Lincoln MKS - Driven
A recent trip to the US gave me the opportunity to drive a car never seen in Australia. The Lincoln MKS is a small model by Lincoln standards, but sits in the luxury car marketplace against the Lexus IS and BMW 3-series. It's actually a little larger than those cars, and particularly (oddly) higher. So how does Ford's luxury division dish out the goods?
Well, considering the demands of a typical US compact luxury car buyer, it's pretty good. The engine as tested was a 3.7-litre 24-valve V6, which while offering decent performance from 304bhp is no powerhouse. A twin-turbo 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 is also offered, with an additional 61 horsepower.
Six speed auto is standard, as is front wheel drive, but all wheel drive is an interesting option. A suite of up to date electronic aids such as collision warning and cross traffic alert as well as torque vectoring control are fitted.
If the exterior styling isn't the most inspiring, the interior is classy and quite modern. The console features flush 'buttons' on smooth panels which glow from behind. A neat touch. The screens either side of the main instrument can be toggled through for different information. It's a nice driving environment.
The seats are plush yet supportive enough to be suitable for an all-day drive, which I did several times in the MKS.
Of course the option range is commensurate with the MKSs luxury leanings, offering everything including a heated steering wheel and 20-inch alloy wheels.
The luggage compartment - okay, the trunk - is quite capacious, however its opening is small.
The MKS is not the driver's car that a BMW 3-Series or Mercedes C-Class is. The engine feels old fashioned (though it's not a particularly elderly design), the handling is definitely set to Cruise not Curves and there is no sporting characteristic anywhere in the car. But if comfort and low running costs are a priority, then this is more your car. It can run on 87 octane fuel and has a 4, 5 and 6 year warranty of different components. The build quality and finish don't seem to be at the low end of the scale which so many US cars were a decade ago, which is necessary to maintain the longevity of the US car industry.
Driving the MKS was an interesting experience. It resists sporty driving, for which it isn't designed anyway (maybe the twin-turbo version is more inclined...) Certainly it's a competent compact luxury car, but it is completely uninspiring.
Engine: 3.7-litre V6 petrol
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Power: 304 horsepower
Torque: 279 lb/ft
Performance: 0-100km/h seconds
Price: US$38,850 at time of review
Text & photos - Paul Blank (copyright)