• 62
2009 Lincoln MKS Ecoboost - Click above for high-res image gallery

For more years than we care to remember, Lincoln has soldiered on without a competitive large car. Ford's luxury marque finally gave its high-end roster some love for the 2009 model year with the large-and-in-charge MKS. At 204 inches long, the MKS is a Reese's Cup shy of a Navigator, and at 4,305 pounds, our all-wheel drive tester is only 166-pounds lighter than the super-sized Ford Flex.

When we tested the MKS last year, the relatively modest 3.7-liter V6 left us eagerly anticipating the long-promised twin-turbo EcoBoost variant. The first press samples of the MKS EcoBoost came in the spring, and our brief time with the 355 horsepower sedan at Milan Raceway gave us a newfound appreciation for the big Lincoln. But only a few hours behind the wheel wasn't nearly enough time to fully take in the EcoBoost experience, so we spent a week with Lincoln's Big Easy to see if 355 force-fed ponies catapults the MKS into the realm of the luxury elite. Hit the jump to find out how this latter-day Hot Rod Lincoln fared.

Our Red Candy Metallic MKS EcoBoost tester was completely loaded, bumping its price tag to a not-insubstantial $54,910. When stepping up to the MKS EcoBoost, the base MSRP jumps by exactly $5,000 compared to the standard AWD MKS, and nearly $7,000 more than the entry-level front-wheel drive model. Our tester included the up-level Rapid Spec 201A, which for $3,500, includes a massive navigation/infotainment system and an expansive dual panel moonroof. Also added to our tester were park assist and adaptive cruise control, adding another $650 and $1,310, respectively.

For perspective, the MKS EcoBoost's downmarket sibling, the Taurus SHO starts at $37,170. Optioned out similarly to the MKS, the SHO tips the financial scales at $45,470. That's a lot of money for a Ford-badged sedan, albeit one loaded with AWD, 365 horsepower, and every option known to man. But it's still $10,000 less than the very similar MKS, and some would argue the Taurus looks better, too.

At least in terms of raw statistics, another vehicle worth mentioning is, surprisingly, the Audi A8. Both vehicles have AWD systems and the long-wheelbase A8 is within an inch of the MKS in length, while the Lincoln is an inch wider and five inches taller, has four more cubic feet of trunk space, 25 more lb-ft of torque and five additional horsepower, all with a price tag that undercuts the Audi by $30,000. The MKS is even lighter by 100 pounds.

Granted, the Audi carries more prestige and we'd argue that it's more refined inside and out, but the fact that the two vehicles are so similar in dimension and performance shows Ford studied the best large luxury vehicles on the market when planning the MKS.

The MKS has one of the healthiest, flattest torque curves in the segment.
When looking at the MKS from a distance of about 100 feet, the sedan's well-proportioned sheet metal gives the illusion that it's only slightly larger than the typical mid-size sedan. Get closer, though, and you realize the roofline is over five feet off the ground, those moderately sized chrome wheels are actually 20-inchers, and Lincoln's luxury barge barely fits within the confines of a standard Stateside parking space.

Once inside, it feels even bigger from the driver's seat. Massive, comfortable brown leather seats capable of heating or cooling your posterior feel ready for sale at the local Lazy Boy outlet. The dash, adorned with plush, soft-touch materials has an 8.5-inch LCD navigation system at its center, and a thick, metal-effect design garnish that stretches from the passenger door all the way to the steering wheel. A long, elegant center stack separates the driver cockpit from the front passenger compartment, and a well-padded center armrest is dual adjustable, giving both front seat occupants the ability to set up their seating area to their own individual tastes.

We already knew the MKS had an inviting interior, so we were far more interested in the performance of the highly touted EcoBoost V6 powerplant. At 355 hp and 350 lb-ft, the twin-turbo'd MKS finally has the power to match up with the competition's V8 offerings. And while those power numbers look run-of-the-mill for the large luxury market, they're a bit deceiving. Thanks to its duo of turbochargers, the MKS has one of the healthiest, flattest torque curves in the segment. Those 350 lb-ft are at your beck and call all the way from 1,500 to 5,250 rpm, providing instant twist in almost any driving situation.

Unlike the Taurus SHO, which masquerades in vein as the second coming of Ford's original sleeper sports sedan, the MKS doesn't try to be something it's not. Looking at the MKS, the only pretensions of sportiness are a miniscule decklid spoiler out back and an EcoBoost badge the size of a Band-Aid. And with a green leaf growing from said emblem, we don't get the impression that the top-level MKS is a pavement punisher.

