Honda has raised the bar in the sports-car world, returning the Japanese high-performance car to prominence after near extinction earlier this decade. Its new $30,000 S2000 roadster, which went on sale in September, features a low-emission four-cylinder that generates 240 hp and delivers 25 mpg.
The 2.0-liter engine generates the most horsepower per liter of any normally aspirated engine ever built for a production car. The car's six-speed shifter is directly linked to the transmission for a more controlled feel, unlike today's shift-by-wire systems, and it has throws as short as a Mazda Miata's.
Honda will sell only 5,000 S2000s a year in America, and the 2000 model already is sold out.
Because there is such demand, Honda is making it a one-trim-level car, with standard leather seats, limited-slip differential, 16-inch wheels, antilock brakes, high-intensity headlights, air conditioning, cruise control, air deflector, remote door locks with immobilizer system and a CD player with remote audio controls.
The car will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in well under six seconds. The ragtop roof will close automatically in less than six seconds as well.
There is even a special vent system setting for when the ragtop is down that directs air directly at the torsos of the occupants.