The Honda S2000 has been a firm favorite among sports car purists ever since its introduction in 1999 and, to date, Honda has understandably steered clear of tampering with its winning formula of redline revving and razor-sharp handling. Now it has. With the introduction of the S2000 CR, Honda ups the ante, giving the car a removable hardtop, stiffened suspension tuning and body structure, and some flamboyant exterior body styling, all of which, according to Honda, add up to significantly improved performance.
The biggest structural modification to the S2000 CR is the replacement of the S2000's cloth roof with an as-standard removable aluminum hardtop. With the roof mechanism of the standard model removed, the S2000 CR is 40 pounds lighter than the current S2000; with its top off, the CR is 90 pounds lighter.
Cosmetically, the S2000 CR distinguishes itself with prominent front and rear spoilers. Honda engineers say that the car's reduced weight and improved aerodynamics give it a two-second advantage in lap-time testing compared with the current S2000.
The S2000 CR will come with unique, dark gray alloy wheels, and will wear the same Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tires as the legendary Honda NSX Type R that was released exclusively in Japan. To redress the balance, the S2000 CR will be offered only in the United States.
Those looking for enhanced interior gadgetry in the S2000 CR will be sorely disappointed. The CR package, which will be the most expensive trim level on 2008 model-year S2000s, will not even come standard with a stereo or A/C, both of which are options. Buyers do get some privileges, however: Instead of the standard leather seat trim, the CR will come with yellow cloth- and suede-covered seats, which are apparently designed to prevent driver from slipping off their seats in lusty driving. Additional yellow-stitched detailing on the door panels will set the cabin of the S2000 CR apart from its standard brethren.
Without the need to store the retractable roof, the space that's rear of the seats is occupied by an aerodynamic cowl cover. Beneath this, an extra stabilizer bar and additional structural bracing give the S2000 CR improved chassis rigidity, which, along with its stiffer suspension settings and reduced weight, give it a performance edge over the base model.
Though the drivetrain of the S2000 CR is identical to the existing S2000 (a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder plant making 237 horsepower), the club-racing variant features a yellow-trimmed, shorter-throw shifter and a quicker steering ratio.
The S2000 CR will go on sale in fall 2007, and Honda expects to produce and sell 2,000 copies of the car each year. No pricing has yet been announced, but expect a significant premium on the sticker price of your regular S2000.