Illustrated: 2012 Honda S3000

With so much attention focused on Honda's next-generation NSX, it's no surprise the future of the S2000 has been a topic largely ignored in automotive circles. But rumors are beginning to circulate about a possible S2000 successor, tentatively named S3000.

As shown by our artist's illustrations, the S3000 wold borrow design cues from the OSM (Open Study Model) and CR-Z concept cars. Despite the dramatic new styling, however, the new "S" will stay true to its predecessor's lightweight construction and tight proportions.

Not a lot else is known about the vehicle, but Honda is definitely trying to make it more competitive in terms of styling and comfort. Although it will remain a puristic roadster at heart, the S3000 will be a little less stripped-down.

In October 2005, Hond's Motoatsu Shiraishi admitted the "S2000 has not been a success for us." He suggested a different approach would be taken for the car's replacement. He said the car's manual gearbox was a turn-off to many potential buyers. Shiraishi hinted the successor would have to offer a paddle-shift gearbox to broaden the appeal. The new sports car "” whatever its name "” is expected to arrive in 2009 along with the next NSX supercar.