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

Honda S2000

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?