Luxury and performance in one cool package
About a week ago, I spent a week with the Lincoln MKS. This is the Lincoln version of the cool Ford Taurus SHO. That means that the Lincoln MKS has the same 3.5L EcoBoost V6 with 24-valves. The Lincoln MKS is also all-wheel drive and has a 6-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift paddles for shifting gears when you want.
My test vehicle was Tuxedo Black on the outside, which is a metallic black, and it had black leather ultimate interior. The vehicle was loaded out with 20-inch wheels and tires, Rapid spec 201A package with voice activated nav system, THX-II 5.1 surround audio, a rear view camera, and a dual panel sunroof. Other optional equipment included active park assist, adaptive cruise, and the EcoBoost appearance package. The total for options on my test car was $8,325. The base price was $48,160 bringing the as tested total to $56,485. The Lincoln MKS definitely had a more luxurious feel than the sporty Taurus SHO.
The Lincoln interior is made from nicer feeling materials than the Ford products I have tested. The dash was covered in black leather and the seats and several other surfaces inside the car were covered in black leather as well. The leather was much softer than the leather in my Mustang. The front seats were heated and cooled making them very comfortable in the cool weather we have had lately here in Texas. The seats for both front passengers are 12-way electric adjustable and even the rear seats were heated.
The real story here, other than luxury, is performance. This is a big car, but the twin turbo V6 puts out an impressive 355hp and 350lb-ft of torque. Those numbers don’t mean a lot to you other than the car is fast. The AWD means the car has a lot of grip and when you want to go the car will fly and surprise many sports car drivers that might be in the lane next to you.
It's a lot of fun to line up next to kids in hopped up imports and then show them the taillights in a big luxury car. I found the best launch with the car is to put a foot on the brake, bring the car up to about 1500rpm, let off the brake, and away you go. This isn’t a muscle car with smoky burnouts. In dry weather on decent roads, you get no wheel spin and the car pulls like a freight train. The car hits 80mph faster than most so-called sports cars I have driven. The Lincoln MKS is a very fun car to drive.
The downside to the size is that if you get into curves you can’t toss this thing around like you can a smaller car. The Lincoln MKS handles decently given its size, but there is noticeable body roll in corners. Still, this isn’t a racecar and the folks that opt for the Lincoln MKS will be more interested in luxury than lapping a track at an open track day.
During my time with the Lincoln MKS, I tried the manual mode on the transmission several times. Each paddle on the wheel can handle up shifts and downshifts. You push for downshift, and pull for an up shift. It takes the car a good 500-rpm range to make the shift to another gear. That means if you are going hard you need to hit the shift button 500rpm before where you actually want to shift.
If you are trying to make a redline shift, and wait until the tach hits the redline to pull the paddle, you will bang the rev limiter each time. Give yourself a 500-rpm cushion and the car will give you shifts that are right on. The transmission will hold your gear in manual mode allowing you to use engine braking. If you are in manual mode and push the pedal to the floor, it will downshift automatically. The transmission will not up shift automatically in manual mode.
If you are more luxury than performance, you will be glad to hear that the Lincoln MKS is very quiet on the inside. You don't get any hint of turbo whine in the car. It rides like a luxury car should with great road manners and it rides well even on rough surfaces. The Lincoln MKS is a great luxury car and is much more fun to drive than anything I have seen from Lexus.