Honda marked its 50th anniversary with the S2000 and hints it will emphasise sporting focus again this year.
Honda is poised to reveal a new sports car in 2023 as it celebrates its 75th anniversary, building on decades of motorsport-honed performance expertise.
The Japanese manufacturer has previously stated its intent to continue offering performance vehicles and recently told us that the Type R sporting brand will continue beyond today’s hot Civic. Now, it has suggested it will soon give a first look at the maiden sports car of its new era, and suggested it could follow in the footsteps of the acclaimed S2000.
The firm has just revealed a trio of crucial new electrified SUVs, aimed predominantly at the mass market, but the enthusiast sector remains an important part of the brand’s business, according to Europe vice president Tom Gardner.
When askedif it still needs enthusiast-focused halo models, Gardner said: “We will characterise the brand, particularly in Europe, as two words – we work very closely with R&D to ensure that our products will embody this – which are ‘advanced’ and ‘sporty’.
“Honda has a very strong technology base. Not technology just for the sake of technology, but technology that adds new value to customers.
“And we love a sports car. We love performance, and we’re very grateful for the strong reaction we’ve had to the latest Type R. There is huge demand for it, and the performance has been very well appreciated. We really enjoyed seeing it nail the Nürburgring record in the last month, and that is an important part of our brand.”
He would not go so far as to reveal the positioning of the new model, nor its powertrain, but did suggest that it’s imminent, and that it could be as important as the last sports car that marked a Honda anniversary: “Watch this space: [2023 is] 75 years – we had the S2000 at 50. Who knows…”
Reports of a revived S2000 have been circulating for several years. In 2017, then Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo expressed a keen interest in the prospect of a follow-up to the seminal roadster, launched in 1999: “I’ve already heard many voices expressing they’d like a next-generation S2000. Honda development engineers are quick to develop sporty cars if the requests are there,” he said.
“All over the world – in Japan, North America, Europe, China – more and more voices are expressing the desire to reinvent S2000. However, it has not matured yet. It’s not time yet. We need time to decide if S2000 is reinvented or not. If the sales people investigate, look at it and they’re really enthusiastic, maybe we look at it.”
Other possibilities remain for a new sports car remain, however. Last year, Honda confirmed that it would introduce an electric successor to the NSX supercar and a new ‘flagship’ GT-style model as part of a wave of 30 new EVs being launched globally by 2030.
“Honda always has a passion to offer fun for its customers,” the firm said at the time, promising it will continue to offer a “sports mindset and distinctive characteristics”.
More recently, one of Honda’s lead engineers, Hideki Kakinuma, told Autocar that “without Type R, there is no Honda,” confirming that there is a place for the acclaimed performance division in the electrified era.