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Honda could bring back one of its most emblematic sports cars in 2018

Why it matters to you

The original S2000 is remembered as one of the best sports cars of its era -- and a successor will soon look to live up to that reputation.

Honda’s current sports car lineup includes the tiny S600, which isn’t sold in the United States, and the hybrid NSX, which joined the Acura lineup on our shores. The Japanese company could fill the vast gap that separates those two models in 2018 with a successor to the S2000 roadster.

Car & Driver reports the born-again S2000 was originally set to use the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine found in the Civic Type R’s engine bay. However, a source familiar with Honda’s plans explained the company has changed its mind.

More: Honda is preparing an all-new hybrid model and a gasoline-electric truck

“Sure, the Type R’s 2.0-liter turbo is a great engine. But by 2018, that would be old news. We need to take things forward. As a celebratory model, the sports car must be special, so it must have a new powertrain and a unique chassis,” revealed the insider, who asked to remain anonymous.

Instead, Honda’s next roadster will sport a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine fed with both an electric supercharger and a conventional, exhaust-driven turbocharger. The four will send 320 horsepower to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transaxle, a setup that will give the S2000’s successor near-50/50 weight distribution.

The original S2000 was introduced in 1998 to celebrate Honda’s 50th birthday. Car & Driver has learned its successor will debut in late 2018 to commemorate the company’s 70th anniversary. It will most likely debut during the Los Angeles Auto Show and go on sale in time for the 2019 model year, though nothing is official at this point. Pricing will start in the vicinity of $50,000.

Honda isn’t the only Japanese automaker reinvesting in sports cars. Toyota has teamed up with BMW to develop a new Supra, and industry rumors indicate Nissan will preview the next-generation Z car with a close-to-production concept scheduled to debut later this year at the Tokyo Auto Show.