The cars we loved.
You’ve probably seen the commercials for the Lincoln MKS, where it takes off like a spaceship from a hanger with trendy rock music playing in the background. Lincoln is trying hard to distance itself from the image its developed as a stodgy old man’s car company. The full-sized 2010 MKS luxury sedan is a continued step in the evolution of Lincoln from old to new in the eyes of car buyers. Based on the striking MKR concept car shown in Detroit in 2007, the production MKS arrived about a year later. unfortunately, the attractive design of the show car was distilled into a very ordinary (if not slightly bland) directive of the Ford Taurus. The MKS’s design is tasteful, but not as dynamic as it’s competition. Something buyers expect when plunking down nearly 50k for a car. It also came with a standard 3.7 liter 275 hp V6, placing it at a disadvantage against the more powerful (and similarly priced) Cadillac STS and Infiniti M.
In keeping with the theme established in its advertising, the MKS was a technological powerhouse, with gadgets galore under the hood and in its comfortable cabin. A long list of standard options included HID headlights and a DVD based navigation system. An 6 speed automatic transmission with paddleshift was the only shifting option available for the MKS.An attempt was made to address the power deficit between the MKS and it’s competition by the introduction of the advance direct injection EcoBoost V6 engine. Still 3.5 literes, it now offered twin turbocharging for a bump in horsepower to 355. Now the MKS was on par with its competition, with a 0-60 time under 6 seconds. Fuel economy was increased by use of direct injection and smaller turbos for a 17/24 mpg rating. The EcoBoost label allowed the Lincoln to be marketed as a green automobile, appealing to well-heeled quasi environmentalist who valued performance as much as efficiency. The media approved, giving the MKS high marks in performance and comfort, but noting that rivals like Buicks Lucerne cost less and offered similar value.
The MKS would do well to eventually evolve into the design used for the MKR concept car. The luxury car competition is tough and distinctive design is one of its noted hallmarks. The exterior of the MKS has not changed in 3 model years, but new options allowed the jump from 18″ to 20 chrome rims, making the MKS look slightly more aggressive if not a tad bit ghetto. Lincoln has done a good job of establishing the MKS as a benchmark performer in many performance aspects. It’s conservative design is not too showy (like the Chrysler 400) and is not as likely to go out of style too soon, suggesting that the MKS may look “ordinary” for some time to come. Lets hope the next version of it looks more like the striking concept car that it spawned from.