By Jonathan R. Pitman
The Ford Motor Company knew exactly what they were doing when they went to the drawing board to design this sophisticated yet elegant Lincoln MKS. Let’s set aside the horsepower, trim levels and other stuff for now, let’s talk technology.
The technology on the MKS is incredible, surpassing its competitors and leaving them in the dust as far as I am concerned. Not only does the MKS offer SYNC technology, it offers a touch screen navigation system that tells you where to go if you get lost or for just general directions. It is also available with voice activation. Something unique about the technology and the navigation system is it can forecast the weather telling you what the temperature will be for the next five days. You can even select which city you want it to forecast. Speaking of the weather, the MKS has optional rain sensing wipers that automatically turn on when it starts to rain. The only flaw I see with this type of technology is what happens if they malfunction. Typically, the more features you have like that on a vehicle, something is bound to go wrong.
With an easy push of the button, you have an option to set the climate controls on auto, which is where everything is set at the same temperature, or you can select the dual climate setting so the passenger can make their own adjustment to the climate. You can also activate the climate controls using the touch screen, which gives you several options. All of this technology can seem, on its face, too much to learn. But, once you get the hang of it, the technology can be your best friend.
The climate control and touch navigation screen is only the beginning. The stereo system is top of the line and offers an optional16-speaker THX audio surround sound system. Let me tell you, it is truly surround sound. I mean, what car needs 16 speakers anyway, unless you’re watching a DVD from the display screen. Don’t worry; the driver won’t be watching a movie while driving because it only works if the car is in park. One thing the car does not have is the DVD system in the rear seat backs. You would think that if they were going to add everything else, they would have the word “road trip” etched in there minds. Another thing that I have trouble understanding is with all of this technology, why would they have heated and cooled leather seats in the front but only heated seats in the rear. Maybe they got a little lazy. Other optional technology is a rear camera system that gives you extra help when backing out of your driveway.
On the interior, there was this great idea that incorporates a rear sunshade that blocks out the sun for the passengers in the rear. Other nice touches include wood trim and a leather wrapped steering wheel, (standard on all trims), which is elegant and luxurious. There is a rear moon roof that does not open, but lets passengers in the back enjoy the sunshine. I am guessing it is fair to say that maybe a power rear moon roof is not too far off in the future.
The MKS I test drove had light colored wood trim. However, the official wood trim options are, Olive ash, or fine line ebony. Wood trim was not only located on the dash board, it was also located on the door panels, equipped with leather stitched door handle grips. The gauges on the interior are unique as well. They are easy to read and it has that 3-D effect going and appears to pop out at you.
Now that I have gone into great detail about the technology, let’s switch gears and talk about the performance aspect of the MKS. It comes equipped with a 3.7 Liter V6 that produces 273 Horsepower that is standard. However, when you use premium gasoline it is the first and only car that I know of that the horsepower actually increases when you purchase higher octane fuel. Although not by much, you gain an additional 3-5 more horses if you purchase higher octane fuel. The good news is that the MKS will take regular 87 octane gasoline. Also, there is the 6-speed automatic that maximizes fuel efficiency. Just for fun, you can shift the gears yourself if you want with the Select-Shift mode that again, gives you 6 speeds to work with.
On the road the MKS exceeded my expectations. It was remarkably smooth even on the bumpiest roads. I guess that was thanks to the huge 20 inch wheels that are optional, and the luxury tuned independent front and rear suspension. One thing that was slightly annoying, however, was the whistling noise that you hear when the car is at cruising speeds. Aside from that the engine is remarkably quiet. Another thing that was amazing, was that the MKS out accelerated the Nissan Maxima, which has more horsepower than the MKS. That’s amazing because the Maxima has a 290 Horsepower and a 3.5 Liter engine. The MKS accelerated from 0-60 in 6 seconds beating the Maxima by 1 second. The car also features ABS brakes that aids in improved stopping capabilities. Traction control is also standard on all trims. The MKS features Available All Wheel Drive and Electronic Stability Control so that you have full grip and control on the road in hazardous driving conditions.
Another unique feature on the outside of the vehicle is the adaptive HID Headlamps that can be set to automatically illuminate when it starts to get dark. These lights even turn off by themselves. Fog lamps are also available. The great thing is that the lights don’t pull too much on the battery when in automatic mode because they cut off relativity quickly- within 60 seconds, to be exact. Another unique feature about the headlights is they automatically turn when you corner. It is almost like having another set of eyes to help you see the road ahead. It also helps improve visibility at night in all types of weather conditions.
Now let’s focus on the handling of the vehicle. In normal driving conditions the MKS handled well. There was minimal body roll. As far as comfort, I would rate it as excellent because the seats were very supportive and as a result, very little human body roll-how much your body shifts in the seat after hitting road bumps. The power seats have a two-way memory that allows settings to be saved for you or another driver. The windows are also auto up auto down.
The MKS is defiantly a good road trip car. What is interesting about the rear is it appears to have a slight step up. This can be a bad thing because it might be difficult for some passengers to get into the vehicle. Aside from that, the rear seats were just as comfortable as the front allowing for plenty of leg and ample knee room.
Overall, this car is not your grandfather’s Lincoln; it’s your business executive on the way to a meeting at 12pm kind of car. Anyone who is seen in the MKS knows a well engineered car when they see one. This car is geared for a younger generation males between the ages of 35 and 45.