• Oct 5, 2009
Click above to watch videos after the jump

Car magazines do crazy things for money these days. Case in point: Automobile Magazine (and co-testers from sister mag Motor Trend) got roped into an interesting comparison test that you will not be reading in the latest issue. Why? The whole thing lives at 6versus8.com, a domain set up just to host this single comparison test that highlights the result of Lincoln's bet that its V6-powered MKS EcoBoost can beat some of the best naturally aspirated V8-powered sedans from Europe.

The test pits the 2010 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost against the Jaguar XF, Mercedes-Benz E550, BMW 550i and Maserati Quattroporte. As you might imagine, the test has to be un-leveled a bit for the MKS EcoBoost to stand a chance. The challenge is a 3.76-mile hill climb up Colorado's Loveland Pass... at 11,900 feet above sea level. Ah, there it is. The MKS EcoBoost makes the least horsepower and is the second heaviest car in this group, but at these elevations, the twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 will maintain its power level while the naturally aspirated V8 engines gasp for breath.

Pike's Peak champion Rod Millen was hired to drive, the Colorado State Patrol closed off Route 6 in 30-minute intervals for each car's run and a top notch film crew with a helicopter was hired to document the proceedings. Long story short, the grand production produced five videos (you can view them at 6versus8.com or after the jump) in which we see the Lincoln MKS EcoBoost claim second place behind the BMW 550i, though it did nab honors for the highest top speed during the hill climb.

So... back to the original point we were making. It seems to us that this is less editorial than advertorial. Automobile and Motor Trend say they rented the other vehicles for this test because, honestly, would you loan your sedan for a comparison test that was clearly tilted in your opponent's favor? And what did the magazines get in return? From what we can see, two double-page spreads in the current issue of Automobile (and perhaps MT) that we're guessing cost more than enough to cover the price of producing this elaborate "comparison test". And why does it not appear in the magazine itself? Probably because Automobile and Motor Trend don't think it's editorial either.

Follow the jump to watch all five videos for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments.

[Source: 6versus8.com]
The Challenge


The Engine


The Course and Driver


The Competitors



The Final Run



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 59 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      No disrespect to Rod Millen, but would the Lincoln have done as well if it went out first rather than last? Would the Jaguar have fared better if it went out last after Millen got more practice on the track from the other runs?

      I see this more as praising of the EcoBoost rather than of the actual MKS, higher top speed but slightly slower time vs. the 550. I wonder how the 535 twin-turbo V-6 (possibly with xDrive) would have fared. Considering the age of the E60 BMW 5-series, it made an impressive showing.

      Back in 84' I read a Car and Driver test of the then new 300ZX TT vs. the new C4 Corvette. The tag line read something like: "There's no replacement for displacement. Except maybe a good turbo."
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Lincoln did very well considering it has a V-6, 2nd heaviest, cost thousands less and was barely beat by the "ultimate driving machine" I think if they offered soke kind of performance package maybe the time would have been better. Also each car had 3 runs so the data was spreaf evenly.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Montoym -
        Thank you for pointing out the power loss in real numbers for everyone. It really shows the difference in chassis handling and mass.

        The Lincoln essentially was "spotted" 100 horsepower to earn its second-place finish.

        This was obviously Automobile pandering to FoMoCo and setting up a test that would make the Lincoln look awesome if you don't realize all of the facts. To a car guy, a former Ford engine calibrator and current industry employee, I am embarrassed. :(

        However, I am not in any way saying the Lincoln is an inferior product - I still am in love with the LS and tried like crazy to help bring a V8 manual trans "hot rod Lincoln" LS to production. I am quite proud of Ford for pursuing boosted engines and feel like they caught GM with their pants down. Good products from an American company - congratulations Ford!

        (but, please, no more silly paid advertisements like this. Loveland pass is a place to do variable soak restarts - not a friggin racetrack.)
      • 5 Years Ago
      A lot of you are missing the point. This isn't about the MKS or the 5 series or etc. The title says it all, "6versus8"; it's all about the engines. The whole point is to show at least one of the strengths of a boosted 6 --especially this boosted 6-- comparative to naturally aspirated eights. One of those strengths is no power loss at higher altitudes. I've read numerous comparos over the years where they've tested like cars at higher altitudes. This is because a lot of great twisties are to be found at those kinds of heights. And twisties are a helluva lot of fun. Don't believe me, come out west. Anyway, those comparos never failed to sing the praises of turbo'd cars where the air be thin. This nothing new and it is a valid strength.

