Sleek and conservative, the Legend is a monument to good taste and elegance in automotive design. There's not a single superfluous element in its shape, nor any add-on pieces that detract from a carefully honed air of good breeding.
From the trademark grille opening in front to the large, segmented taillights, every line flows smoothly. Of the two body styles available - sedan and coupe - the sedan is perhaps the most gracefully proportioned, looking slim and elegant, especially in dark colors. Either version has lots of glass area for good driver and passenger sightlines.
The only surprising element of the Legend concept is found under the sloping hood. The V6 engine itself is hardly unusual, though its 24 valves are operated by a single camshaft over each bank of cylinders rather than by dual cams. What's different is that the Acura engineers chose to mount the engine longitudinally rather than transversely, as is more common in front-wheel-drive applications. Improved weight distribution and the ability to design a stiffer structure around the engine are cited as the primary reasons for adopting this approach.
The Legend is offered in five versions. The sedan comes in three models: the base L, midlevel LS and luxurious GS. The coupe comes in two models: L and LS. Both coupes and the Sedan GS are supplied with a 230-hp version of the V6 engine (the base engine develops 200 hp) with a 6-speed manual transmission. The Sedan L is equipped with a 5-speed manual, and a 4-speed automatic transmission is available on all models except the Sedan LS.
Our test car was a Coupe LS, the top of the Legend coupe lineup.
The Legend cabin stands out as a model of refinement. Virtually every convenience known to drivers and passengers is standard here, with a 6-disc trunk-mounted CD changer for the Acura/Bose sound system as one of the very few interior options.
Though the sedan will seat five, four people will be most comfortable in either body style. There's plenty of stretch-out room in front and back, and the front seats can be adjusted to accept occupants large or small. The burl walnut accent trim on the uplevel Legends is appropriately applied, though the fake wood bits in base cars may disappoint.
A roomy trunk complements the interior. With nearly 15 cu. ft. of well-shaped stowage space available (the coupe's cargo bay is a shoe box or so smaller), the Legend sedan will accept as much luggage as the average foursome might ever want to carry.
Under way, the Legend cabin is whisper quiet, with temperatures kept at a comfortable level by the standard automatic climate control.