In Reply to: Er...I like this new roadster... posted by FC on March 30, 1999 at 14:21:00:
Frankly, the S2000 specs read like everything I wish were available on a Z3 -- 9000 rpm small-displacement (i.e. low mass) screamer of an engine, lovely short little shifter, significantly lighter than an M Roadster. Presumably, it'll offer a much more balanced chassis than the heavily-understeer oriented Z3. Also, I'll bet you a dollar to a donut that Honda's clean-sheet design will be significantly stiffer than the Z3's 3-series derived platform.
Unlike many posters, I was raised on small displacement, relatively high-revving european machinery, so I remain firmly unimpressed by the American obsession with torque.
To me, the whole point of a sportscar is that it's supposed to sensuously reward the driver's skill. It's supposed to leap forward faster & faster as the engine revs rise in a glorious screaming crescendo that raises the hairs on the back of the neck & makes you want to go faster & harder until you can hardly stand it any more and it seems like the world will end, and then you have to shift & start the whole thing over in the next gear.
Any idiot can achieve the blunt-force trauma, push in the back, straight-line sensation of a torquey large-displacement engine.
In short, driving a good sportscar should be more like sex & less like football. To extend the analogy, the S2000 is more the gymnast-type; the M Roadster more that sturdily built German beerhall server who can carry 10 steins of beer in a single hand. No offense to anyone with different persusasions or tastes, but for me, sensuous, go-for-it litheness wins. And yes, I'm exaggerating somewhat here, as the M Roadster isn't exactly clumsy by musclecar standards.
As for looks, I think the Z3 wins (big behind & all), as the S2000 is not only bland, but also displeasingly Japanese techno in overall styling. On the other hand, the Z3's looks don't do anything to help its brick-like aerodynamics, whereas the Honda shows real design integrity with its form-follows-function design that also draws heavily on Honda's own styling heritage. (None of the typical Japanese pseudo-luxury nameplates or Lotus Elan rip offs on the S2000!)
The interior of the S2000 also has a very proper driver-oriented purposefulness that some will misinterpret as cheapness. (I also like the starter button, even if it is pure gimmickry).
But I REALLY, REALLY dislike the electronic dash read-outs in the S2000. I also don't like the tail-lights.
Just a few thoughts. And I agree wholeheartedly with whoever said that competition improves the breed.