Yeah, the S2000 is basically a street legal racing car. But is this what you want anyway? It takes a lot of skill and effort to extract power from the little 4 banger. Some find this a plus, but don't you agree it's kind of nice to have 90% of the maximum engine torque at 1500 RPM? That's what the 3.0 M54 engine does for you. Don't be fooled: a 3.0 Z3 is actually faster even than the Boxster S! :)
We Americans are deprived : (Deprived of a wide selection of fun, sprinty cars. And also our imported cars are often given less horsepower than those closer to their homes across the Atlantic and Pacific.
I drove both the S2000 and the BMW Z3 within the same hour. The 3.0 in the Z3 would trounce the Honda at any speed below redline. The Honda is a serious machine, no doubt of that, but the beemer with the big M54 is just so much fun to drive that the Honda isn't in the same class.
There is a reason why Fiats are no longer imported into the United States. I'm not sure there is still one left running in the US. The models we saw imported either self destructed or rusted away in 5 years. Hopefully they have improved over the years. If not what may be a better car now may not be around in five years, but we know the BMW will still be running.
I own a 2000 Z3...I don't have daydreams of being Mr. Speed Racer wannabe, were the meaning of my life on earth is how many cars I pass on El Camino Real... Porches are faster, Honda is faster, Fiat is faster...fine. When I want to race someone, I'll grow a spine and take to the track, were other folks are actually ready and prepped to race right back at ya, (and hey... you don't have to run over kids in crosswalks either...lol) I hear go cart racing is out of this world fun, and VERY competitive... No I love my Z3 for pimpin' Hot-summer country roads with that top down baby... and if I happen to carve a 35 mph corner at 50 I'll remember I'm in a sports car. Drive Safe everyone... have fun.