The 2008 Lincoln MKZ sports a high-output V-6 engine and all-wheel drive—something Lincoln fans might not be accustomed to seeing in their car.
The 3.5-liter V-6 was recognized by a respected industry publication (Ward's) as one of the world's 10 best engines because of its design and ability to produce its power on regular unleaded fuel. The MKZ’s updated V-6 engine impresses most reviewers. Cars.com reports "a 263-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 249 pounds-feet of torque," which ConsumerGuide says "has sufficient power for most any situation and is confidently strong in highway merging and passing." Critical in other areas, Washington Post declares that the MKZ Lincoln's "3.5-liter, 263-horsepower V-6 engine is capable, decent." The only negative comment about the Lincoln MKZ power plant comes from Edmunds: “despite having more power than the original 2006 Zephyr, the MKZ's 3.5-liter V6 is merely adequate." Yet in a separate review, they note it “provides enjoyable power throughout its rev range.” Motor Trend measures a 0-60-mph time of 6.8 seconds and avers “the engine sounds and feels good, and while not as polished as Toyota/Lexus or Honda V-6s of the same size, it's class competitive.”
AutoWeek reports that the Lincoln MKZ's "six-speed automatic transmission go about [its] business without frenzy; shift changes are smart but without a kick." ConsumerGuide is in accord here, saying that the "transmission is generally smooth and prompt," but notes that the MKZ "does not offer a manual shift gate." Motor Trend observes, “The transmission is a willing player, offering a gear for every occasion and smooth shifts, although there's no manual control over its six ratios.” All-wheel drive is an option on the MKZ.
ConsumerGuide establishes "19.4 mpg in city/highway driving, 23.2 mpg with more highway use," adding that the "MKZ uses regular-grade gas." The EPA rates it at 17/24 mpg for AWD versions, and 18/28 mpg for front-drive MKZs.
Most reviews approve of the 2008 Lincoln MKZ handling and overall road manners. AutoWeek says "the steering has ample boost at low speeds and becomes noticeably tighter on freeway jaunts...the chassis and suspension combo softens moderately rough pavement, yet it is stiff enough to keep the MKZ on an even keel through turns." Car and Driver assures prospective buyers that it is "not the floaty Lincoln of old...[it's] taut, firmly sprung, and pleasant enough to drive...a fully independent suspension that makes this the best-handling Lincoln in a long time." ConsumerGuide calls it "a good blend of firm control and bump absorption, though...not as composed overall as the class leader." Edmunds notes, "Around turns, the car's steering is smooth and linear, and the body rolls slightly but in a progressive, predictable manner that's more than acceptable given the MKZ's relatively plush ride.” Motor Trend agrees: “Where the old car felt soft and uninspiring, this feels more energetic and better pinned down, with improved grip front and rear.”