Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen was an early 60s band. I don't know much about them, except that they had a great song called "Hot Rod Lincoln." The song was about a cross-country road trip that turned into a road race, all sung to a country rockabilly beat. Great stuff.
However, it's been some time since Lincoln has offered anything remotely hot. But as of right now, Commander Cody can be played once again, and this time, not just for the sake of nostalgia.
We've just driven the 2010 Lincoln MKS, a sedan we introduced to you here last summer. Back then, the 2009 Lincoln MKS was an all-new sedan that stood out as the rudderless luxury division's smartest tiller move in decades. The MKS looked unique and drove like a Lincoln should; smoothly, quietly, and with an appropriate degree of athleticism. Beyond that, its interior looked elegant and proved exceptionally quiet. With features like SYNC and Travel Link, the MKS also led the segment with useful infotainment features.
At the 2009 launch, Ford Motor Company recognized that its flagship was missing something that Cadillac, Lexus, Infiniti, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz offered; a V-8. The MKS's only engine was a 3.7-liter V-6 that produced an adequate (but not impressive) 275 horsepower.
For the 2010 model year, Lincoln provided the answer; the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 called the EcoBoost.
Check out this story to learn more about the EcoBoost V-6 engine. The short of it is that this V-6 delivers V-6 levels of fuel economy with V-8 levels of power. In the 2010 Lincoln MKS, that would be 355 horsepower and 350 lb.ft. torque. While official EPA numbers aren't available, Lincoln expects the MKS Sport with EcoBoost to achieve at least 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway.
2010 Lincoln MKS with EcoBoostEnlarge Photo
Yesterday, at Ford's Romeo Michigan Proving Grounds, we took several 2010 MKS sedans for extensive drives on different roads. Each model was an MKS Sport that features the EcoBoost engine. This one difference (and the accompanying revised chassis tuning) will be what the balance of this drive impression focuses on, given that most everything else about the MKS has stayed the same from 2009.
Focusing on the performance of the EcoBoost engine, the power delivery is startlingly linear. What this means is that when you mash the throttle, you get immediate power that just keeps coming and coming. The result is that you simply go faster and faster and faster. We did a crude stopwatch timing of 0-100 mph and it came up in 15.1 seconds. Zero to 60 mph came up in the mid six-second range. Impressive.
Like most engines these days, all you can really see of the EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6 is...a plastic cover.Enlarge Photo
The character of the acceleration is fluid and even, without any peaks or flat spots. The shifts from the heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission can be heard but not felt (one hears the engine change pitch when the rpms drop ... the transmission makes no noise at all).
Of course, no one will ever drive an MKS like I did at the proving grounds, so what do the above notes mean for driving in real life? Frankly, the driver of an MKS will simply feel like the master of his or her driving universe. The effortlessness of the acceleration builds confidence and reduces stress (Can I merge on the freeway safely? Can I pass that truck on a two-lane?).
Excess power is also a luxury thing. Why do you think nearly every other luxury manufacturer offers a V-8 in their larger sedans? However, with EcoBoost, Lincoln has made it possible for MKS drivers to have their V-8 power without the V-8 fuel economy penalty. Lincoln estimates the 3.5-liter EcoBoost will return 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. On a five mile loop at 70 mph, I averaged 24.3 mpg, so I can verify that the highway estimate seems completely reasonable.