Daewoo has mistakenly claimed a world first for the transverse-mounted six-cylinder engine in the new Magnus (which will replace the Leganza in some export markets) shown at this week#;s Geneva motor show.


Volvo#;s S80 already features a transverse six amongst its engine options and the trick was tried as long ago as 1970 when the then British Leyland Australia shoehorned a transverse six into a unique local update of the 1800 ‘Land Crab#; called the Tasman and Kimblerley line. Parent company BL in the UK subsequently used the transverse six driveline for two model lines of its own.


Ill-researched claims aside, the new Daewoo flagship nevertheless deserves interest for its new all-alloy, dual camshaft XK-6 engine which, initially at least, is not for export.


Overseas markets will instead get the base two-litre in-line four cylinder DOHC engine.


The optional four-speed automatic gearbox comes with adaptive shift control technology and features a step-gate type layout for the gear lever plus a shift interlock safety mechanism.


The Magnus/Leganza, code-named V222 has again been styled by ItalDesign and was benchmarked against the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Volkswagen Passat.


Testing covered two million kilometres in a wide range of driving environments from MIRA and Millbrook in England to Alice Springs in Australia but the development cycle overall was shortened and costs reduced by adopting simultaneous engineering methods and using the services of “guest engineers”.


The Magnus has a 2700mm wheelbase that is 30mm longer than the current Leganza (still in production in Korea) and an enlarged track (1550mm front and 1535mm rear). The passenger compartment is roomy and there#;s a generous 430 litres of cargo carrying capacity. The interior is two-tone with rather fake looking wood-grain trim as standard.


Over 250 collision tests have earned the Daewoo newcomer a four-star safety rating in the European NCAP test standard and a five-star rating in the U.S. NCAP test. Safety features include an automatic fuel cut-off valve and ABS with integrated traction control. Daewoo claims that the use of an intermediate driveshaft enhances steering precision and handling characteristics.


A triple stage cabin air filter and a 140-watt sound system with six speakers, AM/FM receiver, CD changer and 5.8-inch colour LCD screen are also standard.