Second generations of anything, whether it be people or products, usually are quite different than their predecessors.

In line with that dictum, the second-generation 1991 Acura Legend is dramatically different from the sedan introduced five years ago.

The new Legend sedans have been redesigned and repowered. The Acura Division of American Honda Motor Co. has created a four-door that is longer, wider and more powerful. It also has better fuel economy.

Acura considers size the key to comfort in a motor car. As a consequence, its Legend sedan has dimensions that reach into the midsized category. The wheelbase measures 114.6 inches, compared to 108.7 for the previous model. The overall length has been increased 4.3 inches to 194.9 inches, and the width has been increased 2.4 inches to 71.3 inches.

The Legend L sedan that Jim Mulvaney, general manager of Ed Martin Pontiac-GMC-Acura, provided for a test car had excellent ride characteristics thanks to independent double-wishbone suspension on all four wheels.

The L is an upstream automobile both in price and makeup, so a complete range of standard luxury accessories and trim goes with such a car.

The sedan is a five-seater, although three adults in the back are not going to have as much shoulder room as in a full-sized big car. But they will find the seating comfortable.

All the luxury accouterments don't mean much if the machine doesn't get up and run. Acura has taken care of that with a new aluminum 24-valve V-6.

The motor is mounted longitudinally in the chassis instead of transversely. It has a variable induction system and has its four valves per cylinder actuated by a single overhead cam on each bank of three cylinders. The more traditional method of actuating the valves is by dual overhead cams.

With 200 horsepower and moderate weight, performance is sparkling. There is a momentary lag on full-throttle acceleration off the line. But then the V-6 picks up the revs, and the front-drive pulls straight as an arrow. The driver is apt to find the speed deceptive.

I'd say drivers will like the large dial gauges right in front of them, and the feeling of stability through fast corners. Having to climb over the left-side seat bolster to get out from behind the wheel may be a little annoying.

This luxury second-generation Acura carries on the tradition of its predecessor. It's an automobile for those who like to drive.