2009 Lincoln MKS: Luxury Car Carries on the Tradition
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Lincoln has been the luxury brand of Ford Motor Co. since Henry M. Leland’s company was acquired by Ford in 1922. Leland, who named his auto manufacturing firm after Abraham Lincoln, for whom he voted in 1860, strove to build quality cars, and the reputation has lasted for more than 90 years. With its diamond logo firmly in place on the grille, Lincoln has come to represent the highest levels of Ford lavishness and manufacturing.
With MKS, Lincoln has created an American-built flagship with clean luxurious lines that hearken back to the large cars of America’s past. The striking double-wing grille is inspired by the 1941 Lincoln Continental, but I still shake my head at luxury cars that are outfitted with plastic grilles as is MKS’.
This full-size standard-bearer of the Lincoln line is based on Ford's D3 platform, which it shares with the Volvo S80 and Ford Taurus. A front-wheel-drive sedan with an optional four-wheel-drive set-up, MKS has excellent fit and finish and looks the part of a premium vehicle as it is billed.
Key design cues include a sculpted hood and fast-raked windshield, which form a sleek roofline. The broad-shouldered Lincoln MKS also features a beltline that kicks up slightly over the rear wheels, another modern tribute to classic Lincoln design. The prominent, well-manicured 18-inch bright-machined/painted cast-aluminum 10-spoke wheels call attention to sleek sides and an elegant profile.
At the rear, exquisitely detailed LED taillamps are accented by a vertical white light strip that runs along the edge of the decklid, and a horizontal chrome strip is inset with a Lincoln diamond icon.
Measuring 204.21 inches long, 75.9 inches high and 61.6 inches high on a 112.9-inch wheelbase, MKS is full-length luxury on four large, dazzling wheels.
My MKS was powered by a 3.7-liter aluminum head V-6 DOHC 24-valve engine with Sequential multi-port electronic fuel delivery. MKS offers only one engine option – the 3.7 – but in 2010, a 340hp twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 will be made available.
Mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift™, the current system puts out a relatively silent 273 hp on regular gasoline and 275 hp on premium with 270 lbs.-ft. of torque on regular and 276 on premium fuel. Using regular fuel, I found the power curve to be broad and flat, delivering solid passing gear acceleration as well as good low-end increases. Track tests showed a best zero to 60mph time of 7.6 seconds, with the 4127-lb. MKS finishing the quarter-mile in a steady 16 seconds flat (hand timed).
EPA rated at 16mpg in the city and 23mpg on the highway, my week of testing during hot summer sunshine and humidity on Central Pennsylvania highways and borough streets, and some torrential downpours in farm country, yielded an average of 20.3mpg.
On the road, I found the MKS to handle a bit too softly. While the ride was smooth and pampering to passengers, thanks to front Macpherson struts with isolated subframe and stabilizer bar, and an independent multi-link rear with coil-over shocks, the driving experience was unrefined, with hesitant acceleration and slow-to-respond rack-and-pinion steering. The car handled more like an SUV than a luxury sedan during acute maneuvers, as substantial yaw and body roll were present as was top-end wobble.
In the cabin, MKS delivers a roomy, upscale home with abundant tech. Built to seat five, the interior measures a comfortable 39.7 inches of front headroom with 38.5 in row two; 41.9 inches of first row leg room with 38.6 for second-seat occupants and 58.6 inches of shoulder room in row one with 57.4 inches behind.
Ventilated seats highlight a resplendent interior bathed in sculpted wood, chrome and double-stitched leather. An easy-to-read instrument panel flows horizontally from door to door, and Lincoln executives boast that the cabin was designed to pamper all inhabitants and not cater simply to the driver.
Attending to safety MKS is outfitted with four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and brake-assist, Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags.
Base priced at $39,555, my press fleet vehicle was upgraded with about $6200 in options to bring the price as tested to $45,765 plus destination charges of $800 for a bottom line of $46,565. The sticker additions included $5215 for the Ultimate Package with tech and a full Navigation tier consisting of: Voice-activated DVD Navigation System; THX® II with 5.1 Surround Sound Audio and a rearview camera. The Tech group within this option included: adaptive headlamps with auto high beam; rain sensing wipers; forward sensing system; rear-window power sunshade and intelligent access with push button start. Getting full bang for this option buck, the package also included a dual panel moonroof; 19-in. premium painted wheels; ultimate seating trim with seat color-keyed suede strip in the center of the seatbacks and embroidered Lincoln Star logo on the front headrests. An additional $995 was charged for adaptive cruise control.
The 2009 Lincoln MKS is the luxury line’s flagship and it carries that flag proudly.
Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
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