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Used car focus Honda S2000 – 1999 onwards

Honda’s way of celebrating its 50th anniversary was to launch the Porsche Boxster-rivalling S2000. With sleek, but aggressive styling, an engine for enthusiasts and a packed standard equipment list, S2000 is aimed at the BMW Z3 and Mercedes-Benz SLK – as well as the Boxster.

There have only been two models since its launch in 1999: the roadster and hard-top GT. Both are popular, although the roadster is around in greater numbers. S2000 is better equipped than most other roadsters, with air-con, electric windows, alloys and leather as standard. Early cars were only available in silver or black (with a choice of red or black leather seats) or red (with black leather). Cars from 2002 have a wider selection of paint colours.

This is a proper front-engined, rear-driven sportscar. There’s no traction control, either, so in the wet it can become a bit of a handful. A supple suspension set-up gives S2000 a comfortable ride across all but the harshest road surfaces. Revisions in 2002 and 2004 give it a tweaked chassis, better high speed control and firmer suspension.

All the vital buttons and switches are grouped around the driver – just like Honda’s NSX supercar. The driver sits in a low-slung position, though there is no steering wheel adjustment and the seating is quite snug. The boot is a decent size for a sportscar, but awkwardly-shaped. Engine noise is well suppressed – when you want it to be – and exhilarating when you don’t.

Honda has turned its 2.0-litre four into something very special. It produces 237bhp (more than most 3.0-litre units), revs to 9,000rpm and has the engine note of a true sportscar. It is linked to a slick six-speed gearbox, which delivers smooth acceleration and strong performance.

0-60mph comes in six seconds and it has a top speed of 150mph.

Traction control is missing from even the options list and there aren’t any sidebags. It scored a respectable four-star Euro NCAP crash test result (as good as any other roadster) and the brakes are excellent. Remote central locking with an alarm is standard.

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