2003 LS New Car Test Drive
The Lincoln LS has been significantly improved for the 2003 model year with more than 500 new or redesigned parts. The LS now boasts increased horsepower, torque, and smoothness, thanks to variable valve timing and electronic throttle control. Chassis refinements promise more precise steering and a smoother, quieter ride.
Comfort and convenience have been enhanced for 2003 with power-adjustable pedals, a softer feel for some of the controls, and by an electronic parking brake that frees up storage space in the center console.
The LS is the most youthful of the Lincolns, and the Lincoln that's the most European in its temperament. In fact, the Lincoln LS shares its chassis architecture with the Jaguar S-Type. Like cars from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Jaguar, the Lincoln LS uses rear-wheel drive. Driving enthusiasts prefer rear-wheel drive over front-wheel drive for its superior driving characteristics.
The Lincoln LS rides smoothly, yet feels connected to the road. It compares favorably to luxury sports sedans from Europe and Japan, yet it is priced far below them.
Two engines are available for the 2003 Lincoln LS: a 3.0-liter V6 and a 3.9-liter V8. The V6 is offered with base or Premium trim, while the V8 comes with Sport or Premium Sport trim. All come standard with a five-speed automatic transmission. (Last year's Getrag five-speed manual gearbox is no longer available.)
The base V6 model ($33,860) is equipped well, with 16-inch wheels and tires, all-speed traction control, power-adjustable pedals, black lacquer interior trim and leather seats with eight-way power and three-position memory for the driver (plus six-way power for the front-seat passenger). V-6 Premium trim ($37,260) adds a power moonroof, a premium sound system, walnut burl interior accents and other comfort and convenience features.
V8 models account for about two-thirds of all LS sales. For 2003, the V8 models are designed to offer a sportier driving experience. V8 models come with a stiffer suspension and a SelectShift five-speed automatic transmission that allows manual shifting. V8 models come in two trim levels. V-8 Sport ($40,060) comes standard with a 12-speaker, 180-watt audiophile sound system, and climate-controlled seats. Satin nickel accents replace wood in the interior.
V-8 Premium Sport ($43,360) adds high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, walnut interior trim, AdvanceTrac traction and stability control, and a power moonroof.
Options include a new THX-certified audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer, 10 speakers, and a four-channel Class-H amplifier. Also optional is a touch-screen navigation system that stores maps of the entire United States and Canada on one DVD. The system's 6.5-inch screen lifts electrically for access to the six-disc in-dash CD changer. Another new option for 2003 is an Extended Rear Park Assist that sounds a warning chime if an obstacle is detected while reversing. The system uses two ultrasonic sensors and a radar sensor to sweep the area behind the vehicle, and has a field of coverage up to 15 feet.