Even without a subwoofer, this system sounds good. We noticed good audio separation and a nicely defined sound. With the right music, the bass shakes the doors. On some tracks, we noticed a disturbing midrange hum. The highs were nice and clear, but not outstanding. At top speed with the top down, it's just about impossible to hear the stereo, even with the eight speakers. But overall, we weren't disappointed with the sound.
The stereo head unit was another matter. It has a single CD slot, but can't handle MP3 or WMA CDs. Satellite radio and an eight-disc changer are optional, but the small display on the stereo would make channel selection difficult. There is a hinged cover for the stereo that is best to leave closed; knees were prone to hit its sharp corner when it was down. There is a set of controls for the stereo on the dashboard, to the left of the steering wheel, so leaving the cover closed is no problem. You can still change the volume and move through presets.
The cabin uses nice materials and doesn't feel cheap. The power convertible top works quickly, although you have to learn to click its latches into place when you're putting the top down, otherwise they'll rattle.
Under the hood
The S2000's engine is a work of art, whether you're listening to it, looking at it, or feeling its power. It's a 237-horsepower, 2.2-liter four-cylinder with a red aluminum alloy head cover and an oversized radiator, necessary for keeping the heat down when it's cycling at 7,500rpm. The engine uses Honda's VTEC variable-valve timing technology to help it put out more than 100 horsepower per liter of displacement. It produces its peak 237 horsepower at 7,800rpm, with 162 pound-feet of torque at 6,800rpm.
These numbers become very apparent when you're driving the car. During a normal start, it doesn't feel like the car has much oomph. But kick up the revs before dropping it into gear, and it bolts forward. The difference between 2,000rpm and 4,000rpm is very noticeable. Running it close to redline produces an enjoyable whine. The six-speed shifter is a pleasure to use. Its short throws are very precise, making it easy to move quickly from gear to gear; 40mph in second gear isn't unreasonable in the S2000.
Like most cars, the Honda S2000 lost a couple of miles per gallon between the EPA's old economy testing to the new. Where the S2000 previously got 20mpg city and 26mpg highway, it's now rated at 18mpg city and 24mpg highway. During our time with the car, we got just under 16mpg, but we were driving the car fairly aggressively, and really enjoying its high-rpm fast launches. If you drive like we do, and how the car just begs to be driven, expect lower-than-EPA mileage.
Along with the mediocre mileage, the S2000 isn't exactly a low-emissions leader. Its California Air Resources Board rating is the minimal LEV II.
There are no trim levels with the 2007 Honda S2000, and only a few options. Ours had the Laguna Blue Pearl paint job, no options, and came in at $34,845.
Although the S2000 offers a decent audio system, we can't rate it very high for cabin tech. After more than five years of production, the car really needs an interior makeover and some more modern options. Performance-wise, it's incredible, pretty well justifying its price. But although it squeezes a lot of power from a relatively small engine, it pours in a lot of gas to accomplish this feat.
For comparison, a Mini Cooper S offers similarly fun handling and more cabin gadgets but less power. The Saturn Sky Red Line has a more dramatic look, but it's not as fun to drive as the 2007 Honda S2000.
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