Around the middle of 2003 I decided that seven years was long enough with my MR2 MKII, a beautifully immaculate Californian sky blue (that’s dark blue to you and me!) and I began looking for a new car.
Not actually my MR2, but identical. Proper pictures on my S2000 Flickr page
TVR, Porsche, Caterham, Marcos – boy those Mantary Spyders are cool. However, I saw the Honda S2000 and it looked lovely. However, something just didn’t quite click for me and it was always a hung decision.
Then I saw the 2004 model, and the subtle changes to the bodywork and interior just won me over. Coinciding with my MR2 brakes locking on while driving at a high speed and costing a fortune, I knew it was time.
Not actually my S2K, but identical. Proper pictures on my S2000 Flickr page
That weekend, about two months before March 2004, I bought my S2000 in Nurburgring Blue. Beautiful. The final test drive won me over without a doubt.
I’m still in love with the car, and it makes my smile whenever I walk towards or away from it. For me it comes down to this, it’s not about driving around and showing off, it’s about the feeling the car gives you. In an empty car park or walking into your garage, if you smile and can’t wait to get in, then that’s it.
Another generic S2K photo.
So I received my 2004 S2000 GT with hardtop and began driving. I have to say looks wise it’s a cracker. The sleek lines and curves of the nose are gorgeous, and even the tiniest details of the moulding for the lights adds to the style. I just love that long nose and the curves of the rear bumper. Calm. Breath.
The interior keeps the gorgeous looks and ensures everything is geared to the driver. The controls are all within fingertip reach, including the audio controls, and that big red start button is fantastic.
The drivers display oozes style mixed with technology, favouring a really eye catching graphical rev counter, one that clearly shows when you’ve engaged that VTEC and are speeding towards 9000 revs.
Space wise I was surprised. It’s very similar to the MR2 internally, although it really does feel more moulded to you, and in every aspect it is a real sports car where the MR2 was, well, a runabout.
Another generic S2K photo.
Opening the boot was a surprise, it looks small, and I even thought it was smaller than my MR2, but it isn’t. I can carry a lot more than I did before, and without crushing so many groceries!
There’s some really neat touches, just showing how carefully Honda have gone to think about the entire drivers experience. I had a nail in my tyre the other day, and repairing it was going to be a specialist job requiring me to deliver the wheel. Spacesaver I thought, oh no, my first ever wheel change – really!
It was simple. Instructions on the items you used, and simple ones at that. The coolest bit though was the storage of everything. Taking the spacesaver out and fitting it onto the car I realised that I had to carry this huge wheel somehow. Simply remove the toolkit and lock it in place of the spacesaver revealed a deeper well in the boot for the wheel to sit nicely in and some straps to hold it in place. Perfect.
As for driving, I can’t say I’ve ever driven a car so well balanced and setup as this. It’s very point and click. Just come to a corner, throw the wheel round, and the car follows. I’ve been warned it’s very loose, but nothing like the MR2 was, this car sticks to the road and makes driving an easy, and exiting experience.
VTEC. Oh lord. I’ve heard Jeremy Clarkson described the feeling of engaging the VTEC as that of taking cocaine. That’s how addictive it is (obviously I am in no way condoning the use of drugs, nor am I saying that Clarkson does, it’s just something I heard and sounds perfect.) You really want to hit that magic rev mark time and time again, bounce your head back into the seat for the second time during your acceleration and head rapidly towards that 9000 red line.
Although scary, the removal of the hardtop is a pretty simple operation, although it does require two of you. I’ve carried this out a number of times and carried it up the stairs to my flat, that was a nervous moment or two. However, if you’re removing it by a garge, simply wheeling the stand behind the car, remove the catches, pull the handles and lift the roof over. Honda even supply the stand and a nice cover for it.
The soft top moves pretty rapidly and can be up in a few seconds as the rain begins to fall. I’ve even had it through heavy rain, and despite a little fogging of the rear window, there’s no adverse effects, albeit slightly noiser than the hardtop.
All in all the experience is an amazing one. The VTEC supplies you with a great sports feeling, it’s blindingly fast, and the comfort and convenience factor inside is extremely high, everything is made for the driver. Looks wise, it’s beautiful (I know I’m biased) but it retains a feel around the looks of an older sports car, just heavily updated! It’s long nose and sleek detailing make it a real looker, catching your own eye again and again, never mind everyone elses.
The best car I’ve driven, and it won’t be replaced for a very, very long time!