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Honda slaps Legend name on JDM Acura RLX

Mon, 10 Nov 2014

It's been eighteen years since we last saw the Legend nameplate in Acura showrooms here in the US, but in Japan it's still very much alive as Honda's flagship sedan. And now the Japanese automaker has revealed the latest generation.

Set to go on sale across Japan on January 22 - 30 years since the nameplate was introduced - the new Honda Legend is essentially the same model we already know in the States as the new Acura RLX. Only by "essentially," we mean exactly. It is the RLX, only with Honda badges instead of Acura ones. The manufacturer hasn't even changed the grille or the wheels.

Although the RLX is being offered Stateside in two forms, the new JDM Honda Legend will only come in one form, equivalent to our Sport Hybrid, with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive and a hybrid powertrain pairing a 3.5-liter V6 to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission with integrated electric motor. For the privilege of owning the most luxurious car Honda makes, Japanese customers will have to pony up ¥6,800,000 – which about adds up to $59,950 we'd pay for an RLX Sport Hybrid.

We can't be the only ones who wish the RLX was still called the Acura Legend here in the States, can we?

Honda to Begin Sales of All-New "Legend" Model to feature SPORT HYBRID SH-AWD with 3 electric motors

TOKYO, Japan, November 10, 2014- Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced it would begin sales of the all-new Legend flagship sedan at dealerships across Japan on January 22, 2015. The new hybrid system features revolutionary hybrid technology to deliver a combination of unprecedented driving pleasure, a refined and comfortable ride and outstanding environmental performance.

The fifth-generation Legend features SPORT HYBRID SH-AWD*1, which comprises three electric motors. Featuring a gasoline engine, a single front motor and twin rear motors, the hybrid system automatically combines front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive with EV Drive, Hybrid Drive or Engine Drive to respond continuously to driver inputs and driving conditions and ensure optimally efficient performance.

The twin rear motors provide drive and deceleration power to the rear wheels in any ratio. This revolutionary torque vectoring*2 technology delivers highly stable handling in every type of driving and refined driving comfort that exceeds expectations for the Legend's class. At the same time, the Legend's advanced hybrid system offers outstanding fuel economy of 16.8 km/L as measured in JC08 mode.*3

The all-new Legend also features the advanced driver-assistive system Honda SENSING,*4 which can help the driver prevent or effectively respond to dangerous driving situations, thereby making the driving experience safer and more enjoyable. Among other functions, Honda SENSING includes the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) and the world's first*5 Pedestrian Collision Mitigation Steering System, which is designed to help prevent collisions with pedestrians.
*1 SPORT HYBRID Super Handling All-Wheel Drive
*2 A mechanism and control system that controls the distribution of torque to the left and right drive wheels
*3 Testing by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
*4 Honda SENSING is Honda's brand name for its advanced driver-assistive system. Named for its leading-edge sensing technologies, Honda SENSING supports the sensing, decision-making and control skills of drivers, contributing to greater comfort, safety and peace of mind.
*5 Honda research as of November 2014

?Monthly sales target for Legend series (Japan): 300 units
?Manufacturer's suggested retail price
Type Engine Transmission Drive Price
(incl.8 percent
consumption tax)
Legend V6 3.5 L
direct injection i-VTEC
7-speed DCT 4WD

* Prices are for reference only and do not include insurance, taxes (except consumption tax), registration or other fees.
* In accordance with Japan's automobile recycling law, a separate recycling fee will be levied. The recycling fee includes a recycling deposit (to cover expenses required to recycle shredder dust, air bags and fluorocarbons, plus an information management fee) and a capital management charge.
* There is an additional charge of ¥54,000 (¥50,000 before consumption tax) for the White Orchid Pearl, Super Platinum Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl and Gilded Pewter Metallic body colors.

Key features of the all-new Legend



Positioned at the front of the vehicle is a newly developed V6 3.5 L direct injection i-VTEC engine and a 7-speed DCT*6 with an integrated high-performance electric motor. Positioned at the rear of the vehicle is the TMU (Twin Motor Unit). Teaming up with a high-output lithium-ion battery, the control unit coordinates the operation of the engine and three motors. These are the main components of the all-new Legend's advanced hybrid system.

SPORT HYBRID SH-AWD features three distinct driving modes, in which the hybrid system automatically controls the engine and three motors for optimal performance. In EV Drive, the two rear electric motors power the vehicle. In Hybrid Drive, the gasoline engine powers the front wheels while the two rear motors power the rear wheels. In Engine Drive, the gasoline engine provides power to the front wheels. Responding continuously to driver inputs and driving conditions, the hybrid system automatically selects the most energy-efficient driving mode and the optimal choice of front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. In all three driving modes, the hybrid system uses all four wheels to efficiently regenerate electricity during deceleration, helping to delivery outstanding fuel economy of 16.8 km/L.

Operating completely independent of the torque of the gasoline engine, each of the two motors located at the rear in the TMU (Twin Motor Unit) offers maximum output of 27 kW. Each rear motor is independently controlled and can supply either positive (drive) torque or negative (declaration) torque to its wheel. Thanks to this advanced torque vectoring, the Legend offers an ideal experience of tracing the driver's intended path at all speed levels and exceptionally stable handling worthy of a flagship sedan.

