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Honda to revive the S2000 with 350 horsepower and all-wheel drive

People have been calling Hondas boring for years, and it looks like the Japanese car manufacturer has taken that criticism to heart.

First, there was the announcement of a new NSX at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, which represented a return to a focused, driver-oriented form for Honda. When first announced, the new NSX was powered by a 450-horsepower twin-turbo V6, making it the most powerful production Honda ever. Three electric motors were then added, increasing the forthcoming super-hybrid’s power output to 560 hp and 650 pound-feet of torque.

Tell me, does this sound like the same company that makes your aunt’s Accord?

Then there was the S660, a “baby roadster” that, while small and underpowered, symbolized the entry level of Honda’s new performance lineup. So now we have our bookends; what goes in the middle? Where is the car for the guy who can’t afford a $200,000 NSX, but still wants a little oomph?

Welcome back, S2000.

World Car Fans reports that a new S2000 is coming in 2017, and will sit in between the S660 and the NSX in Honda’s new performance series.

Like the original S2K, the new roadster will have a 2.0-liter four cylinder, a mid-engine layout and rear-wheel drive, but that’s where the similarities end.

Instead of a high-revving, naturally aspirated powerplant, the new car will be powered by a re-spec’d version of the Civic Type R’s turbo four-banger, making 350 hp. This is a huge step up from the first S2000’s 220 hp, but it doesn’t end there: Honda is reportedly planning to add a simplified version of the NSX’s hybrid all-wheel-drive system as well.

This hybrid powertrain will push the car from 0 to 60 in around 5.0 seconds, while still achieving over 33 mpg. Prices should start around $60,000.

Put it all together and you have a spirited, invigorating roadster that is also economical and won’t completely break the bank. Would you expect anything less from Honda?