A controversy rages about swapping engines into an S2000. This isn’t a Miata that desperately needs a real engine… this is an S2000 and it not only has a real engine, but a true sportscar engine with well-integrated state-of-the-art Formula1-borrowing technology. Owners, ourselves included, are more than happy with the factory engine. And the S2000 still easily beats the competition: the latest Miata (poor handling in stock form and a dated Ford Focus engine) and FR-S/BRZ (numb and under-powered engine).
So if you have to do an engine swap… there are V-6, I-6 and V-8 choices (and even a V-10!) to consider. And consider this: keeping it all in the family. Big-brother NSX has its own unique DOHC V-6 engine – and it’s not the wimpy 3-valve SOHC engine used in pedestrian Honda and Acura products (once swapped by Honda itself in its own S2000 engine swap project car) but uses honest-to-goodness double overhead cams. Free breathing technology that still hasn’t come to the rest of the Honda or Acura lineup.
Our take: this is an interesting engine swap, although NSX engines are hardly freely available nor inexpensive. And they don’t have a good reputation for keeping the engine lubricated in stock form on racetracks. But it shows that it can be done, and it will certainly retain the excellent S2000 attributes of balance and rev-happiness. And what we’d really like to see next on an S2000 are the full set of NSX brakes: vented all around, and aluminum calipers. This is the weak spot in the S2000, especially in the rear, and we suspect that there is a way this could be done.