Honda S2000 Mods Guide

Barring the NSX, the S2000 is arguably the best car to ever roll out of Honda’s stable — it’s a lot of car for the money. Even though it has held its value really well, a used Honda S2000 can be purchased for a reasonable price.

In 1999, Honda made big waves with the first generation S2000 — the AP1. Even though it was a massive hit among car enthusiasts, Honda knew that there was room for improvement and that they could set the bar a little higher. So they released the AP2 in 2004.

The AP2 was overall more refined than the AP1 and definitely faster on the track. Despite the improvements that Honda made to the S2000, the aftermarket community flocked around it and did what they do best — make it faster, handle better, and even a little more refined.

The S2K platform is great out of the box, but there’s no denying that some modifications really do bring the best out of it.

In this guide, you’ll find a complete list of aftermarket parts that you can use to upgrade your Honda S2000. Let’s get into it.

S2000 Performance Mods

The Honda S2000 is a testament to the idea that you don’t necessarily need a ton of power to have fun. But it doesn’t hurt to have some more, does it? Even though the stock S2000 is a hoot to drive, there are things you can do to improve its performance.

The 2.0 liter naturally aspirated F20C four-banger produces close to 240 whp and redlines at 9000 rpm and the 2.2 liter F22C1 pushes the envelope even further. Some would say this is enough power given how light this chassis is, but others want more.

Performance modified Honda S2000 engine

If you’re in that camp and you want some additional power, here are some performance mods to consider.

Forced Induction

Bolt-on upgrades like performance intake systems and exhaust systems can only do so much. If you want real power, real fast, there’s no better way than taking the forced induction route.

Many S2000 owners prefer installing superchargers over turbo kits because of how linear and manageable the power delivery remains when in boost. That said, turbocharged S2000s are much gnarlier in comparison.

Turbo Kits

The S2000’s power only really kicks in after 8000 rpm, with VTEC doing its thing after 6000 rpm. That means you have to work the throttle hard to get into the meat of the powerband. But what if you could get that power early in the rev range?

That’s where turbochargers can shine — low-end torque. This means you’ll get to VTEC sooner, and you’ll have sufficient torque all the way to the redline.

Inline Pro's Honda S2000 Turbo Set Up

It’s worth mentioning that installing a turbo kit isn’t as simple as installing a supercharger kit. If boosting your S2000 has been on your mind, it’s important to do your research and get the work done by someone in the know.

If your turbo kit is installed properly, your car can manage up to 400 whp on stock internals thanks to how solid the stock engines are. Anything beyond that can cause problems with reliability. With the right engine mods, however, you can push it to 600 whp on the standard block.

Here are some of the companies that make S2000 turbo kits:

  • Full Blown Motorsports
  • Full Race
  • GReddy
  • Inline Pro
  • PFab
  • Science of Speed

Superchargers

One reason why superchargers are more popular among S2000 owners is that they retain the feel of the stock F20C and F22C1 engines.

This means the powerband is much more predictable with a supercharger than what you get with turbos. They’re also more reliable, easier to install, require less maintenance, and exert less stress on the engine.

Honda S2000 Supercharger Kit Installed

If you prefer a manageable power delivery then supercharging is the way to go. It’ll feel like you’re always on boost — no lag whatsoever. Plus you get the same OEM-refined feel from the throttle.

The following companies make the best S2000 superchargers:

Intake

Whether aftermarket intake systems work or not is hotly debated. Our experience is that they do provide a marginal improvement in performance when combined with the right supporting upgrades.

To get the most of any upgrades to your intake system, you’ll want to include a combination of:

The idea is cross-compatibility — the best thing you can do is to match the piping diameter of every component in your intake and exhaust system. The simpler and straighter the pathway is, the fewer restrictions it’ll have. Top it off with a tune and you’re all set.

When you tick all these boxes, that’s when you get noticeable gains and you’ll climb up the revs a lot faster.

Cold Air Intake

A Honda S2000 with K&N cold air intake

First things first, start off with repositioning your intake nozzle away from the engine’s heat, and closer to the outside where cold air is easily accessible. To do that, you need a cold air intake.

The most popular cold air intake systems for your Honda S2000 are manufactured by:

Throttle Body

The next thing you can do is upgrade your throttle bodies. These things are responsible for controlling the amount of air that enters your engine cylinders.

Aftermarket throttle bodies are typically larger in diameter when compared to the stock ones. As a result, they can push more air into your engine. We recommend buying a unit that matches the size of your cold air intake and your intake manifold.

Our favorite Honda S2000 throttle bodies are built by:

Intake Manifold

Last but not the least, we recommend upgrading your OEM intake manifold with one that’s designed to increase the volume of your plenum chamber.

