers recently met with a group of S2000 owners in the U.K. to gain input on development for the new roadster. The report also suggests the S2000 will retain its front-engine, rear-drive setup despite previous speculation stating the roadster would switch to a mid-engine layout.
Autocar says Honda will offer the S2000 with two engine choices, both turbocharged. The first is the automaker's 1.5-liter turbo-four that currently makes 174 hp and 162 lb-ft in the new 2016 Honda Civic. This base engine would likely be tuned to make slight more in the S2000. Next up is a Honda 2.0-liter turbo-four that makes over 300 hp in Civic Type-R, but will probably be detuned in the S2000.
That said, the 1.5-liter turbo-four would make more power than the 155-hp, 2.0-liter naturally aspirated I-4 in the MX-5 and the 160-hp, 1.4-liter turbo-four in the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider (based on the Miata). The top-spec S2000 would then take on the Abarth-powered Fiat 124.
Autocar points out that the biggest obstacle Honda faces is developing a proper platform for the S2000. A larger version of theS660 is out of the question since it's mid-engined. Same goes for the Acura NSX. That said, the S2000 could be relatively expensive for Honda if it decides to develop the chassis on its own instead of partnering up with another automaker. And taking into account the turbocharged engines, Honda could target the new S2000 at more upscale and expensive competitors like the Fiat and the BMW Z4. That could also mean the roadster could be sold in the U.S. as a new Acura model, instead of a Honda S2000.
Regardless of which direction Honda takes, the return of the S2000 can't come soon enough if the automaker hopes to regain its sporty car street cred.