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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
base MKS is a "pretty ordinary luxury car
sweet twin-turbo V-6
all of this works remarkably well
Lincoln offers a big V-6 engine to MKS buyers and turbocharges it for those looking for a good substitute for V-8 power.
The basic 3.7-liter V-6 is a smooth, if adequate, performer, capable of a 0-60 mph run in 7.5 seconds and quiet, fuss-free exploits. It can be run with either regular or premium fuel, and turns in fuel economy figures of 17/24 mpg (front-drive) or 16/23 mpg (all-wheel drive). "With the base 3.7-liter V6 engine," Edmunds says, "the Lincoln MKS is a pretty ordinary luxury car." Popular Mechanics agrees, finding the engine "delivers smooth and entirely acceptable thrust considering the 4,127 pounds it's required to haul around. In other words, this isn't exactly the hot rod Lincoln of yore." Power is adequate in the MKS, but not lavish, though Jalopnik reports, "My concerns about pickup and handling were pretty much assuaged when I had to take a left turn across 4 lanes of highway traffic to head back to D.C. and laid rubber in the parking lot."
For a good amount more, Lincoln's new EcoBoost V-6 adds turbocharging and 82 hp for a total of 355 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. "Ford has moved on to direct-injection and turbocharging in order to ‘downsize' its engines and face future fuel-economy and CO2 standards," Motor Trend explains. With a turbo six instead of a V-8, the MKS gets a dramatic infusion of power, pushing it to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and to a top speed of 135 mph-while delivering a nice, ripe engine note and better fuel economy than the base engine, earning 17/25 mpg. "That sweet twin-turbo V6 moves this thing off the line like a scalded monkey and the transmission stays out of your way when you want it to," Jalopnik declares, while Motor Trend reports, "you'll find yourself hitting 120 mph like you were taking a walk in the park."
Both engines team with a six-speed automatic; EcoBoost versions add paddle shifters that might seem odd in a car of its size, but end up more useful for sport driving than you might think. The gearbox does an excellent job of keeping the Lincoln in the right gear at the right time-just what an automatic transmission should do. Popular Mechanics feels "the 6-speed's ratios are well chosen, but aggressive driving can lead to unpredictable downshifts," while Motor Trend "preferred the Sport Drive mode the most, which means quicker up- and downshifts, yet there is little need to opt for the Manual mode." Edmunds observes the automatic "shifts smartly but not harshly right at redline." EcoBoost models get "a select-shift paddle shifter," Motor Trend adds. "You use the back of either paddle to upshift and the thumb-pieces to downshift."
While it's influenced by European sedans like the Mercedes E-Class, the Lincoln MKS handles with typically American-car ride and handling. That's American of this decade: The MKS has a pleasantly damped ride and responsive steering (electric steering on EcoBoost models are artificial in feel), and the result on front- and all-wheel-drive models alike is a responsive sedan that's not too soft and not too hard, even with the optional 20-inch wheels. Autoblog asserts, "on the road all of this works remarkably well," and Popular Mechanics says the MKS certainly handles big sweeping turns with stability and confidence," though they note the bigger wheels "transmit road imperfections resulting in a somewhat busy ride." Motor Trend concludes that overall, "The car drives with a substantial feel, yet is never ponderous." However, the electric power steering and all-wheel drive don't find admirers at Edmunds; the EcoBoost's steering "doesn't supply much information and remains springy," while "trying to wake up the all-wheel drive (and rotate the car) by lift-stab on throttle only makes the stability control angrier and more intrusive." Autoblog thinks the turbo MKS is "surprisingly tossable," though, and during its testing, the "suspension kept the car remarkably composed." Ultimately, drivers reconcile themselves to the fact that the MKS is a "big car with a very bad-ass engine which doesn't quite tackle corners with the aplomb we'd like," as Jalopnik contends.
As for the Lincoln MKS's brakes, Motor Trend notes that they "feel linear, responsive, and feel as though they have plenty of stopping power in reserve."
Jalopnik reports the brakes "drop down from a panic stop and the ABS calibration is absolutely perfect, no pulsation, no loss of traction," but says "the pedal is mushy, there's no real feel in it and the travel before it engages is too long."
The 2010 Lincoln MKS is at its best in turbocharged form-it's not a sport sedan, but a big luxury cruiser with awesome acceleration.