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New look Honda Legend

But the Japanese firm isn't expecting more sales.

Honda's flagship has been given a mid-life overhaul after falling short of its sales targets locally. But even though it failed to reach its target of 60 sales a month, Honda Australia is happy with its range-topping model, which was relaunched two years ago.

“The current model has sold 700 since its launch, which is pretty much on target. The car is a showcase for technology. It was never meant to be a volume seller,” Honda Australia's Mark Higgins says.

Last year Honda sold 404 examples of the Legend - well below its target of 600 - despite having repositioned it at $74,500 after the price had crept towards $90,000 on the previous generation.

But Higgins says the company was happy with those numbers. Stock problems throughout its run had hampered sales of the previous model.

“We hope this new car will achieve all its targets and objectives. I think we were happy with where the old model settled, about 30 a month. We see it at that level.”

The 2009-model Legend is the most powerful Honda road car the company has produced. The old model's 3.5-litre V6 has grown to 3.7-litres and now produces 226kW of power and 370Nm of torque. That's up from 217kW and 351Nm from the old unit.

Despite the power increase, fuel use has been marginally reduced from 11.8litres/100km to 11.3litres/100km.

The Legend retains its Super Handling all-wheel-drive system and drive-by-wire throttle, but gets an updated five-speed Sequential SportsShift transmission.

On the outside the car has more than a dozen cosmetic changes. At the front is a new bonnet, bi-xenon headlights, grille and bumper. The rear gets a new boot with integrated spoiler, bumper, lights and exhaust. There are new 18-inch alloy wheels and side rocker panels.

Continuing the technological theme, the “acoustic windscreen” features a thin film of butyl alcohol sandwiched between two glass panels to increase sound protection. There is also the Honda Active noise-cancellation system, which transmits acoustic signals into the cabin to reduce noise.

The interior has new seats, steering wheel, BOSE sound system and climate control. But the changes come at a price. The 2009 Legend now costs from $77,500.