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2006 Honda S2000

2006 Honda S2000 New Car Review
by Martha Hindes

Honda S2000
Honda S2000 Interior

For those familiar with racing circuits, Honda isn't just a well-priced, consumer friendly sedan. It's a blur of motion screaming past a grandstand. It's power, evolved from years of small engine dominance and those big, gorgeous "bikes" that can put even a sports car to shame. So what could be more natural than a road racing machine with the thrill of engine roar climbing to redline territory, superior road control, and a flashy fanny to boot? It's there. It's real. It's the S2000 roadster.

The S2000 has been around - as the name implies - since the turn of the century. (We have no idea if the numeric designation will graduate to the teens when we reach them.) But that doesn't mean it's been idly scooting by on old credentials. Honda has tweaked and twittled with only good results since then. For 2006, it adds some nice refinements, including electronic drive-by-wire throttle control, vehicle stability assist on the technology side, and Laguna Blue Pearl exterior, new alloy wheels, standard headrest speakers and revised seat and console design among creature amenities.

But S2000 is all about domination, the way sultry Catherine Zeta-Jones owns the big screen in a movie or the small one when hawking a handheld communications device. Not as rampantly outrageous as - say - a Pamela Anderson or Jessica Simpson in Daisy Duke short shorts, but lusciously refined in a no excuses kind of way.

That's because the rear-drive S2000 is an "enthusiasts" vehicle, according to Honda, based on clean, contemporary technology, not just the thrust of more cylinders beating out smoke and roar. Heart of the beauty is a 2.2-liter VTEC 4-cylinder powerplant that pours out 237-HP (at 7800 rpm) and 162 lb.-ft. of launch generating torque, according to revised 2006 numbers.

If you plunk down your mid-$30 K to own one, and get caught in the thrill of driving, top down, with the butter smooth short-throw, six-speed manual trans flying through gears, gripping tight, hairpin turns with ease and agility thanks to perfect 50-50 balance, that's to be expected. No apologies necessary.