A typhoon of rumors has been swirling around Honda's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, about the company's next generation of sports cars.
While we have already seen spy photos of the future NSX, we have not seen anything about the next-generation S2000. A source close to the company revealed that Honda is indeed in the process of building such a car, but wouldn't disclose specific details.
The OSM (Open Study Model) concept car definitely raised some eyebrows recently at the London show, but that car was just a convertible version of the CR-Z hybrid sports car shown at the Tokyo Motor Show last year. The OSM was penned by Honda's European design team, and our people tell us that the real S2000 successor will have much more influence and input from Japan. Also, the CR-Z and OSM have been engineered as front-engine/front-wheel-drive models, and the S2000 successor will no doubt be a rear-wheel-drive car. So apparently the OSM has nothing to do with the S2000 successor. Or does it...?
There's the possibility that the OSM may very well be a design study of the next S2000, wearing the veil of an open-top CR-Z to throw us off. There was also a sighting of a mysterious prototype sports car near Honda's R&D headquarters in Japan that seemed to share the OSM's proportions, yet looked completely different. Could this be another design study of the S2000? We think so, so we took pieces of that car, melded it with the OSM and came up with this image, a handsome car with an Audi R8-esque face, a long hood and a profile reminiscent of the current S2000.
As for what will go under the hood is still unclear. There have been rumors that Honda may equip the car with a V-6, perhaps a new 3.0-liter or the 3.5-liter in the Acura TL, thus the name S3000. In the U.S., this makes sense because it would give the car much more low-end torque (something we Americans love), not to mention improved smoothness and quietness for freeway driving.
With such an engine, you can expect power to be in the 280- to 300-bhp vicinity, enabling a 0–60 run in the sub-5-second range. The more probable choice is a 2.2- to 2.5-liter inline-4. Honda, which has traditionally shied away from big-displacement powerplants, may feel that a 4-cylinder engine makes more marketing sense in this age of high gasoline prices. There's also talk of a simple hybrid system.
Only those directly involved with the next-generation S2000 project know for sure what the car will be like. We'll know for sure in 2011, after Honda releases the NSX and CR-Z.