Aftermarket intake manifolds feature a straighter air pathway, with minimal bends and curves. This makes for an unrestrictive, free-flowing intake system.

Honda S2000 intake manifold upgrade

Some of the best S2000 intake manifolds are manufactured by:

Exhaust

Installing an exhaust system is one of the best ways to modify your S2000 and still be able to sell it as a stock car. All you have to do is revert to the OEM exhaust system. The same applies to most bolt-on modifications — anything that’s not forced induction.

Honda S2000 Exhaust System

Without a doubt, an upgraded exhaust system will add a lot of character to your S2000’s overall appearance, performance, and sound.

While you can retain your stock exhaust manifold and catalytic converter by installing a cat-back exhaust, we recommend going all the way. This means headers, test pipes, and a cat-back exhaust.

Honda S2000 single exit exhaust
Remember, a single exit exhaust will leave an empty space in your rear bumper. Photo: S2000 by Rick Flores, adapted by Low Offset, CC BY 2.0

This allows you to create your own complete exhaust system with matched pipe diameters.

The best S2000 exhausts include:

Cooling

Your high-performance glory lasts only as long as your cooling system’s capacity to manage heat. 400 whp is no good if your engine can’t take the extra heat.

With that in mind, an upgraded cooling system should definitely be on your Honda S2000 mods list. Here are some of the upgrades you can install to keep your S2K nice and cool.

Performance Radiator

If you’re making performance upgrades to your Honda F-Series engine, you’ll want to install a high-performance radiator for better cooling.

It doesn’t really matter if your modifications involve staying naturally aspirated, a blower, or a turbo kit, your OEM radiator will be working overtime.

The most notable advantages of installing an upgraded radiator include:

  • higher coolant storage capacity,
  • wider surface area for better cooling, and
  • better heat dissipation.

Think of it as cheap insurance for your S2000 that lets you have more fun, for longer. Your best options include:

Aftermarket Clutch

More power from your engine means more wear on other parts of your driveline. You’ll need a high-performance replacement clutch that can handle this extra power, not to mention your increased temptation for a quick burnout, flat gear shift, heavy launch, or the abuse of drifting.

Honda S2000 Clutch Replacements & Upgrades

An upgraded clutch will really help you to put that extra power to the ground and avoid any loss that could be caused by the stock clutch slipping.

The following companies make some of the best clutch kits for the S2000:

S2000 Handling Upgrades

There’s a reason why people loved the S2K so much.

Its 50:50 weight distribution, exquisite handling, front-engine RWD layout, and characteristics that made your Honda S2000 feel like a modified Miata that came that way from the factory meant that it was going to give its competitors a run for their money.

Without a doubt, the S2000 is one of the best handling cars that you can own in its segment. That said, there’s always room for improvement.

Honda S2000 track build

Enthusiasts generally turn to handling-related upgrades because they:

  1. want to personalize their car’s handling according it’s use and their driving style, or they
  2. want to change the appearance of their car.

When it comes to the S2000, it’s often the latter because of how good the handling is right out of the box.

Suspension

Honda really hit the nail on the head with the double-wishbone suspension setup on the S2000. The best part about it is that it’s very upgrade-friendly, and responds well to modifications.

Here are some of the best suspension upgrades that you can make to your S2000.

Coilovers

When it comes to improving the handling characteristics of a car, coilovers are where most enthusiasts start.

Coilovers do the same thing as your OEM struts, with some added benefits:

  • they’re easy to install,
  • the shock valving and spring rates are perfectly matched, making them supremely effective,
  • they allow for a wide range of adjustment, and
  • the aftermarket community is blessed with tons of options to choose from.

Keep compatibility in mind when choosing coilovers because not all of them work correctly on both the AP1 and AP2. Though that said, you can find interchangeable coilovers that fit both the AP1 and AP2.

Honda S2K Street Coilovers
While many street coilovers do offer a wide range of adjustments, you won’t need as much as a car that is built for competition use. Image: Jaime’s S2000, Jourdan Smith, CC BY

When choosing the right coilovers, it’s important to consider your real-world usage. Will your S2K spend most of its time on the street or the track? Would you compromise on comfort in favor of tighter handling?

Answering these questions will help you select the right aftermarket suspension setup.

It’s possible to find coilovers that cater to road and track conditions. Just know that track coilovers are generally stiffer and designed for smoother surfaces. Lower cost street-use coilovers have fewer levels of adjustability, but they provide a more comfortable ride.

