The 2009 Lincoln MKS's distinctive styling sets it apart from its close kin.
The MKS is the first production Lincoln to use the division's new grille design, which the company previewed on the MKS and MKT auto show concept vehicles. The winged design reaches back to Edsel Ford's 1941 Continental and gives the newest Lincoln a welcome bit of character that's grounded in something other than a designer's imagination.
Just about every review recognized that Lincoln has been wandering in the design desert for decades, but they all agreed that the 2009 Lincoln MKS was a step in the right direction. Edmunds admitted, "After so many fits and starts in Lincoln styling, we haven't a clue what a Lincoln is supposed to look like."
Popular Mechanics had the boldest compliments for the MKS, observing that “In the metal, the MKS appears handsome, with cohesive themes that begin with two tapered headlamp clusters, continue with a gently undulating character line, and resolve in a rear end that vaguely reminds us of the Maserati Quattroporte.”
Automobile said, "The 2009 Lincoln MKS's double-wing grille is a derivation of the one from the Lincoln MKR concept and was inspired by the 1941 Lincoln Continental. Flanked here by standard HID headlamps, the grille is something you will definitely see in future Lincolns." Edmunds found that in addition to the grille, other Lincoln design cues "include clean, uncluttered flanks and horizontal, full-width taillamps." They concluded, "We're not wholly convinced that the MKS has real beauty, but it at least presents itself convincingly as a luxury car."
Automobile's review also noted the absence of the faux vent on the front fender: "Thankfully, the space on the front fenders aft of the wheels is adorned simply and effectively with the Lincoln badge rather than the already-clichéd vents that we see elsewhere so often."
Autoblog wrote, "On the road, the new MKS has far more presence than any production Lincoln in years, including the late lamented LS." Jalopnik, in their traditionally pithy prose, noted, "It rides low enough to the road that I'd be concerned about scraping its cute-as-a-penny bottom in more than a few steep driveways, but it does look pretty damn cool."
Inside, the MKS’s combination of clean lines, luxurious materials, and lighter trim colors plants it squarely in the Lexus idiom of luxury, instead of the darker, more somber German sphere. “With its clean instrumentation and impressive attention to detail, the MKS's interior gets high marks for its luxurious livability,” Popular Mechanics reported. “This is a place we'd say is entirely habitable for many long hours on the road.” Edmunds wrote glowing things that capture the thoughts of nearly every reviewer: "It's too bad Lincoln can't turn the MKS inside-out. The interior is the car's greatest strength."