Performance » 7
PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
still doesn't have as much gusto as some of its competitors
Sport mode "a first for the MKZ
agonizingly limp" steering
Car and Driver
rides smoother and quieter
A single powertrain is offered in the 2010 MKZ, and it's energetic enough-but the MKZ just doesn't have the fine performance edge to match some of the luxury sedans in its class.
The MKZ's engine is a 3.5-liter, 263-horsepower V-6 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, and it's available with either front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. It's amply powerful, though when wound up near its power peak, the V-6 sounds less smooth than it should wearing a Lincoln badge. Ford says improvements in engine breathing and responsiveness drop 0-60 mph times to 7.1 seconds.
Motor Trend measures a 0-60-mph time of 6.8 seconds with the 2009 model's identical engine and a slower transmission; it reports "the engine sounds and feels good, and while not as polished as Toyota/Lexus or Honda V-6s of the same size, it is class competitive." Autoblog confirms the newest "MKZ still doesn't have as much gusto as some of its competitors," though they are "pleasantly surprised at how well the transmission responded" in manual-shift mode. Motor Trend notes the new transmission's sport mode is "a first for the MKZ," and it "lays it out correctly-forward for downshifts, backward for upshifts." The MKZ sips regular gas and still is rated at 18/27 mpg, fine numbers for the class.
"To improve the MKZ's ride and handling," Motor Trend reports, "Lincoln retuned the springs and dampers, tweaked the rear suspension geometry, and, for enthusiasts, added an available sport package." However, fitting with the brand, the Lincoln MKZ is no dynamo around corners-it lacks good steering feel, and despite having a sport suspension offering, it's no BMW. Car and Driver says "we doubt the Lincoln would be able to keep up with the CTS or TL on the same road," while Autoblog finds it holds its own on "twisty roads, although the steering felt too light and over-boosted." The steering is a common complaint in reviews: Car and Driver calls it "agonizingly limp" and feels it "pretty much ruins the party." Still, the new MKZ "rides smoother and quieter," Motor Trend notes, and it "sounds sweeter, responds quicker, and glides more gracefully."
The 2010 Lincoln MKZ can't match the crisp driving manners of European sport sedans, though it's quick and has a smooth, controlled ride.