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First look: Honda heralds latest Legend

Lap of luxury: Honda's most expensive model gets a new V6 after two years.

Most powerful Honda production engine ever heads 2009 upgrade for luxurious Legend

15 Aug 2008

HONDA Australia has announced a 2009 model year upgrade for its flagship luxury sedan, headlined by a bigger new petrol V6 that sets new performance benchmarks for the Japanese car-maker.

On sale in two weeks from September 1, priced $2000 higher at $77,500, the 2009 Legend also promises improved fuel consumption, plus a host of cosmetic updates, refinement upgrades and extra features.

Maintaining its title as Honda’s most powerful model, the BMW 5 Series-sized Legend is the first to score the brand’s new 3.7-litre V6, which delivers 226kW and 370Nm of torque - up 9kW and 19Nm over the 217/351kW 3.5-litre V6 it replaces.

For this “evolution” of the seventh-generation Legend, which was launched in Australia two years ago in September 2006, Honda’s facelifted flagship also moves further ahead of the new Accord sedan, which went on sale in February and is available with a 202kW/339Nm SOHC i-VTEC V6, priced from under $40,000.

15 center imageDespite the 200cc increase in capacity and perkier performance, thanks in part to a new VTEC variable valve timing system (which together are said to boost bottom-end performance and therefore standing-start acceleration), official ADR 81/01 fuel consumption drops by half a litre per 100km – from 11.8 to 11.3L/100km. It remains Euro 4 emissions-compliant.

The Accord V6, which also comes as standard with a five-speed automatic transmission, officially returns 10.0L/100km. But the Legend’s similar Sequential Sportshift transmission with sport mode and steering wheel gearshift paddles has now been upgraded and, as in the Accord, its paddle-shifters can now be employed in both sport and normal modes.

There is no change to the Legend’s ground-breaking “Super Handling All-Wheel Drive” (SH-AWD) system, which can increase torque delivery to the outside rear wheel, but continuing the mechanical upgrades are new “higher rate” spring and damping settings and larger (18-inch) new seven-spoke alloy wheels with 245/45-section tyres.

Aside from its larger footprint and revised suspension, the also gains a new “acoustic” windscreen, which features a thin film of butul alcohol sandwiched between two bonded glass panels. Honda says noise, vibration and harshness levels have been further reduced via extra cabin insulation and the Honda Active Noise Cancellation system, which “transmits precise acoustic signals able to negate intrusive road noise”.

Inside, the MY09 Legend’s front seats feature 10-way power adjustment, a redesigned leather steering wheel is said to improve driver comfort, brushed metal instrument gauges are fitted, the climate-control air-conditioning system functions have been redesigned and a 10-speaker Bose sound system and satellite-navigation is now standard.

Standard safety features continue to include six airbags, a reversing camera, electronic stability/traction control (VSA) and an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with emergency brake assist (EBA) and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD).

Honda says the 2009 Legend is differentiated by no fewer than 12 significant external changes, giving its top-shelf model’s unapologetically subtle styling a “more taut and athletic” appearance and improving aerodynamic efficiency.

Aesthetic changes up front are led by a new aluminium bonnet, which cuts weight and is integrated with new-look bi-Xenon headlights, a revised pentagonal grille with three chromed bars and a new front bumper with integral foglights and revised lower air-intakes.

Different side skirts, a new bootlid with integrated rear spoiler, a fresh rear bumper, redesigned tail-lights and updated exhaust outlets complete the Legend’s new-look rear-end treatment.

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