Nearly every luxury automaker has some kind of branded performance line, be it BMW's M, Mercedes' AMG, Lexus' F or Audi's S and RS models. To compete in that rarified air, Lincoln needs to join the fold. But what form could it take?
With Lincoln buyers snatching up all-wheel-drive models in droves and turbocharged EcoBoost engines beginning to proliferate throughout the line-up, these two technologies could be leveraged to give Lincoln a much-needed injection of excitement. Crank the boost on the turbocharged MKS – something to the tune of the 365-hp engine found in the Taurus SHO – fit a rear-bias AWD system and Lincoln could have a serious sports sedan offering on its hands. Do the same to the MKZ fitted with the EcoBoost 2.0-liter four-cylinder and maybe a revamped dual-clutch gearbox, and Lincoln's off to the races with a fun and fuel-efficient four-door.
But would it find favor with performance-minded buyers?
One Lincoln spokesperson we contacted wouldn't confirm or deny plans to enter the fray, only saying that the automaker is "fully committed to making Lincoln a world-class luxury brand" and that it is "studying the luxury automotive market very closely in defining Lincoln's future." Wishy-washy as that might be, if Lincoln wants to compete with the Bimmers and Benzes of the world while pulling itself away from an aging customer base, making a play for the performance set should be part of the plan. And we suspect we'll hear something more solid by year's end.