Lincoln MKS - About town

Written By nyit on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 | 7:55 AM

I flew home from a trip to California last Friday, and while I was waiting for a shuttle to the Economy Lot, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the long line of shiny black Lincoln Town Cars waiting to pick up passengers. Their flash chrome grilles, stand-up hood ornaments, alloy wheels, and formal profiles are the standard among the livery trade. Enjoy it because soon this sight will be history.

Lincoln still lists the Town Car among its 2010 offerings on the consumer site, but there is not even a hint that it exists on the media site. I also saw none at the Detroit, Chicago, or Indianapolis auto shows this winter. Whether Lincoln is trying to paint a new image of itself, or the 2010s are simply re-numeraled 2009s, is hard to know. One drive in the MKS EcoBoost and you really won’t care. Mourn the TC for about two minutes, then get excited about the MKS. This is Lincoln’s new full-size flagship and it is a great one.

I’m not sure what I think of the design. The front wears Lincoln’s trademark “bow wake” grille design, a nod to the ’40 Continental. A smooth profile from front to high rear deck is handsome, especially the stepped shoulderline, but the design could just as easily be a Volvo or Lexus. Nothing really screams “Lincoln” except for the huge chrome logos on the front fenders. Overall, it is a nice-looking car and should please its potential owners.

If there’s any question about the exterior, there’s none about the passenger cabin. Ultra soft seat leather comes from Bridge of Weir, the same Scottish tannery that provided hides for the ’56 Continental Mark II. Optional Ebony wood is recycled from furniture makers. Ample chrome, stitched dashtops, individual center front armrests, and padded materials everywhere lend an aire of craftsmanship. THX audio will make you swear you’re in a box at the symphony.

Proving the car a starship, worthy of its high-end positioning, the MKS is loaded to the stitched dash coverings with every conceivable electronic gadget. Heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a power-adjustable steering wheel are but a start. Collision Warning uses the automatic cruise control’s radar unit to detect an impending collision, alerts the driver by flashing red lights onto the windshield, and pre-charges the brakes for when the driver finally taps the pedal. You can also get Active Park Assist on the MKS. The system measures parallel parking spaces as you pass them, lets you know when the car will fit, then steers the car into the space as you modulate the throttle. I tried it at the Detroit auto show. Pretty cool!

Keeping you connected to the world is Sync, developed jointly by Ford and Microsoft. The system enables voice activation for the audio, climate, calling, and navigation systems. It can also provide other information you never imagined. Driving home from my parents the other night, I conjured up a five-day weather forecast, received movie times, and had the car route me to the 9:30 movie with the touch of a button. Bluetooth enables hands-free calling.

Going out with the upright styling are V8 engines. MKS comes standard with a 270-HP 3.7-litre V6 engine, but our test car came with the 3.5-litre twin-turbo direct-injected “EcoBoost” V6 that routes 355 horsepower to the wheels through an electronic all-wheel-drive system and manumatic 6-speed transmission. The transmission can either be left to shift crisply on its own, or controlled with paddles behind the steering wheel. I don’t really imagine most of Lincoln’s owners ripping through the gears like they’re behind the wheel of a Ferrari 458 Italia, but who knows? The twin-turbo engine may enliven the soul enough to drive like a demon. Fuel economy (on 87 octane) is rated 17/25-MPG city/highway.

MKS’ comfort owes much to its Volvo-based chassis with four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, AWD, stability control, and Pull Drift Control that automatically compensates for rutted roads and crosswinds. It rides serenely on the highway, gives sport sedans a good go through curvy mountain passes, and keeps harshness out of the interior. This is easily the best-handling full-size Lincoln ever.

A car about town, the MKS will soon await not only thousands of happy owners, but also hordes of content travelers looking for a plush ride home after a long trip. Admittedly, older Lincoln owners may have cardiac arrest on the showroom floor when they drive in to trade their Continental or Town Car. Once revived, they’ll be very happy. With an as-tested price of $54,425, competitors include the Cadillac DTS, Mercedes E-Class, Chrysler 300C, and Lexus ES.


By Casey Williams
MyCarData


2010 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost

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