In a straight line, the MKS can flat-out ball.
In reality, the MKS is anything but dangerous to our nation's roads. Sure, the 4,305-pound MKS is almost large enough to qualify for weigh station status, but its plush, compliant ride ensures that neither pavement nor driver is negatively impacted by its girth. The weight and plushness of the MKS gives the impression that the Lincoln sedan isn't going to tackle challenging chicanes on the world's best race tracks, and our experiences around town support the theory. While the MKS holds its own when cornering hard, thanks in large measure to its Haldex AWD system, its sheer mass and relatively high center of gravity means that no amount of suspension engineering is going to make this big Lincoln feel like a track star.

In a straight line, though, the MKS can flat-out ball. Ford tells us that the MKS EcoBoost will hit 60 in six seconds flat, and we'd speculate that it'd probably hit the magic mark a couple of tenths faster. That puts the straight-line performance of the boosted MKS in the middle of the pack compared to its V8-powered large lux competition, while keeping efficiency and CO2 emissions at V6-levels.

To properly manage all of its power, the MKS EcoBoost swaps gears with a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic. The MKS EcoBoost also has the option of changing gears via paddle shifters on the steering wheel or on the console-mounted shifter. We found the paddle shifters to be fairly quick on the trigger and fun to use, but the muted tones of the force-fed V6 and the MKZ's somewhat limited pedal feel (and probably our limited attention span) led us to hit redline and bog out on more than one occasion.

Unfortunately, the polished nature of the MKS means that you feel little of the exhilaration associated with going fast. Stab the accelerator and the MKS will take off with authority. But you won't hear the rumble of a powerful engine, the tires won't scream, the front end won't lift on takeoff. The MKS EcoBoost just goes, level and steady, without any hint of drama. That may be fine for the average executive looking to mix in a little off-line pep on the way to the golf course, but we tend to want something more visceral. At the very least, Ford needs to dial in a better exhaust note to remind the owner that he or she has plunked down the extra dough for the EcoBoost, even if aural stimulation is only audible during hard acceleration.

The MKS EcoBoost just goes, flat and steady, without any hint of drama.
On the safety front, the MKS feels as much like a Sherman tank than it does a large luxury sedan. Big, thick doors, airbags everywhere, and a cockpit that feels like it's impenetrable to all but the most advanced weaponry gave us an untested sense of security. Adaptive cruise control was one of the safety options checked off on our tester, and we used the radar-based feature quite a bit. On the freeway, the system helps keep your foot off the accelerator and the brake, as it automatically adjusts speed to keep a safe distance between you and the car in front. It works as advertised, and it isn't as overbearing as some systems we've used before, but we're more than a little turned off by its $1,310 price tag. That's a lot of coin for a feature few will use regularly.

The MKS also comes equipped with a collision warning heads-up display that flashes and beeps if the radar system senses you're going to mount another vehicle from behind. If danger is imminent, the brakes pre-charge for improved response. The heads-up system isn't our favorite feature, but in an age where drivers are more interested in text messaging and Twittering while behind the wheel, we're thinking it's one safety advancement that will avert a few fender benders.

Additionally, the MKS' multitude of sensors can help you park. Whether backing in or going into a spot nose-first, the system beeps whenever you get too close to another vehicle. We would have liked the system to be a bit less touchy, though, as the beeps, buzzes and flashing red lights made us feel like we were driving a pinball machine. And we don't want to hear the flat-line sound while parking, only to find out that we're still over a foot away from the vehicle in front of us.

While we were down on the EcoBoosted Taurus SHO's inability to fulfill the promise of the SHO badge, our feelings are a bit different when it comes to the more upscale MKS. In the large luxury segment, V8 power is still necessary to remain competitive, while a cushy demeanor takes precedence over razor-sharp handling. The MKS EcoBoost delivers on both fronts, while also providing superior fuel economy compared to its competitors.

So is the MKS EcoBoost for you? If you desire a plush ride, strong acceleration and interior appointments that will make you feel coddled, the twin-turbo MKS is definitely worth a look. If you want sports car handling and a tight turning radius, look somewhere else.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've always liked in the interior on the MKS.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I was hoping we would see eco-boost options that are oriented towards improving the mileage in a particular car instead of an excuse to make it even faster.

      As in, where are the little 4s with turbos that make normally aspirated 6 cylinder power?
        • 6 Years Ago
        kal and LS2
        Those cars are okay mileage wise, but this is a pretty big deal when you think about it. A 4400 pound, full-sized, 355hp, AWD luxury car that gets 25mpg. Those decent mileage numbers for the cobalt and cabiler are for front or rear wheel drive. The Eco-Boost MKS gets better mileage than it's 3.7L AWD brother, that's the point. The cobalt and caliber and all those get a 100 horespower boost, but they take a hit of mileage, and in the cobalt's case, 7 mpg.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Nelly, no one said DI was required. The engine I am referring to is the SRT-4 engine.

