In most people’s estimations, Lincoln has definitely been a neglected brand for Ford. Say “Lincoln” and the Town Car will probably be the first thing that leaps to someones mind. Especially when you consider the advances and press that GM’s Cadillac receives, those that have been waiting for similar news from Lincoln have been mostly disappointed. Well buck up Lincoln fans, the four-pointed star is back with a nice offering of luxury and style wrapped up in the form of the MKS.
After a lot of talk and waffling on Lincoln’s part in bringing the MKS to showrooms, it appears that it is precisely as advertised as a sufficiently upscale model that fits between the MKZ and the geriatrically-induced Town Car in the Lincoln lineup. Lincoln is hoping those considering the Lexus GS, Acura RL or Cadillac CTS will be potential suitors for the MKS. As a tip-of-the-hat to my colleagues here at Ridelust the MKS shares the same chassis as both the Volvo S80 and the Ford Taurus, though that is where the similarities end. Depending on your tastes in cars, the MKS is either a bit bland or cleanly refined. Personally, I think it is a pretty sharp vehicle that will probably be an attractive choice for those that want to buy American but don’t like the angular styling of a Cadillac.
Under the hood, a 3.7 liter version of Ford’s Duratec V-6 which produces 273 horsepower and 270 pounds-feet of torque places the MKS squarely within the reach of its competition. Lincoln-lovers get a choice between the standard FWD or the $1100 option AWD. A single transmission option in the form of a 6-speed automatic offers standard Drive, Sport Drive, or Manual modes. Sport Drive is the preferred selection according to most testers for the quick up and downshifts it provides, while the Manual mode is largely not needed. In terms of road manners, the MKS is tame in comparison to the M35 or Acura RL, but not so smothered in luxury that a driver is induced into a driving coma. Buyers have a trio of wheel options; 18, 19 and 20-inches that slightly determine the car’s suspension.
To this point, in typical American fashion, the MKS seems mechanically solid. But interior and overall build quality is often a stumbling block with these type of vehicles from Detroit. Not so in the MKS. The choice of interior appointments are excellent, beginning with the Weir leather and wood trim on the dash and steering. Wood. Not Plastic. Buyers have a choice of textured aluminum trim panels if wood isn’t your style. Ford has said it will more aggressively market Lincoln as the epitome of high tech luxury, and that appears to be the truth. Sync, the connectivity system developed with Microsoft, is standard and allows hands free operation of just about any iPod-like music device and Bluetooth enable cellphone on the market. The optional navigational system may be the best on the market. Lincoln places an 8-inch, VGA quality, high resolution screen high on the center console, where it is easily seen and accessed. You can also opt for Sirius sat radio, plus a new suite of services called Sirius Travel Link. Travel link includes real time traffic information, fuel price guidance (find the cheapest gas in town, then press a button to have the system take you there), national weather information (including advance forecasting), sports score information, and movie listings all for $6.95 a month subscription fee. Also available is a THX-certified audio system and keyless entry system operated by heat-sensitive touch buttons on the rear of the driver’s door pillar. The gas cap even gets uprated, replaced in the MKS by a panel that seals tight as soon as you withdraw the pump. Speaking of the pump. With AWD the MKS delivers 17 and 23 mpg in city and highway driving.
All of this sublimeness begins with a price tag of $38,465, and approaches $46,000 with all of the bells and whistles including AWD. Am I crazy? That actually sounds quite reasonable given all that the MKS offers. Either way, hopefully Ford will continue to make sure Lincoln is a relevant part of the luxury conversation.