New & Used Lincoln MKS: In Depth
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The Lincoln MKS is a large, high-tech four-door sedan that relies on the same platform as the Ford Taurus.
The MKS isn't as long overall as the old Town Car, but there's actually more interior space--not to mention far better handling, styling, fuel efficiency, and feature content. It's offered in either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive form, with normally aspirated or turbocharged six-cylinder engines. Its closest competition includes sedans like the Volvo S80, Acura RLX, and the Cadillac XTS.
Lincoln hinted at the MKS first with a concept vehicle shown at the 2006 Detroit auto show. The production version emerged at the 2007 Los Angeles auto show before sales began in 2008.
For its first model year, the 2009 Lincoln MKS featured a single engine, a 3.7-liter V-6 with 252 horsepower, coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. The underpinnings included an independent suspension derived from a family of vehicles that include the Volvo XC90, the Ford Taurus and the Ford Flex. While reviewers appreciated its large cabin--particularly the roomy back seat--and the nicely detailed cabin, the MKS didn't quite earn the plaudits of the German sedans in the class, the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Handling leaned more toward plush, and straight-line performance was quick, if not blazing.
The handsome MKS gained more traction with the addition of a turbocharged model for the 2010 model year. The MKS with Ford's twin-turbo "EcoBoost" V-6 hauls in 355 horsepower in all, mated to the same six-speed automatic--fitted with paddle shift controls, in this case, and with slightly firmer suspension tuning. The new edition hits 60 mph in an estimated 6.5 seconds, and a top speed of 135 mph, while maintaining fuel economy of at least 16/22 mpg (it was estimated at 17/25 mpg in non-turbo versions).
Behind its Lexus-like roofline, the MKS gives passengers ample space and comfortable, high-rent accommodations. The dash wears wood and metallic trim highlighted by soft white lighting--it's a subtle, rich environment that would suit a Lexus. The front seats are exceptionally comfortable, save for the forward press of the active headrests. And in back, full-size adults have ample head and leg room.
The MKS is among the safest vehicles on the road today. The NHTSA's five-star rating (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) now applies to the 2013 MKS; the insurance-industry-funded IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) names it a Top Safety Pick. The MKS has standard dual front, side, and curtain airbags, along with anti-lock brakes, plus traction and stability control. A rearview camera and front parking sensors also are standard, while adaptive cruise control and active park assist are options. Active park assist uses sensors to determine steering angle and "parks" the car for drivers, who operate only the gas and brake while the MKS with EcoBoost (and its electric power steering) turns the wheel for perfect parking. Blind-spot monitors are now offered as well.
The base front-drive MKS has a long list of features including satellite radio, Ford's SYNC voice-activation and Bluetooth controls, and ventilated front seats. The EcoBoost edition fits 19-inch wheels, push-button start, active park assist and a "MyKey" system that allows owners to program speed limits, radio volumes and other limits for younger drivers. Options include a dual-pane sunroof, wood trim, an EcoBoost appearance package, adaptive cruise control, DVD navigation, THX-certified audio, and 20-inch wheels.
For the 2013 model year, the Lincoln MKS received its most extensive update since it went on sale. A new, slimmer grille and a revamped dash were the most obvious changes, along with the adoption of MyLincoln Touch--the voice, steering-wheel, and touchscreen-driven control system for the MKS' infotainment features. New safety features including lane-keeping alerts, and wireless Internet capability were also included in the model-year update. The MKS also received a new adaptive suspension, and a power increase on its base engine from 274 hp to 304 hp--along with a boost in fuel economy to an estimated 18/27 mpg.
The Lincoln MKS is built at Ford's Chicago Assembly plant in Chicago, Illinois.
A replacement for the MKS is likely due in the 2015 model year or soon after, and there are reports that it could share an all-wheel-drive version of the upcoming Mustang's rear-drive platform.