        Also, I don't know where you get the idea the LNF Ecotec isn't in many performance-oriented cars. If there's a problem, it that's it is ONLY available in performance-oriented cars. It is literally not available in a single car that isn't a performance model. It's in the HHR SS, Solstice GXP, Sky Redline and Cobalt SS.

        You and RS do a great job of saying "Ford says someday". How about now? Other companies have been doing this for years. Ford has only promises to show for it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's comming next in a smaller engine for the Fusion and Explorer. The MKS doesn't show a huge improvment over competitors number wise, but it is a decent percentage. 3 MPG/ 14% over the slightly less powerful A8, 5 MPG/25% over the less powerful M45x, even over the 3.7L AWD MKS the Eco-Boost gets 2 more MPG. The goal of this 3.5L was to be more powerful while returning the same or slightly better mileage (rather than putting a less efficent V8 in). In the future on the Fusion they will be aiming for economy with simlar power.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They are coming. But when they do arrive, you won't find a turbo-four in a 4300 lb. sedan like this. Think Ford Fusion, not Lincoln MKS.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I can see how it may appear to some that they are acting like they invented the idea, but they are doing something nobody has ever done before. They are planning to put Eco-Boost in over 90% of their lineup by 2011. I don't see anybody else doing that. The only cars out there with a similar technology right now are GM's compact cars and roadsters, and Dodge's compact hatchback, and you could include the Jetta TDI, but the TDI is the biggest waste ever. It's 22k for a compact car that gets slightly better mileage (like this Lincoln gets more mileage with a lot more hp/torque than other Full-Sized cars out there) than other cheaper compacts out there. Compared to even a so-so compact like say... the Focus, the TDI gets the same hp, 100 more ft lbs. of torque, but weighs 600 pounds more, and only gets 3 mpg city/ 5 mpg highway more for like $5k extra over a fully loaded Focus. Even over the regular Jetta, it takes a hit of 30 hp and gains like 80 ft lbs of torque for more money and their site says it has the same 0-60 time as the 2.5L.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ford has already said it will produce the EcoBoost for the F-150 some time next year. While it's not a small car, putting the same 3.5-liter engine with mid-20s mpg in a big pickup should cut fuel consumption for that vehicle.

        Robert Schoenberger
        Automotive reporter for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Solstice and Sky gain 2-3mpg highway when going from the base engine to the 261HP turbo 4. The Cobalt loses a lot of mpg because the base model is geared so much for efficiency, unlike the base Solstice, base Sky or base Lincoln MKS AWD.


        But GM (perhaps foolishly) didn't plaster autoblog with this info, not taking the chance to claim that somehow that increasing HP in preference to just raising the mpg more is "eco".

        Here's my main message, make no mistake about it. As "eco" as you claim this is, GM ALREADY DID IT. Ford acts like they've invented this idea, and frankly, they haven't. I'm not going to bow down and make like Ford has invented the wheel here, because they haven't. Not yet at least. They could take the lead by offering a turbo 4 with great mpg in a car that normally merits a 6. Or a turbo 6 with great mpg in a truck that normally merits an 8. As mentioned, GM has only used their 2.0L turbo wonder in performance vehicles, the same Ford has done with their 3.5L twin-turbo engine. It's time for one of them to go the other way, before VW beats them to the punch (with the 2.0T A4 they arguably already did so years ago).
        • 6 Years Ago

        Neon/Caliber SRT-4
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't know why you say "Ford acts like they've invented this idea". They have always said they would use this established technology to put more smaller less expensive engines in larger cars. They even changed the name to fit that goal.
        Please show us where they have said otherwise, or said they invented it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The difference being that GM has a DI turbo in very few performance oriented cars. Chrysler has one in... nothing? Name the engine and car please.