?V6 3.5 L direct injection i-VTEC engine

In combination, the newly developed V6 3.5 L direct injection i-VTEC engine and three electric motors deliver maximum output of 281 kW (382 PS) and acceleration performance superior to that of a standalone V8 gasoline engine. Honda's own VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) allows the engine to idle three cylinders on one side of the "V" to save energy as needed, while the hybrid system also features highly efficient regenerative braking and deceleration. As a result, the hybrid system offers fuel economy equivalent to that of a standalone inline 4-cylinder gasoline engine.


In addition to SPORT HYBRID SH-AWD with its flexible distribution of drive power to the four wheels, the all-new Legend features Agile Handling Assist (AHA), which controls braking to enhance the vehicle's handling performance. Also included is Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), which is designed to assist the driver in maintaining control in challenging situations by applying braking inputs as required. Coordinated control of these technologies helps the all-new Legend deliver outstanding handling stability and performance in a wide range of driving conditions, from urban intersections to winding suburban roads to high-speed freeways.

Further supporting the all-new Legend's outstanding performance are the new lower double-joint double wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension. Both the front and rear suspension feature new amplitude-sensitive dampers with an optimized spring rate and damping force, contributing to the all-new Legend's superb handling stability and refined ride comfort. The all-new Legend also features greatly enhanced body rigidity, including joint rigidity. Thanks to Honda's proprietary technology for connecting steel and aluminum, all of the door skins are made of lightweight aluminum. Lightweight construction throughout the vehicle further contributes to the all-new Legend's outstanding handling stability and fuel economy.
*6 Dual clutch transmission



The exterior design of the all-new Legend is flowing and dynamic. The body features a wide and low form, as well as an elegant cabin that invites people to the roominess within. The Jewel Eye LED headlights with their sparkling, gem-like lenses further add to the refined, high-quality styling. The low beams are super-wide and brightly illuminate even the shoulder of the road.


Leveraging the fact that the all-new Legend utilizes a front-wheel drive layout, the design makes highly efficient use of space to offer outstanding interior comfort. While the total length is approximately the same as that of the previous model, the interior is roomier than ever. Rear legroom is so generous that occupants can even cross their legs in comfort. In sum, the all-new Legend offers a level of comfort that is among the best in its class.

In addition, the seats of the all-new Legend feature high-quality genuine leather. Moreover, soft pads on the instrument panel, door linings, armrests and other areas that come in frequent contact with occupants are made of realistic faux leather, enveloping occupants in all seats with relaxing and soothing comfort.



In addition to featuring ample sound-proofing and -absorbing materials, the all-new Legend minimizes noise and vibration at the source to offer an outstanding level of quietness. The powerplant itself is designed for minimal vibration, featuring an active control engine mount that anticipates engine vibration and effectively cancels it out. To combat road noise, the tires use aluminum foil that effectively reduces unpleasant resonant noise that originates inside them.


The interior design and amenities of the all-new Legend help create the ultimate space in which to enjoy the ultimate drive. Honda has selected as its audio development partner US-based Krell Industries, the world's premier manufacturer of high-end audio equipment. Integrating Krell's technologies and know-how into the all-new Legend from the design stage onward has resulted in incredible audio realism. The power amplifier boasts outstanding dynamic range and offers exceptional clarity. The audio system features 14 speakers optimally positioned within the all-new Legend's interior to deliver an amazing audio experience for all occupants.

?Comfort amenities

The rear window and rear side windows features sunshades with enhanced functionality, and the total area protected by sunshades has increased. The rear center armrest features a control panel with a large color display, adding to the enjoyment and convenience of rear occupants.

The windshield features a convenient head-up display that helps the driver maintain a consistent line of sight. In addition to displaying a digital speedometer, this display can show turn-by-turn driving directions from the navigation system and even allows monitoring of the Legend's torque vectoring in real time.

?Advanced driver-assistive Honda SENSING system

With the global safety slogan of "Safety for Everyone," Honda envisions an accident-free society in which everyone can use the road in safety. To this end, Honda has developed safety technologies that cover every aspect of accidents: active safety technologies that can help prevent an accident, passive safety technologies that can help mitigate harm should an accident occur and pre-crash safety technologies that combine both the active and passive approaches.

Leveraging its technologies that sense the environment outside the vehicle, Honda has developed the advanced driver-assistive Honda SENSING system and included it on the all-new Legend. Designed to help the driver prevent or effectively respond to dangerous driving situations, Honda SENSING includes the world's first Pedestrian Collision Mitigation Steering System, which is designed to help prevent collisions with pedestrians.

The Honda SENSING system receives information from two sources with different characteristics: a millimeter-wave radar system located inside the front grille and a monocular camera mounted inside the windshield. Offering enhanced performance, the millimeter-wave radar can sense the position and velocity of a wider range of targets, including pedestrians, which tend to be difficult to sense due to low radar reflectivity. The monocular camera is able to see up to 60 m in front of the vehicle, allowing the system to determine the size and other characteristics of pedestrians or objects and further enhancing the precision of the system as a whole.

In addition to these and other driver-assistive functions that sense in the forward direction, Honda SENSING includes functions that sense in the rearward and lateral directions to take safety support to the next level. Honda SENSING automatically and continuously senses the intentions of the driver and situation of the vehicle; uses visual, aural and tactile warnings to provide the driver with information and alert him or her of hazards; and provides accelerator, brake and steering inputs as needed to make the driving experience safer and more enjoyable.

By Noah Joseph

See also: Did Acura just confirm it's working on an Integra successor?, Honda updates Takata airbag recall status for some models, Honda updates Takata airbag recall status for some models.