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2010 Lincoln MKS Ecoboost AWD Review

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SEE ALSO: Lincoln Buyers Guide

Put the Lincoln MKS on your shopping list if you’re in the full-lux sedan market...nothing is lacking.

2010 Lincoln MKS The Lap of Luxury
By Steve Purdy
Detroit Bureau

Lincoln’s front-wheel drive flagship sedan, MKS, was launched a couple years ago to generally good reviews. It suffered from “lackluster acceleration,” according to one reviewer, with the standard 3.7-liter, 273-hp V6. I covered the launch of the MKS and I agree that it needed more power for many tastes, though it is perfectly adequate for those to whom impressive acceleration is not a big deal. About a year later the awesome EcoBoost, twin-turbo power was added. Nothing tepid about that power unit! And, that’s what graced our driveway this week.

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The MKS is designed on the same platform as the Ford Taurus and comes from the same Chicago area factory. MKS customer demographics are fairly broad, from the traditional older buyer who insists on a big luxury sedan with as traditional a theme as possible, to a modern luxury car buyer who wants and needs all the latest technology plus modernity.

Ford and Lincoln-Mercury are leading the way in infotainment technology, as you may know, with the SYNC voice-activated systems and now a new system that will allow voice control for Web-enabled devises as well. So, nothing is lacking in the technology department. Much has been written about SYNC, and since I’m such a low-tech guy, I’ll not go into the details. Suffice it to say that if you’re a tech gadgeteer, you’ll love the SYNC systems.

Nothing is lacking in the luxury department either. With the MKS it felt to me like Lincoln has turned the corner on modernity. Fine materials stylishly applied are used in creative ways to combine with all the trendy new stuff, like ambient lighting and elegantly stitched leather. The dash sports a heavily stitched seam above and away from the edge giving a classy upholstered look. At the launch of the MKS, I was immediately struck by the understated elegance of the styling both inside and out. Nothing garish interferes with the aesthetics of the design.

Our tester is the loaded MKS with EcoBoost and all-wheel drive. Base price is listed at $47,760. Without EcoBoost and other options the MKS lists at about $41,200. This one has a couple of major option packages: the $3,500 Rapid Spec Package that includes voice activated navigation, dual panel moonroof, rear view camera and premium THX III audio system; the active park assist system costing $535; and the adaptive cruise control with collision warning system at $1,310. With the destination and delivery charge of $825 this lovely Lincoln lists at $53,930.

Let’s talk about a couple of these options.

I have become fond of adaptive cruise control and this Ford system is among the best. For those unfamiliar with adaptive cruise I’ll note that it adjusts to traffic by backing off your set speed as you approach other traffic in your lane. Then as you move into an open lane your speed returns to what you set. You can also adjust the distance at which it engages with a simple button on the steering wheel.

I’m also fond of the collision-warning feature. When the radar senses a worrisome closing speed with the car ahead a line of red lights flash in the lower windshield in front of the driver while an urgent tone sounds. It doesn’t go off when it shouldn’t but is there when it’s appropriate. Sometimes, it will be fooled by a car in the exit ramp, but I’ll forgive it such a modest indiscretion.

I was surprised that, with all this safety stuff on this Lincoln, the blind spot warning system was not included. That, too, is a wonderful innovation. I first experienced it on a Volvo S80, when Volvo was still part of Ford. It senses when a vehicle is in your blind spot on either side of the car and a light glows in the outside mirrors. Mazda’s system adds a good audible signal when the turn signal is engaged when someone is in the blind spot.

The navigation system is intuitive and easily managed, at least with its basic functions. I don’t often have need for the nav to do more than give me accurate maps, but I really appreciate the function that shows where traffic congestion is slowing the flow. I found that remarkably accurate.

The bigger engine makes a huge difference in this car. With 355 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, we’ll not want for power. The “lackluster” criticism is no longer valid. With direct injection and two turbochargers this 3.5-liter V6 we can launch confidently into any situation. While this engine at full throttle doesn’t quite make the music that some of its competitors do it is still pleasant and resonant.

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Interior volume is generous. It certainly feels like a big, luxury sedan. Materials, fit and finish inside are what we would expect with a luxury brand. The heavy stitching on the leather parts – seats, dash, doors – provides a luxurious feel. The trunk has excellent volume as well but the opening is too high and too narrow for easy loading. A friend of ours considered the MKS when replacing his DTS but the trunk opening would not accommodate his son’s wheel chair.

Lincoln’s warranty covers the whole car for 4 years or 50,000 miles and the powertrain for 6 years or 70,000 miles.

The MKS is priced a tad below the German competitors - BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz – and below the Lexus and Infinity models that are comparable. But the other contender, sort of lurking in the background is the amazing Hyundai Genesis V8. Most of these competitors, of course, are rear-wheel drive.

I nearly got the Lincoln folks a free product placement on TV. I’m working occasionally with an agency that provides extras, or more accurately “background” for film projects here in Michigan. They called me to be a neighbor on the HBO series Hung because I have a Lincoln LS in my garage and they wanted upscale American cars. Well I offered to bring the MKS instead of my Lincoln and they were pleased. There were six of us recruited and they only used one of us - not me and the MKS, I’m disappointed to say. We sat around from 8PM to 2:30AM but they only used the guy with the Cadillac CTS. Bummer.

Put this on your shopping list if you’re in the full-lux sedan market.

SEE ALSO: Lincoln Buyers Guide

© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved