The Honda S2000 is one of the most iconic tuner cars in recent history. Production for the U.S. market ran from 2000-2009, and the S2kK won the hearts of millions, with its sleek look and fantastic performance at a moderate price. Within the JDM community, the S2000 is incredibly respected and sought out. Especially coveted are the Club Racer (CR) models that were heavily limited in production.
For many fans, the Honda S2000 first came to their attention after its appearance in the original The Fast and the Furious (2001) film. It was piloted by antagonist Johnny Tran, but it is one of the most recognizable and memorable cars from the entire series, with its black paint and massive wing. A different S2K also makes an appearance in 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), driven by Suki and wrapped in all pink.
Today, used S2Ks are just as expensive as they were when they were released. This shows just how epic and celebrated the S2000 remains, over a decade after it ended production. Still, even at these prices, they are flying off the used market.
While the Honda S2000 is an enjoyable car stock, it is now somewhat outdated by 2022 standards. In addition, it also lacks the performance of most modern tuner cars being released today. This guide will look at the 5 best Honda S2000 mods, taking into account performance, comfort, style, and reliability. There are a ton of options for modding your S2000, and we’ll help you narrow down your options with our guide.
*Not all modifications apply to all model years. Make sure to double check fitment before purchasing.
Honda S2000 AP1 & AP2
Honda originally released the S2000 to the North American market in 2000. Unfortunately, in 2008 the automotive industry crisis occurred, and Honda discontinued the S2000 amid fledgling sales.
The 2000-2003 S2K chassis code is AP1, and the face lifted 2004-2009 S2K chassis code is AP2. The AP2 is distinguishable from the AP1 by softer suspension, different wheels, new gearing, and design changes. However, by far the biggest change was the switch from the F20C engine to the larger F22C1 engine.
F20C & F22C1 Engines & Power limits
Previously, we have looked at F20C and F22C1 engine guides, but we will give a brief refresher here. The F20C is one of the most sought out Honda engines of all time. It is a 2.0L naturally-aspirated inline 4 with a screaming 9,000 RPM redline and unique engine construction. The F22C1 is a slightly larger 2.2L engine, and is also a naturally-aspirated inline-4. However, it lowered the redline to 8,200, which caused a lot of grumbling from enthusiasts.
One of the most important questions to ask when modding an engine is how much power it can truly handle. From the factory, both engines made nearly the same horsepower, ~240, but the F22C1 slightly raised the torque output. However, both the F20C and F22C1 are capable of much, much more.
There is no definitive number the F20C and F22C1 engines can handle, but the general consensus is that they can withstand some significant gains. Many owners report daily driving 500whp S2000s with no issues for 10s-of-thousands of miles. Some owners have claimed up to 650-700whp on stock internals without issues. In reality, it depends on good tuning, responsible driving, and supporting mods, but most drivers should feel comfortable sitting in the 500-550whp range without serious issues.
5 Best Honda S2000 Mods
Here is our list for the 5 best Honda S2000 mods:
- Forged Wheels and Upgraded tires
- Coilovers or Lowering Springs
- Upgraded Stereo
- Forced Induction
- ECU Tuning
1) Forged Wheels and High Performance Tires
Our number one Honda S2000 mod is upgrading both the wheels and tires. Both the OEM rims and tires leave a lot to be desired, from both performance and aesthetic standpoints. Honda OEM rims are cast aluminum, which means they are porous and not the most durable. They also offer incredibly limited design potential, as the factory options are very limited.
On the other hand, forged wheels offer less porous and far more durable wheels for the S2000. They are cut and compressed from a single billet, rather than being poured into a mold, which makes them stronger and more resistant to oxidation and corrosion. They offer better performance than cast alloy wheels and last far longer.
We have two recommendations for wheels for the Honda S2000. They are all forged or flow forged and offered with multiple finish and bolt-pattern options. They are both solid options, with the BBS being the easier and cheaper to source of the two.
Our first option is the BBS RG-R wheels. BBS is one of the most recognizable rim companies in the world, and the RG-R is a great forged wheel option. It offers a beautiful 8 spoke design and has gotten great reviews from S2000 drivers. The next option is the TSW Nurburgring wheels. The TSW’s are not just forged but flow-forged, which is a superior process that changes the molecular structure to create a stronger alloy. The TSW’s offer an aggressive look while reducing weight and increasing performance.
Recommendations: High Performance Tires
High performance tires are a great performance upgrade for the S2000 that should really be one of the first things done. While anyone driving an S2000 today is (hopefully) long off the OEM tires, many people buying used will also likely need to replace tires as one of their first purchases. High performance tires offer improved performance, handling, and traction over other types of rubber. They have superior design characteristics that allow for precise and steady control in both dry and wet conditions.
Our first recommendation for high performance tires are the Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4s. They offer great performance in both wet and dry climates, with big rain grooves that help reduce hydroplaning. The other option we suggest is the Continental Extreme Contact Sports. These are the top of the line Summer performance tires, and they really make the S2000 feel incredible. They are sticky enough to stay planted to the ground on high horsepower builds, yet they also allow for precise cornering and smooth handling.
2) Honda S2000 Coilovers & Lowering Springs
Our next Honda S2000 mod once again improves both performance and cosmetics: coilovers or lowering springs. Both of them reduce the ride height of the car, eliminating the unappealing wheel gap and allowing for better handling. However, coilovers are clearly the better option than lowering springs — although they are much more expensive. We have looked at them before in our Ultimate Coilovers Guide, so take a look if you are unfamiliar with what they offer.
Coilovers allow for changes to ride height, stiffness, and overall handling through small adjustments. Lowering springs, on the other hand, only allow for one height and are not adjustable. Typically, lowering springs will have worse ride quality and will wear much quicker than coilovers. Still, they are solid budget options for those looking for moderate handling improvements.
We have two recommendations for coilovers, and both of them are titans in the industry. Our first choice is the Tein Flex Z coilovers. Tein is one of the most recognizable suspension companies, and their S2000 coilovers have gotten outstanding reviews for quality, performance, and even comfort – when not track tuned.
The other option we have are the Ohlins Road and Track Dual Flow Valve (DFV) coilovers. Ohlins’ coilovers offer an incredible balance between performance and comfort. They have been shown to perform incredibly well in competition use, and reviewers also praise their adaptability for daily driving. The Ohlins are our top choice for coilovers, but the Teins are also great options.
Tein Flex Z (AP1)
Recommendations: Lowering Springs
Although we recommend coilovers instead of lowering springs, we have included two for drivers looking at more budget friendly builds. We once again recommend Tein Suspension, as their lowering springs are some of the most popular for the S2000. They offer solid performance, but at ⅓ of the price of their coilovers.
We also suggest the Eibach Pro-Kit Lowering Springs kit. Eibach is another leading brand in the suspension industry, and their S2000 line is fantastic. Their springs eliminate the unsightly S2000 wheel gap while allowing for moderately improved handling and stability.
3) S2k Upgraded Head Unit
Our next best Honda S2000 mod is upgrading the stock head unit. The OEM unit is not just ugly, but it is also slow and does not offer great sound. Upgrading to an aftermarket unit is almost considered a necessary enhancement by a vast majority of the S2000 community. Neither the AP1 or AP2 have integrated bluetooth (a rarity for their production time), and XM Radio was a dealer option and is not available for many on the used market.
Recommendations: Upgraded Head Unit
We have three different suggestions for upgraded head units, two Kenwoods and an Alpine. All of them offer bluetooth compatibility, and both of the Kenwoods are XM Radio Tuner compatible. They allow for both Android and iPhone USB support, something the S2000 completely lacks. They are all similarly priced, and the ultimate decision comes down to personal preference on looks
We have also included a link to a dash control interface that allows for the original Honda controls on the steering wheel to be retained. It is a completely plug-and-play system for both Kenwoods and Alpines, making them compatible with all of our suggested head units — though everything should be double checked with the manufacturer before ultimately purchasing.
4) Honda S2000 Forced Induction Upgrades
Now it’s time to move on to the big guns for increasing S2000 performance: forced induction. The F20C and F22C1 have decent power from the factory for 2.0L and 2.2L engines, respectively, but they are capable of so much more. Yet, just doing basic mods like headers, test pipes, and intakes only offer minimal gains of 5-10hp each.
To really increase power on the S2000 you need forced induction, from either a supercharger or turbocharger kit. Superchargers are generally the preferred option on the F20C and F22C1, because they offer a very linear power curve with great early throttle response. Turbo kits are good options for those looking to run higher levels of boost for the most power possible.
Previously, we’ve looked at what supporting mods it takes to upgrade your S2000 with forced induction in our F20C engine guide. We’ll post them here again before looking at some new recommendations:
- Upgraded clutch
- High-pressure fuel injectors
- Upgraded fuel pump
- Fuel rail
- Upgraded engine management system
- Intercooler and intercooler piping
- Performance spark plugs
- Upgraded exhaust component
We have three new recommendations for superchargers on the S2000. They offer a great blend of performance, quality, and price. We also have a CARB certified option for those looking to remain emissions compliant. All of the kits come with all necessary supporting mods, except clutches and exhausts.
Our first recommendation is the Science of Speed Vortech Supercharger Kit. SoS’s kit is one of the most popular for the S2000, and it includes a Novi 1220 centrifugal supercharger that runs 9 PSI of boost. It adds 140whp and installs as a direct bolt-in. Our next recommendation is the Kraftwerks Supercharger Kit, which also has a C38-81 centrifugal supercharger. It is capable of 400whp/280wtq and has a large front-mount intercooler included.
Our final option is the Comptech Supercharger Kit, which is CARB certified. It only adds 70-80whp, but is emissions compliant in all 50 states. It still adds a good boost with its centrifugal supercharger, and is our cheapest option.
We have one recommendation for S2000 turbo kits, the Science of Speed Twin-Scroll turbo kit. The twin-scroll turbo design allows for earlier and more sustained power compared with traditional single-scroll turbos. The Science of Speed kit is offered with up to five different turbo options, with capabilities ranging from 425-600hp.
5) Honda S2k Tuning
Our final addition to our 5 best Honda S2000 mods guide is ECU tuning. Proper ECU calibration will give your car safe increases of power, with or without modifications. Even stock cars see good horsepower gains, and for anyone going the forced induction route tuning is a necessity to make sure the car runs safely.
With an engine management system, users can either tune the car themselves or have custom tuning done by a professional. Tuners can adjust parameters like air-to-fuel ratios, ignition timing, fuel trims, and boost tables for cars with forced induction. Proper adjustment of these are crucial for making sure the F20C and F22C1 make reliable power for many miles.
Recommendations: Tuning Options
All three of our recommendations for tuners are known as standalone options. This means they plug or wire directly into the ECU and allow for standalone control of the engine calibrations and functions from a third party device.
Our first recommendation is the Haltech Platinum Pro plug-in ECU for the Honda S2000. Haltech is one of the industry’s most recognizable brands, and their EMS system is one of the best available for the S2K. Our second suggestions are the AEM Series 2 and Infinity standalone systems. AEM is another household name like Haltech in the industry, and both the Series 2 and Infinity are fantastic options.
The final recommendation we have is for the tried and true Hondata system. Hondata is one of the most popular choices within the Honda tuning community, and it is a very easy system to utilize. 2000-2005 S2000s can utilize Hondata KPro, whereas 2006+ can use the superior Hondata FlashPro, and the 2006+ also has a CARB certified option.
5 Best Honda S2000 Mods Summary
Overall, the Honda S2000 is a great tuner car that truly has limitless possibilities for customization. The AP2 facelift did improve some aspects of the S2000, but there are many more upgrades still available. The internals of the engine are capable of running some serious power, and seeing 500whp daily driven S2000s with lots of mileage is not uncommon. With proper tuning and upgrades, the S2000 can transform into a demon in hours.
We’ve looked at performance, cosmetic, and comfort upgrades for the S2000, with an eye towards balancing price, quality, and emissions compliance. One of the best Honda S2000 mods is adding high performance wheels and tires, which improve handling and make the car quicker. Coilovers or lowering springs are great suspension upgrades, especially on the AP2 which suffers from softer suspension — which hinders performance — especially on higher horsepower builds. Getting a new head unit is a great way to modernize the cabin while improving sound quality and offering smart phone integration.
Coaxing more horsepower out of the F20C and F22C1 is a very common goal, which makes superchargers or turbochargers great Honda S2000 mods. We gave a wide range of kits, that go from moderate power bumps all the way to 600hp. Tuning also should be considered when upgrading the S2000’s power, especially if forced induction is added.
What experience do you have modding your Honda 2000? Have you already supercharged your S2K or are you thinking about getting some new wheels or coilovers?
Let us know in the comments below!