      Having said that, they really ought to run the comparo again, but with the 535 (twin turbo six), the new supercharged six A6 (whatever it's called) and the XFR (for sh!ts and giggles).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yep, that'll come in handy for my commute up Pike's Peak every day.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it me or it's just amazing that a 5+ year old car (5-series) keeps on winning most of reviews with various match-ups.

      Considering that it doesn't really look great (unlike Maserati or whatnot), that's pretty amazing. BMW really knows how to make great cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Being spotted 2 miles of altitude, it should have been first.

      Did they use sea-level gas or the low-octane Colorado stuff?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Shouldn't have mattered. That's the whole reason we have lower octane fuel here. 85 octane here is just the same as 87 octane at sea level. 91 octane in CO is the 93 octane equivalent at lower altitudes. Plus, all the cars were run on the same fuel I'd think(or at least what the manufacturer recommended).

        I'll be honest, I haven't watched the videos yet, I was just excited to see them using Loveland Pass. I cross over Loveland Pass countless times during the winter. Love that drive, and the scenery is awesome as well. It can be fairly demanding with the altitude change(not to mention the high altitude period) combined with the numerous turns. It's definitely a fun drive though.

        I'll be sure to check out these vids later this evening once I get home.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was pleasantly surprised with the second video. They flat out said that the turbocharged motor has an advantage at altitude.
        • 5 Years Ago
        OK, finally watched them all.

        I agree, it is interesting that the Lincoln didn't get 1st place. Considering the altitude, it should be making considerably more power than any of the others.

        I blame the general fatassedness of the MKS and the fact that it's not really a sporty car. The others are considered sporty and are designed to take corners much better. The AWD system is not really performance oriented either, it's really just a necessary add-on since a 355hp FWD MKS would be ridiculous. Kind of like how the AWD versions of the E-Class and 5-Series are really there just to increase sales in snow belt states, not to be the performance leaders.

        The MKS weighs a portly 4300lbs, by comparison, the 1st place BMW weighs 3900lbs, the Jag weigh 4000lbs, the E550 weighs in at about 4000lbs, and the Maserati comes in at an equally portly 4300lbs.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree the lower octanes are appropriate at altitude. Except.... when a car is turbocharged and altitude compensated, it isn't operating at altitude pressures, it's operating at sea-level pressures.

        A turbo will work on the lower octane stuff at altitude and still out-perform an NA car, but it'll do even better on the higher octane stuff.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This test is completely useless and doesn't tell jack squat about these cars.

      I would love to see an American car that has the efficiency and power of some of the european sports cars, but the Lincoln ISN'T a sports car, and though they gave it an awesome engine (really pioneered by Volkswagen group years ago) it's not in the same class.

      Testing a turbocharged vehicle at altitude versus a naturally aspirated engine is completely weighted towards the turbocharged car. It's just downright unfair, any naturally aspirated car is gonna suffer greatly at altitude. My '97 F-150 looses nearly 80 horsepower at the top of Loveland Pass.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Every 1000 feet you go up, a N/A engine will loose 3-5% of its horsepower. That means at 12,000 feet, those N/A cars lost anywhere between 36-60% of their rated horse power. Might as well have just put the MKS on a 7% down grade, and have the other cars go flat, and then see which one crosses the 1/4 faster...
      • 5 Years Ago

      Maybe because the CTS-V is more of a midsize sedan rather than a full size. Plus, if you look at the other cars in the test they all have about the same hp.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have to give them props for stating outright, that the altitude gave the Lincoln an advantage. I would have been interested to see how the lighter weight 530i with it's twin turbo would have fared.
      • 5 Years Ago
      And Lincoln didn't want to test against CTS-V for what reason?

      Oh, wait, *supercharged*...

      I wonder how just bad the Caddy would have kicked the Lincoln, which was why it wasn't invited.

      Perhaps Caddy can tell us?
        • 5 Years Ago
        It wasn't invited to play as it would have stunk up the show. The contest was a mockery to begin with pitting NA cars against a Turbo car at 13000 feet.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ive driven loveland pass numerous times...in the snow like there often is...and no other way to go than turbocharged engine coupled with AWD.

      that said, i really want the opportunity to wring my car out on loveland pass with no one else on the road. there are always cars infront and cars coming the opposite direction.
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