        Ford plans on having ecoboost engines available in every model. And you might see 4s in vehicles you wouldn't expect to see 4s. I mean if the regular V6 MKS gets 276 hp and less torque, why not an ecoboost 4 with the same hp and MORE torque. Sure it's not luxury spec but I would hope to see the EB 4 on the larger Fords at least.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ford IS making a 2.5L 4 cycl ecoboost. The 3.5L just came to market first as it will be used in more vehicles.
        omg, why is everyone quibering over an inch or two here and a few lbs there?... you're not taking all factors into account and missing the point..
        Lincolns are not and have never been sports cars...they are luxury cars by design.
        The MKS is one of if not the most technicaly advanced sedans on the market, loaded with everything in the arsenal of techno gadgetry, which people expect when paying that kind of cash for a car.
        All that luxury and safety is heavy by nature, aorbags are very heavy...
        To another point, ecoboost was created to simply give more power with less fuel.
        It does exactaly that. This article seemed to focus on the performance aspect...that's not the car fault (lol) c'mon...
        everyone "wants" power and "handling" yet VERY FEW people in this country can really drive those cars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The rear lights look exactly like the new Jaguar XJ. WHY Jaguar WHY?
      • 6 Years Ago
      There's little doubt that Ford "gets it" and is finally producing the world-class vehicles for North America it has been producing elsewhere in the world. And for the very first time, the best of its vehicles are actually in North America, in vehicle segments in which Ford doesn't compete elsewhere.

      The MKS is a tremendous luxury sedan, and competes as every bit the peer of the Audi A6/A8, Jaguar, and 5-Series, besting them all by a considerable margin on price, but finally without compromising in level of quality. The biggest challenge the MKS faces is the fall-out from Ford's entire model line-up whereby its top competitor is likely to be the Taurus SHO. At some $10K less, (and I agree that the Taurus is at least as attractive), the Taurus is so well-appointed and fit and finish are so good that many people will opt to save the $10K without feeling like they've "stepped down".

      One can only hope that Lincoln will garner MKS sales from its Euro-competitors, the originators of the true luxury sedan. I don't include the premium Japanese trio, as their design eithos (as refined as it may be), remains more on the tuner-ish rather than stately side of the "business man's delight".

      Owning a 2009 Flex Limited AWD, I can attest to the nearly-unbelievable improvements Ford has achieved in design aesthetics, fit and finish, ride dynamics, and overall quality; and it's more than obvious that when setting their aspirational goals, Ford "thought German", and rightly so. Despite the Flex's polarizing looks, it's an indisputably exciting vehicle that shows-off that "Ford 2K10" is a force to be reckoned with, and it has earned its place at the table.

      That Ford has been able to scale many of the same benefits to the Taurus SHO, MKS, and its other upcoming vehicles is a testament to the fact that Ford is no one-trick pony. For the first time in decades, an MKS or Taurus SHO owner can pull astride a 5-Series owner and actually wonder why someone would have chosen the BMW over the Lincoln. Kudos to Ford, not for just making vehicles that are easy to love, but that reassert pride in North American vehicle design and manufacture.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Big, American, straight-line speed.

      What an innovation.
        • 6 Years Ago
        still weights 100lbs less than the A8, and the A8 is the lightweight of the group so it has even less mass than say the S-class and 7-series, and has better interior room than all of them

        so I guess you can shove that statement back in that hole in your face that spits BS
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, it's no 5400 lb X6 M. Now there's real innovation.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Lacrosse isn't near this size or power. Try again. It may look big but it's essentially a midsize Opel Insignia.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I saw a silver Ecoboost MKS at the auto show and I almost skeeted, it was so sexy.
        • 6 Years Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I want to like this car, but I just can't get over how tall it is. I don't mind cars that are large in the width and length, but this design feels kinda lumpy and bloated because of its height. Looks good from about 15 feet away or if it's not parked next to a car of normal height.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So I guess the Panther platform will be laid to rest shortly.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'll pass. For a few more bucks you can get a CTS-V which will blow the door hinges off of this thing, and have better build quality.
        • 6 Years Ago
        This car is really not competitive with the CTS-V at all... it's HUGE. DTS huge. I don't think many people would consider a CTS-V against this car, but its probably good competition for the DTS Performance.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They are pricing it as going against a GS430 when most likely its main competitor would be the Buick LaCross which is much cheaper.

      Lincoln can't expect to get the same price expectations that people would pay for a Lexus for its own products. It lost that right many years ago. Now, Lincoln is a brand closer to Buick. If it wants to grow its luxury status it will have to earn it and for that it will have to take a page from Hyundai playbook which is to offer more for way much less.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, but the LS460-L is 10x the car the Lincoln will ever be.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Price-wise it's close to the GS460, but it's slightly bigger than an LS460-L, and the base price is $30k less than the LS460-L AWD. Pair that with the fact that you're likely to pay closer to sticker for the LS than for the MKS, the Lincoln seems fairly compelling for a luxobarge. A Lincoln customer can have the MKS and buy 2 Fiestas for his grandkids for the same price as one LS460-L.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A few times already I've been walking or driving and seen a stunning car go by and did a double-take. It's been the MKS.
    • Load More Comments