The Lincoln MKS defines the premium brand’s design strategy for its next generation of American luxury vehicles. With clean, uncluttered surfacing, a powerful beltline and an impressive front end highlighting some of the more prominent styling cues of Lincoln’s new design language, the MKS is clearly bold and unmistakably American.
Lincoln’s new look was previewed at the 2007 North American International Auto Show by the fantastic MKR concept. While clearly a blue-sky show car, the MKR’s influence on the production MKS is still plain to see.
When Lincoln introduced the MKR, it announced its intention to inject American style back into the company lineup. Bold words to some perhaps, but from the company that gave us the extremely elegant Continental of 1956 and the ultra-chic Continental of ’61, it not only seemed doable, but also about damn time.
Based on a rear-wheel drive platform and with no production intent, the concept car’s stunning proportions just can’t be translated to the front-wheel-drive D3 platform that underpins the MKS, although there’s still a lot to like about this new full-size Lincoln sedan.
The most prominent element previewed by the show car is the split wing grille that sees the Lincoln badge separating its two halves. Not quite as bold as on the concept, it is nonetheless confident, as well as nicely integrated with the thin, horizontal headlights – another Lincoln design cue. Unfortunately, the bold spine that ran up from the central badge onto the hood on the MKR was left on the auto show floor, with the production car getting a much more anonymous indentation.
Around the side, we also miss the side vent-derived bone line that ran into the front door. Its replacement – a seemingly obligatory fender element – is simply unnecessary, and cramped by the nicely shaped fender flare and the door shut line. Still, there’s elegant simplicity in the surfacing of the MKS that makes up for that clumsy detail and for the somewhat stubby proportions that betray its front-wheel drive chassis. The big 20-in. cast aluminum wheels – near knock-offs of the show car’s 10-spoke design, but with one additional spoke adding a more dynamic feel – also help to disguise the car’s vertical mass, as does the blacked-out lower body that wraps around the car.
At the back, Lincoln designers must have decided on an even-more conservative approach, as the sinister-looking full-width taillights from the show car have given way to a more conventional setup that at least features an interesting graphic breakup in the vertical indicator. The trailing edge of the trunk features nice surfacing in its subtle kick-up, under which sits a less prominent Lincoln star.
While it’s a little disappointing that Lincoln shied away somewhat from the gorgeous and bold MKR concept, the Lincoln MKS is still a good looking, modern representation of the American luxury sedan that clearly adheres to the brand ethos of elegant simplicity and sophistication.
Lincoln MKS AWD
- Acceleration: Adequate at best, but befitting its class – really should have a V8
- Handling: Brisk is as fast as you’ll ever want to go – doesn’t do the hustle
- Braking: Spongy pedal doesn’t inspire confidence – you shouldn’t be going fast enough to tax them
- Exterior: Finally, a design direction worthy of Lincoln’s heritage – show car that it’s based on was more confident
- Interior: Perfectly designed and finished for the segment – nice materials and craftsmanship throughout
- Comfort: So comfy, you could fall asleep at the wheel… as some of its owners’ driving habits will suggest
- Space: HUGE inside – almost Town Car big – Soprano’s worthy trunk
- Dynamics: Softly sprung nature and lots of mass means that changes of direction are not encouraged
- Technology: Overly obstructive stability control system is probably a good thing given the car’s weight and suspension set-up
- Price: Base price a bit misleading – upper 40′s more accurate, but also in line with competitors – tons of technology inside
- Mileage: Lots of weight and all-wheel drive drag motivated by a V6 means you’ll be thankful for the large capacity fuel tank
- Heart thumpin’ factor: Distinctive American styling to be proud of, but the performance won’t raise your blood pressure
- Fun to spank: Don’t even think about it
Layout: Front engine / All-wheel drive
Engine: 3.7 liter, V6
Power (SAE): 275 hp @ 6250 rpm
Torque: 276 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed automatic
Curb Weight: 4310 lbs.
0-60 mph: 7.5 sec.
1/4 mile: 15.7 @ 90 mph
Top Speed: 137 mph (electronically limited)
Mileage: 16 city / 23 highway
Base Price: $39,590
Competitors: Acura RL, Lexus GS 350 AWD, Volvo S80 T6 AWD