Lincoln MKS: Becoming LS?

January 9, 2006




2006 Detroit Auto Show Index by TCC Team (1/7/2006)


2006 Lincoln MKS Concept

2006 Lincoln MKS Concept

The elegant MKS concept, revealed Jan. 9 at the Detroit auto show, closely shows the future design direction for Lincoln ’s upcoming large sedans. Marketing chief Darryl Hazel said, “With the Lincoln MKS, we’re reaffirming what we stand for and signaling our intent to introduce a new generation of consumers to full-size performance luxury in the very near future.”


Powered by a 315-hp 4.4-liter all-aluminum V-8 engine — likely the same Yamaha-built engine out of the Volvo XC90 — paired to a six-speed automatic transmission, the MKS delivers power through an active all-wheel-drive system.


The sleek MKS skips the body cladding and trim in favor of a very clean, elegant look, and the big 20-inch wheels — five-spokes done in contrasting polished and vapor-blasted alloy — are a standout feature of the car. Much of the roof real estate is part of the greenhouse; the big panoramic glass Vista Roof is framed by alloy finishing rails, and the same alloy surfaces highlight the roof molding and the dual exhaust tips.


The cabin takes on a look that combines traditional Lincoln elements — like a horizontal shelf going across the instrument panel — with some very upscale appearance with plush Aniline leather, Silvered Birdseye maple and polished alloy trim, and 14-way-adjustable front seats that are heated and cooled and have extendable lower cushions. The instrument cluster is modeled after high-end sports watches, with flush-fit needle hubs and elevated, illuminated “chaplets.” Various suede surfaces and open-loop Wind Loom carpeting also lend distinctive touches to the interior.


A new interface, called the Lincoln Mobile Media System, is showcased in the car, which uses an eight-inch LCD screen to control most vehicle functions, including climate control, navigation, audio, telephony, and trip/vehicle information. The system is claimed to be less complicated as it uses rotary controls and limits the use of drop-down menus. The 14-speaker DVD-based surround-sound audio system is Bluetooth compatible, and a passive entry system on the MKS recognizes the driver and adjusts personal settings. The MKS also offers LED-based headlamps, combined with an adaptive lighting system for improved beam quality and visibility around corners.


The MKS offers side and curtain airbags, and the design of the steering column and tailor its rate of collapse to the driver’s size and seatbelt use.


Although Ford has made no announcements as to what platform the MKS would be built on, insider information suggests that the MKS is headed to production, will likely replace the competitive but poorly marketed LS sedan (and oddly, bears a passing resemblance to the Lexus LS as well), and will share underpinnings with the Ford Five Hundred, which is built on a platform adapted from the Volvo S80/XC90.


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