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SEE ALSO:Acura Buyer's Guide

In 1986 Honda revolutionized the marketing of Japanese cars by establishing a separate nameplate and dealership organization for its upscale luxury automobiles. Acura was the division, and Legend was the first luxury model. Since its inception the Legend has become legendary, both in product and in marketing. In the last nine years almost a million Acura vehicles have been sold under the nameplates of not only Legend, but the high-tech NSX mid-engined sports car and the sporty Integra. While other overseas manufacturers have since followed this type of production and marketing program, it was Honda who took the first large step for the industry.

The newest Legend is the GS Sedan which is fitted with a 3.2 liter, four-valve-per-cylinder V-6 engine developing 230 horsepower for smooth performance, plus a lot of comfort and luxury. Much of Honda's and Acura's success has come from its quality and performance. The Legend has often been in the top 10 of many automotive magazines' annual best car lists, and has also fared well in many J.D. Power and Associates quality and satisfaction categories. Engine, chassis and suspension techniques from Honda's successful Formula One experiences have been adapted to the Legend.

To get the real feel of the latest Legend sedan we not only drove it around our regular home test area, but had the opportunity to take a few laps on a closed race course to determine its top level performance and handling characteristics. Here are our comments:

APPEARANCE: As the top-of-the-line Acura, the Legend GS with its monochrome finish presents a smooth, clean and elegant look. Its vertical low, wide grille and broad headlights accent the front, while a similar vertical decklid offering access to a large low liftover trunk accent the rear. The rounded sides of the GS are protected by a body-colored mouldings. All door and windows are trimmed in black, and the side windows are set off by bright trim. A tilt and slide glass sunroof is standard, as are the heated side mirrors. Flared wheel wells are highlighted by five-spoke alloy wheels.

COMFORT: The new Legend GS is delivered so completely equipped that the only option is front and rear floor mats. Everything else is part of the GS package. Among the items are leather upholstery with powered front seats, a superb sounding Bose Premium 8-speaker AM/FM/cassette Music System, a quiet and effective automatic climate control system, and an electronic tilt and telescope steering wheel that is tied in with the seat memory system and has an automatic tilt up feature when the ignition is turned off. Other features include power windows, mirrors and locks, as well as cruise control, rear defogger, heated front seats, beverage holders, remote trunk and fuel door releases, good interior storage areas, and highly visible instruments and controls.

SAFETY: This second generation Legend encompasses safety with the inclusion of four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, driver and front passenger air-bags, three-point outboard seat belts, front seatbelt automatic tensioners, a traction control system, side guard door beams, 5-mph bumpers and front and rear crumple zones.

ROADABILITY: Honda engineers have installed a similar time-tested and competition-proven suspension system to that used in the Legend LS coupe. It provides a good combination of a luxury ride and performance handling for the new Legend GS sedan and assures positive control on most road surfaces. Maneuvering on the interstate, in city traffic or on twisty back roads is enhanced by its speed-sensitive power steering, plus automatic traction control, 4-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, and speed rated Michelin XGT-V4 P215/55R16 all-season performance tires. All-around vision is quite good, and there is very little wind or road noise when cruising at highway speeds.

PERFORMANCE: The GS sedan is fitted with Honda's new Series II 3.2 liter, 24 valve, computerized sequentially port fuel injected, V-6 engine that was developed for the Legend Coupe. This smooth running powerplant utilizes a variable air intake system that has been modified to produce 220 horsepower compared to the Series I engine which tops out at 200 hp. A four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission smoothly delivers power to the front wheels from the longitudinally mounted V-6 engine.

CONCLUSION: This latest version of the Honda's luxury sedan has been further refined for 1995 to deliver a blend of performance combined sportiness, luxury and practicality.


Base Price$ 42,000
Price As Tested$ 42,522
Engine TypeV-6, sohc, 24-v, pgm-fi
Engine Size3.2 liter/196 cid
Horsepower230 @ 6200
Torque (ft/lbs)206 @ 5000
Transmission4-speed EC** auto w/od
Curb Weight3630
Pounds per Horsepower16
Fuel Capacity18
Fuel RequirementUnleaded premium (91 octane)
TireMichelin XGT-V4 215/55R 16, 91V, M+S
Brakeanti-lock standard ventilated disc/disc
Drive Trainfront engine, front drive
*pgm-fi = programmed fuel injection with variable injection system
** EC auto = Electronically Controlled automatic transmission
EPA Economy - miles per gallon,
0 to 60 mph8.3 sec
1/4 mi (E.T.)16.5 sec
Coefficient of drag (cd).34