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Old 04-20-2011, 03:40 PM   #1
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Default Acura Legend, the Car that Changed the Way We Look at Japanese Cars

http://lowendmac.com/hodges/06/1130.html


Acura Legend, the Car that Changed the Way We Look at Japanese Cars

Ted Hodges - 2006.11.30

Editor's note: No, we're not turning Low End Mac into an automotive site. But there are other things in life that people become as passionate about as their Macs. Ted Hodges explains why the Acura Legend has that allure. dk

I am writing about the Acura Legend because I own one of these wonderful cars.

My family has owned over 20 cars in the last 20 years. We've had this one for nearly four years, and we've been amazed by its performance, handling, features, and reliability for the entire four years and 55,000 miles.

It's turned me into a Legend fanatic, and I'd like to share with you the history and - perhaps more amazing - the fact that they're as good now as they were when introduced 20 years ago.

I would recommend the Legend (produced from 1986 through 1995) to anyone, any age, simply because of it's performance and reliability (in four years, we've put $700 in repairs into it - that's only $175 per year!)

Econo Boxes

In the early 1980s, most of us thought of any Japanese car as a cheap econo box that you bought for great gas milage. No one would have considered a any Japanese car to be a "luxury" car - until 1986.

In 1986, Honda introduced a new line of cars aimed at the luxury market. The new line was called Acura, and the flagship model was the Acura Legend. It was like no other Japanese car previously made: It was much larger, heavier, and more powerful than any other Japanese car at the time.

It's 2.5 liter 24-valve V6 with programmed fuel injection put out 151 horsepower at 5800 RPM and 152 Foot-lbs. of torque at 4500 RPM. That's a good amount of power.

It also had many standard features, many of which most of us take for granted these days, including:

Power windows
Power locks
Power sunroof
Power assisted speed sensitive rack and pinion steering
Front and rear double wishbone suspension
Cruise control
High power stereo tape deck with TMS and 7-band equalizer
Tilt wheel
Steering wheel mounted stereo and cruse controls
Rear windshield defroster
Adjustable intermittent speed windshield whippers
4-wheel disk brakes.
But in 1987 (around the same time Apple introduced the Mac II, a computer that changed the way we look at Macs), Acura introduced the Acura Legend Coupe. The '87 Coupe had many features that a lot of cars still don't have, such as:

A 2.7 liter 24-valve V6 engine with a slightly redesigned programmed fuel injection system that puts out 161 horsepower at 5950 RPM and 162 Foot-lbs. of torque at 4500 RPM. That's an amazing achievement, because the engine is only 163 cubic inches. That's almost one horsepower for every cubic inch, making it an extremely efficient design.

(It may not sound like a lot when you hear everyone talking about 300 HP, but believe me, this car holds it's own against 5.0 liter Mustangs and will eat almost any V8 SUV for breakfast.)

The automatic transmission is a dual mode electronically controlled 4-speed automatic with lockup. It has two modes, "D" (drive), and "S" (sport). In drive, it will upshift (1st - 2nd, 2nd - 3rd, etc.) at a casual rate, but in sport mode - woah, you'd better hold on to your seat!

It's makes the transmission hold the gear longer, thus taking better advantage of the engine power that's already there. Say you have the accelerator about 3/4 of the way down in D, it will shift to the next gear at about 4000 RPM. In S though, it won't shift until about 5500 RPM.

Even more amazing at the time (and even now) are the features on the L and LS models:

Antilock brakes (L and LS models),
Drivers air bag (87 LS Coupe, 88 LS Coupes and Sedans, standard on all 89 and 90 models)
Power memory driver's seat with 3 memories (L and LS)
Power passenger seat (LS)
Security system (L and LS)
Information center (87 Legend L and LS Coupe, 88 - 90 LS Coupes and Sedans)
Automatic climate control system (87 Legend L and LS Coupe, 88 - 90 LS Coupes and Sedans)
Heated leather seats (leather on L, heated leather on LS)
Heated side view mirrors (L and LS)
Bose sound system (LS)
Real wood trim (LS)
So how does the Legend stack up agents other luxury sports cars of the time?

Lets have a look.

Test Results 0-60 MPH 0-100 MPH 1/4 mile Top MPH
Acura Legend 8.5 sec. 23.5 sec. 16.7 @ 86 mph 137 mph
BMW 635CSi 7.7 sec. 21.1 sec. 16.0 @ 86 mph 137 mph
Lincoln Mark VII LSC 8.0 sec. 22.0 sec. 16.1 @ 88 mph 120 mph
Mercedes-Benz 300CE 8.7 sec. 26.3 sec. 16.5 @ 85 mph 137 mph
Vital Stats Price Engine SAE Net Power MPG C/H
Acura Legend L $27,328 SOHC V6 2.7 L 163 cu in 161 HP @ 5900 RPM 18/23
BMW 635CSI $47,520 SOHC I6 3.5 L 209 cu in 208 HP @ 5700 RPM 14/18
Lincoln Mark VII LSC $27,607 V8 5.0L 302 cu in 225 HP @ 4000 RPM 17/23
Mercedes-Benz 300CE $52,603 SOHC I6 3.0L 181 cu in 177 HP @ 5700 RPM 17/22
And here is what Car and Driver magazine had to say about the Legend:

Despite the athletic abilities of the BMW and Mercedes, it is the Acura's powertrain that, in the logbooks we keep, logs our strongest praise: "It's shifter can be best described as Accurate. It's lever action places it among the world's top two or three automatic shifters. It reacts briskly but not abruptly to your command, conducting the engine's output smoothly to the ground, a sterling example of how an automatic should work."

And another staffer:

The Acura's engine is a marvel of precision, responsiveness, and all the rest that goes with a modern V6.

And another:

The Benz and BMW powertrains sometimes pause as you apply throttle, but the Legend and the Lincoln show no such signs of indecision, unreeling or reeling in their power proportion to the pressure your foot brings to bear.

The Japanese coupe draws the most all-around praise, too-amazing for a car that is $20,000 - $25,000 cheaper than the Germans.

The Acura and the Lincoln have better headroom than the German cars.

The Acura's rear seat provides the best combination of comfort, headroom, and visibility. The Lincoln's is probably more comfortable, but it's lack of visibility creates a claustrophobic atmosphere . . . The Acura is sumptuously smooth and very quick. Steering impervious to road irregularities. Stable at 120 MPH, but plenty of wind noise . . . Great seats. Good room overall . . . Steering wonderful-tremendous feel and accuracy.

Doesn't get blown around. Everything so easy to use. Although stiff, the Acura's suspension is supple. God, this car is good.

What can I say? This is why I love this car - it's every bit as good as Car and Driver says it is. You can ask anyone who owns one, and they'll tell you the same.

If you are in the market for a car and can find a Legend for sale, don't pass it up. You won't regret it.
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:43 PM   #2
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you know ted is a owner and is/was on this site right? lol
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:48 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by GreekPower View Post
you know ted is a owner and is/was on this site right? lol

No LOL!!!!
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:04 PM   #4
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yeah, i gotta find out why my car pauses when i slam the accelerator to WOT from a stop. sounds like from his description, it's not supposed to.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:30 PM   #5
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^ It's not...we've told you that before.

Yeah Ted is an old school member...poor guy had some financial issues come up and had to get rid of his Legend last I remembered...
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:33 PM   #6
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i've fixed the bog i had a long time ago. this is an actual power restraint off the line, but it's somewhat intermittent depending on if the coldstart idle adjuster is open or not. i'll figure it out.

but good article none the less.
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