When it comes to value, these are some of the best coilovers for your S2000:

Lowering Springs

If coilovers aren’t your thing, you can opt for lowering springs. They’re a cheaper alternative and they allow you to lower your car without sacrificing ride quality or handling performance.

Make sure to choose a set of lowering springs that are designed for your stock dampers, otherwise, you might have to buy a new set of dampers that perfectly match your new lowering springs.

At that point, it makes sense to just go for a set of coilovers instead of lowering springs alone. Lowering springs are perfect for drivers who want the slammed look on a budget.

Bear in mind that lowering your ride height impacts your suspension geometry, so it’s a good idea to get your wheels aligned after you’ve lowered your car.

The best lowering springs for your Honda S2000 include:

Honda S2000: How Low Can You Go?
A moderate drop like this means your car will drive well while looking great. Photo: Honda S2000, Dave See, CC BY 2.0

Sway Bars

If you frequent the track and enjoy pushing your S2000 hard through corners then uprated sway bars are worth looking into. In conditions like that, you’ll want as much traction as you can get.

Sway bars do a fantastic job at reducing weight transfer and body roll. They’re easy to install, really cheap, and work really well with this car. Though they are a cheap mod for your S2000, they’re hands down one of the best.

Honda S2000 sway bar

The S2000 tends to feel squirrely during fast transitions around corners. Installing a larger sway bar at the front will help to add some composure to your overall ride.

Our favorite S2000 sway bars are manufactured by:

Strut Bars

Strut bars, also known as a strut tower brace, usually work only on cars that have a McPherson strut-type suspension setup. Because the S2000 has a double-wishbone suspension system, the benefits of installing a strut bar are going to be subtle at best.

If you really want to tighten up the your chassis, you’ll want to buy a strut bar that features an x-brace that connects to your lower subframe and steering mounts, like the ASM GT bar. This will definitely impact handling characteristics.

The following companies make some of the most popular S2000 strut bars:

Roll Bars

Having a roll bar in your S2000 is important for convertible owners. It’s a metal frame that runs across the top of your seats, and it serves the purpose of protecting you in the unfortunate event of a crash.

You might be wondering why we’ve put this in the handling section of this article though.

Roll bars also add stiffness to your overall ride which in turn helps to reduce flex and body roll around corners. These things combined make it an upgrade worth installing early on.

S2000 Roll Bar upgrade

Big Brake Kits

The S2000’s braking power is more than sufficient for daily driving. But on the track, if you want to brake later and harder, you’re going to need a more powerful set of brakes.

Modified Honda S2K with a Big Brake Kit

That’s where big brake kits play a vital role — they’re able to provide better stopping power than your OEM setup because:

  • the rotors have a larger surface area,
  • the calipers provide a stronger bite, and
  • the brake pads are perfectly mated to the rotor material.

You can buy these components separately or simply choose to upgrade either one of the three. Throw steel-braided brake cables and higher quality brake fluids into the mix and you’ll notice a significant improvement in your braking performance.

The top options for an S2K BBK are:

Wheels

Installing a new set of wheels on your S2000 isn’t only about improving the aesthetics. Sure, the right rims will make your car look more unique, but you’ll also notice a difference in performance and handling.

Any reduction in rotational mass is bound to improve your handling and your straight-line times — at least marginally. Switching to a lighter set of wheels can do that for you.

If you daily drive your S2000, the best wheel size is 18×9.5”. If regular track days are your thing, we recommend 17×10”. Remember to choose your wheel offset mindfully, considering what type of build you’re going after and if fender rolling is a price you’re willing to pay to fit your dream set of wheels.

Honda S2000 wheel mods

Our favorite S2000 wheels include:

Cosmetic Mods for Your S2000

The S2K looks aggressive right out of the box, but there’s a lot you can do to make it look even nicer — with the right combination of form and function.

Tastefully modified Honda S2000s can out-class nearly every car out on the street. Here are some of the things you can do to improve the visual appeal of your S2K.

Exterior

No tuner car is truly complete if it doesn’t look the part — unless you’re building a sleeper.

The S2000 takes nicely to exterior upgrades. Throw a big wing on there if that’s your thing, pair that with splitters and diffusers, and you’ll have one aggressive-looking roadster.

Front Splitter + Rear Diffuser

Battleaero front splitter for the Honda S2K

Whether your splitter and diffuser look rice or nice depends on two things:

  1. how tastefully they are selected, and
  2. how functional they really are.

Front splitters help to increase downforce in the front end of your car at high speeds, preventing loss of traction. The following brands make really nice splitters for the S2000:

  • APR Performance
  • Battleaero
  • Devsport
  • Seibon
Voltex Rear Diffuser on a Honda S2000 AP2

Rear diffusers catalyze this effect by creating a high-pressure area for the air to escape from underneath the car body. Our favorite rear diffusers are manufactured by:

Spoiler

Much like a splitter, the purpose of a spoiler is to increase downforce on the rear end of your car. Being a rear-wheel-drive car, the S2000 really does benefit from this upgrade.

