2009 MKS New Car Test Drive
The all-new 2009 Lincoln MKS is something different for this proud luxury marquee: a full-size sedan with its sights set on the young (by Lincoln standards). As such, the MKS is a lavishly equipped full-size luxury sedan, both grand and, in its way, grandiose. It combines an elegant new look for Lincoln, combining elements of the marque's long, impressive history with technology that, by Lincoln's lights, points the way to the luxury-car future.
From the first glance, this MKS is nothing if not a serious entry. It has dignity and clout that is likely to win over Lincoln's traditional older clientele. Its muscular, long body is trimmed plenteously with gleaming chrome highlights, giving it the flash of a thoroughbred American sedan.
The MKS interior seconds the motion; this is a sedan with class-leading roominess in the rear compartment. The styling and materials throughout, typified by elegant standard-equipment leather upholstery, confirm that this is an automobile for those accustomed to fine surroundings.
But it is in technology, more specifically, in comprehensive connectivity, that the MKS will make its bid. The MKS offers unprecedented real-time, real-world onboard communications. Lincoln marketing executives said time is the ultimate luxury and therefore the electronics systems in the MKS were designed to save the owner time. Following on Ford's successful Sync voice-activated audio systems, the MKS goes one long step further. Its Next-Generation Navigation System with Sirius Travel Link allows the switched-on owner to control vast audio programming resources, follow threatening regional weather patterns in real-time, stay informed about traffic jams ahead, keep up on the latest sports scores and find movie listings and start times.
We found its big eight-inch display easy to read and its systems easy to operate, something that can't be said of some much more expensive German cars. You can load personal CD photos on your in-dash monitor. You can find all local gas stations, listed either by nearness or in order of price per gallon. We followed the progress of a violent storm on an in-dash Doppler radar monitor, a new kind of automotive thrill. Pressing a couple of buttons displayed the five-day forecast. The system will play DVD movies with incredibly rich surround sound, and the touch-screen monitor takes running your iPod to new levels. Its voice command system indicates this technology has moved beyond the gimmick stage.
But the MKS is more than an electronics base; it must meet the standards of the contemporary automobile, somewhat as its superb forebear, the Lincoln LS, did so successfully. As a dynamic platform for freeway motoring, the MKS is first-rate, stable, steady, confidence-inspiring. It would be entirely at home driving coast to coast, and delivering an impressive 24-mpg EPA highway rating, this seems an enticing mission.
The MKS comes standard with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available for improved capability in foul-weather. A 3.7-liter dohc 24-valve V6 engine powers the MKS, delivering 273 horsepower. It works with a six-speed automatic transmission to post an EPA-rated City/Highway 17/24 mpg.
We found it cruises very nicely, smooth and quiet. It isn't a sport sedan along the lines of a BMW, however, and doesn't respond well to hard driving.
The Lincoln MKS ($38,465) is available in only one model. All-wheel drive ($1890) is optional. Four option packages are available:
The Navigation Package ($2995) adds voice-activated DVD navigation system, THX II w. 5.1 premium surround-sound audio, and a rearview camera. The Technology Package ($1115) upgrades with adaptive headlamps with auto high beam, rain-sensing wipers, forward sensing parking-aid system, rear-window power sunshade, intelligent access with push-button start. The Ultimate Package ($5715) includes the Technology package, Navigation package, dual-panel moonroof, 19-inch premium painted wheels, Ultimate seating trim with seat color-keyed suede strip in the center of the seatbacks and an embroidered Lincoln Star logo on the front headrests. The Aluminum Applique Package ($195) features aluminum instrument panel applique, leather shift knob, leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Safety features include dual-stage front airbags plus seat-mounted side airbags for head and torso protection, as well as safety-belt pretensioners and load-limiting retractors. The Occupant Classification System's sensor automatically determines by weight whether the front passenger seat is empty, occupied by a child seat or by a small, medium or large occupant and deploys the airbag accordingly. Active safety features include anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control, standard. Optional safety features include all-wheel drive and a rearview camera that can help the driver spot a child behind the car when backing up.