2002 Lincoln LS Photo
Quick Take
Driving Forces: Product is King by TCC Team (11/19/2001)Q&A: Ford’s Wolfgang Reitzle by Mike... Read more »

Driving Forces: Product is King by TCC Team (11/19/2001)
Q&A: Ford’s Wolfgang Reitzle by Mike Davis (11/12/2001)

There are several American sedans that compete in the entry-luxury segment, some of them even "sporty." But as of 2002, there is only one legitimate U.S-built sport sedan: the $33,045-$39,395 Lincoln LS. It is the only American four-door that offers rear-wheel drive, luxurious appointments, an available V-8 engine, and a manual transmission option (V-6 only, natch) in the same package.

The rest of the currently available American sedans are uniformly front-wheel-drive, automatic only, or not especially luxurious. There's the rear-wheel-drive, V-6-powered Cadillac Catera, but you can't get a stick shift in it. And there's no V-8 option with the Caddy, either. And the cop car/taxi cab Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis, though rear-wheel drive and V-8-powered, are antediluvian boats with bench seats and zero upmarket cachet.

The coming 2003 Caddy CTS sport sedan, with its available manual transmission, will be the first domestic sport sedan to compete on more equal terms with the Lincoln LS — but it's not out yet.

Real McCoys

So for now, if you want a sport sedan — the real McCoy, anyhow — and want to buy American, the Lincoln LS is pretty much the only choice there is. Luckily, it's not a half-bad choice by any means. The LS, which came out about a year ago and remains mostly the same for the 2002 model run, is remarkably competitive with class-leading European sport sedans in the entry-luxury price range. That includes models such as the Jaguar X-Type, BMW 3-Series and 5-Series, Audi A4 and A6, Mercedes C-Class and E-Class. Check the car out: It has comparable (even superior) power as compared with most of those cars, a similar level of refinement and features, and is also a larger car for the money than many of those other machines.

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