When shopping for a luxury sedan, there are many options to choose from and depending on exactly what you want to get out of the car in terms of driving experience, there are many options to weigh. If you want a slushy, detached ride that will whisk you away in comfort, you can find that. If you want a sharp handling ride with power that could keep up with the better sports cars out there, you can find that too. If you're looking for a car that will bathe you in luxury and technology, there are many options for that as well.
The Lincoln MKS stacks up very well against its direct competition like the Infiniti M, Hyundai Genesis, Lexus GS, and Acura RL. The Infiniti M is a great car and has an indulgent interior that would please the best of them. I wouldn't say, though, that it's much better than the interior in the MKS and the styling points would have to go to the MKS in my book. The Hyundai Genesis has gone a long way in bringing the Hyundai brand more and more credit in every category. I think I'd still have the MKS on interior and styling though. The same goes for the Lexus GS and Acura RL, both extremely prestigious cars but still lacking something that the MKS seems to bring to the table. What about indirect competition to the MKS? Lincoln describes the new EcoBoost engine as having V6 fuel economy and V8 power, so someone decided to put that claim to a test against much more seasoned and expensive luxury cars. They pitted the MKS against the BMW 550, the Jaguar XJ, and the Maserati Quattroporte in a V6 vs. V8 challenge. When considering driving experience, any BMW should be around the top of anyones list (after all, it is their slogan), and in this challenge it ranked on top. The surprise for the test, though, was the second place ranking went to the less powerful, less expensive Lincoln.
So they may have a point with the power side of that argument, and sure enough after testing this car around the streets in Arlington, we never felt a lack of power. Drop that gear shifter into manual mode and use the shifters on the steering wheel and the peppy 3.5 liter twin turbocharged V6 comes to life. With 355 horsepower and 350 lb-ft torque it pushed this 4300 pound luxury car with ease. Dont get me wrong, your not going to light the streets on fire here -mainly due to the AWD system- but merging in traffic and using on ramps, this car gives you the confidence that you'll be able to put your foot down and make it happen. Fuel economy is dead on in Lincoln's claim as well. The 3.5 liter engine, although making significantly more horsepower has better fuel economy ratings than the standard 3.7 liter V6 offered in the car. The EPA ratings on the MKS AWD is 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. As we drove mostly city streets in Arlington and of course using the paddle shifters quite often, we still averaged 21 mpg and over.
Driving purists, much like us at txGarage, feel that the only way to go is rear wheel drive. In almost any circumstance, it's just better and that much more fun. So how did we feel about the MKS's AWD system? We are adamant that the Lincoln brand should switch to a rear wheel drive line-up if it really wants to compete in the luxury market of today and differentiate itself from its Ford platformed siblings. That being said, the AWD system worked well and was considerably better than trying to have the front wheels do all the work. Luckily, if you want the EcoBoost option, it is only offered in AWD. You wouldn't want to see what 355 horsepower would do to the front wheels while they are also trying to steer you around a corner.
One of my favorite things about the new MKS is the styling. Not because its the most beautifully styled car out there, but because it finally shows that Lincoln is in the right century. This car basically takes over as the flagship sedan replacing the Town Car in Lincoln's line up. Although Lincoln says the new split grill was inspired by the 1941 Continental Cabriolet, it is a fantastic new design bringing the Lincoln a more modern and sleek look. The headlights are thin and wide meshing with the split grill. They are jammed with features like adaptive lighting that turns the lamps as you turn the wheel, adaptive brights that will turn your bright lights on and off for you, and come standard with HID xenon lights. The high belt line and substantial c-piller of the MKS doesn't assist in any way to visibility, yet they did it anyway. This means that they are actually thinking about design. More out with the old and in with the new is the integrated touch panel in the b-piller. Fords and Lincolns used to have a little touch panel of ugly buttons just above the door handle that allowed the driver to lock and unlock the vehicle with a code. Now with an illuminated touch panel, that hides away in the b-piller of the car. Not only can you unlock the car, but also input functions like rolling the windows up or down, or sliding the sunroof open. Coming around the back of the car, you'll notice what I think are the best looking taillights put on a Lincoln. Maybe because they resemble those on a Maserati, but Lincoln designers specifically put them at the far corners of the rear to give the car a wider and more planted look. Don't look now, but those are 3.5 inch dual exhaust tips starring at you too. Overall, the line work on this car is stunning for a Lincoln; the designers did a fantastic job!
The interior is more “out with the old and in with the new” as the first thing you notice sitting in this car is how comfortable and nice the seats feel. All the leather in the car is Bridge of Weir leather, the same leather put in Aston Martins, and is incredibly attractive. The front seats are standard with heated and cooled options, and are twelve way adjustable with two memory settings for the driver seat. The rear seats can also warm your buns as you cruise along in comfort, all while having plenty of room for your legs and shoulders. As a matter of fact, we fit five people in this car on a few occasions and all were surprised at just how much room they really had, and we're talking Texas boys here. Of course, we have to keep our passengers entertained, thats where the THX 5.1 surround sound came into play. The SYNC system worked great, as to be expected, although the screen being up higher was more of a reach if you really wanted to touch it in the first place. We opted for the hands free voice commands that work so well with SYNC. More features packed into this car are adaptive cruise control that you can set the distance you want between you and the car infront of you, then the car will accelerate or brake for you. You also get park assist, a great feature to show off to friends, but in Texas unless, you go downtown into a major city there are not many real world times to use it. Pull alongside a group of cars and push the park assist button and the information system will tell you to pull up till the sensors on the car find an open spot. Once the car has found a spot for you, you pull forward till you hear a beep then stick it in reverse, take your hands off the wheel and let the car work the rest out for you. Our test car had the incredible dual pain sunroof that had shades that could slide back and forth with a touch of a button, and the front could tilt or slide like a traditional sunroof. This car is, for sure, a nice place to be especially when you do a lot of driving.
So where does this car fall in the slew of choices your faced when buying a luxury car? Good power, good fuel economy, and a great interior ,all at a decent price should put this at the top of the shopping list for any buyer. The direction that Lincoln is going is, finally, toward progress. We would still like to see the Lincoln brand switch away from front wheel drive platforms and would love to see a MKS coupe, at lease in a concept version, coming from Lincoln in the future. We'll hold our breaths on those points though.