2005 LS New Car Test Drive
The Lincoln LS may be a Lincoln, but if you think it's a rolling sofa, then you're way off the mark. This is Lincoln's most youthful car and it's no cushy-mobile. In styling, style and performance, the LS is fashioned in the image of a European sports sedan. The LS is aimed squarely at the import competition, and in a broad sense it covers the mark. One indication of that is that it uses rear-wheel drive, the first mark of a sports sedan, like those from Mercedes and BMW.
Last year, the Lincoln LS benefited from major revisions, involving more than 500 new or redesigned parts. As a result, the LS feels more refined and more comfortable. Its V8 and V6 engines are more powerful and more sophisticated, benefiting from the addition of variable valve timing. The interior was improved substantially and now features an attractive platinum-colored center panel that has a look and feel of quality. Comfort and convenience were enhanced with power-adjustable pedals, increased center console space and an electronic parking brake.
The biggest benefit was in the area of suspension tuning and a reinforced chassis, which improved handling and ride quality. The LS feels firmer, sportier, more European than before.
The 2004 Lincoln LS is further improved. The five-speed automatic transmission has been upgraded for smoother shifting and engagement. Additional chassis improvements reduce noise, vibration and harshness in the cabin. And satellite radio is now available.
Even the least expensive LS comes very well equipped. In the midsize sport-luxury market, few sedans can compete with the LS on the benefit-per-dollar scale.
The Lincoln LS comes with a choice of two engines, a 232-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 or a 280-horsepower 3.9-liter V8. All models come standard with a five-speed automatic.
Three trim levels are available with either engine, each building on the prior in terms of standard equipment. The V6 Luxury model ($32,120) comes with 16-inch wheels and tires, all-speed traction control, power-adjustable pedals, leather seats with eight-way power adjustment for the driver and six-way for the front passenger, an in-dash CD player, black lacquer interior trim and dual-zone climate control. The Appearance trim level ($35,890) adds more features, including auto-dimming mirrors, built-in universal remote buttons and three-position seat memory that links the outside mirrors, pedal and steering wheel positions. The V6 Premium ($36,520) includes a power moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, a high-watt sound system with an in-dash CD changer, burled walnut interior accents and heated and cooled seats.
Options for the LS V6 include Lincoln's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control system ($775), which can help manage skids by sensing wheel slip and applying the brake at the appropriate wheel. The safety/parking package ($845) includes rear park assist to warn the driver of hidden obstacles.
Even with high-value pricing for the V6, two-thirds of all LS buyers choose the V8. It's an attractive option because the LS V8 retails for less than some competitors with six-cylinder engines. All V8 models feature an automatic transmission with a manual shift control and a firmer suspension for a sportier driving experience. The LS V8 Sport ($39,720) gets more aggressive 17-inch wheels, heated side mirrors and aluminum interior accents. The V8 LSE ($43,115) features a more aggressive exterior package, including chrome wheels, spoiler, unique front and rear fascias and fog lamps. The LS V8 Ultimate ($43,120) adds a power moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, the AdvanceTrac electronic stability control system, and burled walnut interior accents.
Options for V8 models include heated rear seats ($405), high-intensity discharge headlamps ($595) and a DVD-driven touch screen navigation system ($2,995).
The LS offers most of the occupant-protection ingredients expected in this class. Front-passenger dual-stage frontal and side-impact airbags are standard. The safety/parking option adds curtain-style head-protection airbags for outboard passengers front and rear, a good idea.