18 November 2004

This is Honda’s high-tech new Legend, its executive flagship, which should arrive in the UK and Europe next year with a price tag of around £30,000. Powered by a 3.5-litre V6 with 300bhp, the Legend is already on sale in Japan and America, where it is badged as an Acura RL, Acura being the upmarket arm of Honda, akin to Toyota’s Lexus. In both countries the car gets a standard five-speed auto gearbox, complete with steering-wheel-mounted paddles. Honda has been criticised in the US for ignoring the classic V8, rear-drive format, but has stuck to its guns with a V6. The Legend is also significant as the first model to officially break the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between Japanese car makers to limit their cars to 285bhp, although rumour has it that several cars supposedly sticking to the agreement have actually produced over 300bhp. The Legend features the groundbreaking Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, a four-wheel-drive system that varies the torque distribution both front to back and also side to side between the back wheels. The system puts 70 per cent of power through the front wheels at cruising speed, but can switch that around to 70 per cent through the rear wheels under hard acceleration or cornering, up to 100 per cent of which can be diverted to the ‘grippiest’ wheel.

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