Whether big wings are cool or not is up for debate. We like them; in fact, we think they look quite natural on the S2000.

Honda S2000, modded with a big wing

Some of our favorite S2000 spoilers include:

Interior

We’ve discussed performance, handling, and safety upgrades, but it’s also important to remember how much time you spend inside your car too.

Interior mods make sense. After all, that’s the part of the car you see, feel and touch the most.

Ergonomics matter too. The quality of your seats, steering wheel, and shift knob can really change your driving experience. We’ll run you through some S2000 interior mods worth making below.

Shift Knob

Aftermarket Honda S2000 shift knob

S2000 shift knobs come in different sizes, materials, and styles. One thing to keep in mind before buying one is that extreme temperatures will impact the shift knob’s temperature, making it either hot or cold.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to purchase one that is constructed from a material that doesn’t conduct heat very well.

Seats

The stock S2000 seats are comfortable, but they aren’t the best choice for the track. They’re designed more for comfort and they definitely don’t look the part.

If you want to stay firmly in place while cornering hard, it’s always best to install some aftermarket S2000 seats. If you’re using your car for any sort of competitive use, this will become a necessity quickly.

Our top picks are:

Honda S2000 with aftermarket seats
If you’re running a roll bar, you’ll also want to make sure that your new seats have the appropriate clearance. Photo: Rick Flores, adapted by Low Offset, CC-BY 2.0

Steering Wheel

Aftermarket steering wheels provide a better grip and have additional features that OEM wheels don’t offer. Be sure to pick one that feels comfortable, doesn’t get your palms sweaty, and is suitable for all weather conditions.

There’s a wide variety of steering wheels out there — most of them are universal. For these to fit your S2000, we recommend pairing whichever one you buy with a quick-release hub by NRG, Splash, Sparco or WorksBell.

When it comes to the wheel itself, our favorite options are from:

Aftermarket steering wheel in Honda S2000

Honda S2K Mods List: What To Upgrade First

This goes without saying but if you own a bone stock S2000 and you want to modify it or do something to make it better than it already is, start by bringing it in its best possible shape.

Invest in unexciting but important things like high-quality motor oil, replacing your battery, installing some fresh spark plugs that match your S2000 well, giving your current brakes a once over, and so on.

Once your stock car is in its best possible shape, then start modifying it. Doing this will get you into the habit of taking good care of your car — something you’re going to have to do if you’re dabbling with mods.

If you’re on a limited budget, you’re going to have to prioritize your list of upgrades and decide which ones are more important for you.

We always recommend starting out with upgrades that improve the handling and safety of your car first. These should take priority over performance and cosmetic upgrades.

Honda S2000's look great with subtle mods

Step 1: Handling and Safety

If you’re going to drive fast, you need to make sure that your car has all the right handling and safety modifications in place. Bigger brakes will help you stop sooner, coilovers, sway bars, and better tires will give you more stability and confidence through corners.

Sorting out handling first also means that your car will be able to take the additional horsepower you’ll get after making performance upgrades.

We’d recommend that you upgrade your handling in the following order:

  1. coilovers or lowering springs,
  2. sway bars,
  3. wheels,
  4. tires, then
  5. brakes.

Step 2: Performance

With the right handling upgrades in place, your S2000 will be in a better position to handle the additional power.

That said, you can install just an intake and an exhaust without having any handling mods on board. Aftermarket exhaust and intake systems don’t really add a lot of noticeable power.

It’s only when you install forced induction or things like aftermarket cams and a tune that you’ll get a significant increase in performance. We generally take these steps:

  1. Intake
  2. Exhaust
  3. Forced Induction
  4. ECU Remap
  5. Boost Controller
  6. Engine Internals

Step 3: Cosmetic Mods

If you’re into sleeper builds, then you don’t have to bother with cosmetic mods. But if you want to make your S2000 look as fast as it really is (or faster), consider adding the following:

  1. Diffuser and a splitter
  2. A big wing
  3. Aftermarket seats, steering wheel, and shift knob
  4. Wheels

The Best S2000 Mods

So that concludes our list of S2000 upgrades. Remember, modifications will add to the cost of insuring your Honda S2000 and can mean increased servicing costs over the life of your car.

For us, this is a small price to pay, but it’s worth acknowledging before making the jump.

What upgrades do you already have installed on your S2K? Have you considered forced induction? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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