2011 MKS New Car Test Drive
The Lincoln MKS is the marque's flagship luxury sedan. The MKS is a serious performer in the luxury sedan segment following upgrades for 2010 that included a new turbocharged engine and a brilliantly retuned suspension. A full-size sedan, the Lincoln MKS offers a choice of V6 engines and front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The EcoBoost engine, a 3.5-liter V6 with two relatively small turbochargers that build boost very quickly, delivers 355 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, and returns EPA-estimated fuel economy numbers of 17 mpg City and a highly commendable 25 mpg Highway. We discovered pressing down on the throttle moves the MKS with V8-like authority, with plenty of get-up-and-go from any reasonable speed, while still delivering fuel economy more in line with what would be expected of a V6.
The standard engine is a 3.7-liter V6 of 273 horsepower and EPA fuel economy figures of 17/24 mpg with front-wheel drive and 16/23 mpg with all-wheel drive. Each engine is matched with a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The 3.7-liter engine is available with front drive or all-wheel drive, and the EcoBoost engine is available only with the all-wheel drive.
We found the Lincoln MKS a vigorous, big luxury car with a sporting heart. It will devour twisting country roads with poise and enthusiasm, delivering accurate, lively road feel that keeps the driver alert and thoroughly engaged.
The Lincoln MKS cuts a handsome profile. Its muscular, long body is trimmed with chrome highlights, giving it the flash of a thoroughbred American.
Inside is a roomy cabin, most notably in the rear compartment. The cabin design and quality materials, typified by elegant leather upholstery, confirm that this is an automobile for those accustomed to fine surroundings. The MKS offers the latest in technology.
The 2011 Lincoln MKS carries over largely unchanged, with only a few changes that involve technology. The available voice-activated navigation system now offers HD RadioTM technology; if a selected station is broadcasting with HD Radio technology, the system automatically picks up the signal and transitions to digital audio. And the Lincoln SYNC connectivity system, standard on the MKS, now integrates Traffic, Directions & Information with the voice-activated navigation system, giving hands-free access to personalized traffic reports, turn-by-turn driving directions, and up-to-date information on business, news, sports, and weather.
We found the big eight-inch display excellent and its systems easy to operate, which can't be said for some much more expensive German luxury cars. Personal CD photos can be loaded on the in-dash monitor. Local gas stations can be searched, arranged by nearness or price per gallon. During our time in the car, we followed the progress of a violent storm on an in-dash Doppler radar monitor, and pressing a couple of buttons displayed the five-day forecast. The system will play DVD movies with 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.
The 2011 Lincoln MKS is available with front-wheel drive ($41,270), all-wheel drive ($43,160), and EcoBoost with all-wheel drive ($48,160).
The Navigation Package ($2500) adds a voice-activated DVD navigation system with integrated Sirius Travel Link, THX II with 5.1 premium Surround Sound audio and MP3 capability, and a rearview camera. The Base Ultimate Package ($4,500) includes the Navigation Package, dual-panel moonroof, 19-inch wheels, Ultimate seating, and interior premium wood door trim. The EcoBoost Navigation Package ($3,500) includes the above, but not the 19-inch wheels, which are standard with the EcoBoost. Other options include the dual-panel moonroof ($1,695), and adaptive cruise control ($1,295).
Safety features include dual-stage front airbags plus seat-mounted side airbags for head and torso protection, as well as seat-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 spot a child behind the car when backing up.