BOOSTER SHOT FOR LINCOLN
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Published on Thu, May 20, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Harvey Schwartz The new 2010 Lincoln MKS adds the excellent 355-horsepower EcoBoost twin-turbocharged 3.5 liter V6 engine and all-wheel-drive to zoom closer to the top of the mid-level luxury sport sedan segment. Lincoln also utilizes Collision Warning with Brake Support through the Adaptive Cruise Control, refinements to body and suspension resulting in better handling and a quieter ride, plus Active Park Assist where the car actually parallel parks itself. Many other features are also included in the new MKS EcoBoost as it nears the top of its segment. The heart of the new model is the EcoBoost twin-turbocharged 3.5 liter V6. Its unique combination of power and efficiency make the EcoBoost MKS the most fuel efficient of the competition, with an EPA rating of 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 on the highway. Pressurized direct injection enables a higher compression ratio, while twin turbochargers work in tandem to reduce lag associated with traditional turbocharged engines. It’s a V6 engine with V8 power. Acceleration is instantaneous at launch, as the intelligent AWD starts turning all four wheels while the full 350 pound-feet of torque comes on at just 1,500 rpm.
The more refined intelligent AWD system comes standard with the EcoBoost engine, and I am pinned to my seatback at full ‘pedal-to-the-metal’ until I release the throttle. The dual-exhaust system puts out a enthusiastic growl for a luxury sport sedan, also very little of the turbocharged whine is detected by my ears. With the windows closed all is quiet as I experienced the ‘rocket sled’ acceleration inside. Additional bracing and strategically placed sound-deadening materials have produced a new level of cabin isolation and sanctuary from the outside world. The MKS EcoBoost comes equipped with a six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission. This advanced six-speed gearbox offers you a choice between fully automatic operation or manual control. Paddle shifters are integrated into the steering wheel spokes. Intuitive to operation, a squeeze back on either paddle will deliver a quick upshift, while a gentle push forward on either paddle will quickly reduce a ‘matched rev’ downshift. This capability makes the EcoBoost MKS driving experience more sporty. Unlike some of the competition, SelectShift won’t ‘second guess’ you with an override shift, manual control is truly manually controlled as you can hold each shift to redline. Just put the leather and chromed shifter into M and see your selected gear easily visible on instrument cluster. As I mentioned above, the intelligent AWD system comes standard with the EcoBoost MKS and is even more refined utilizing the standard AdvanceTrac with Electronic Stability Control and Traction control to keep you on your chosen path during heavy launch, dicing it up on curving roads, or when driving over slick or wet roads. The structural enhancements that I mentioned earlier have been supplemented by suspension improvements designed to further improve NVH while also enhancing the driving experience when pushed hard. Mounts and bushings are extensively revised while spring/shock tuning and new dual restrictors added to the front suspension geometry giving you more exceptional handling dynamics perfectly matched to the powerful and responsive EcoBoost engine, without sacrificing the luxurious ride MKS owner’s demand.
Larger stabilizer bars front and rear provide flatter cornering characteristics and an entirely new front subframe aids in further adjustments to the suspension geometry. Up front the independent system comprises MacPherson struts, rear-facing L-shaped lower control arms and a stabilizer bar. The independent rear multi-link setup features coil-over shocks, stamped steel lower control arms, cast upper control arms and a stabilizer bar. The wonderful and precise electric power rack & pinion steering system works in conjunction with the Active Park Assist system but it doesn’t interfere with the excellent response I experienced when turning sharply into curves at high speeds enjoying the fast and precise response I was seeking from the hard biting 19X8 Goodyear Eagle radials tires. The steering was boosted just right for slow parking lot maneuvering while at speed the feel for the road and response is ‘spot on’. Safely slowing down was no problem for the EcoBoost MKS as the brakes are large and powerful. Up front are 12.25 vented rotors clamped with dual piston aluminum calipers while the 12.75in. rear solid discs are clamped with single piston aluminum calipers. Standard ABS, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control work with the advanced braking system to keep you in control during severe braking maneuvers. My EcoBoost rode on 19X8 bright machined cast aluminum 10-spoke wheels that were shod with 255/45R19 Goodyear RS-A radial tires. You can also opt for larger 20X8 polished cast aluminum wheels wrapped with 245/45R20in. Goodyear Eagle RS-A performance tires to add an even bolder statement to what lies underneath the skin. The extra amount of power and handling performance exhibited by the latest edition to the MKS lineup is plenty to handle. Even well traveled enthusiasts will lover the way the new EcoBoost MKS gives you all of the muscle and power available in most mid-level luxury sport sedans. The exterior styling gives you a big hint at what lives under the skin. The Lincoln signature double wing emblem is surrounded by vertical bars of chrome plated metal, and just below are projector beam foglamps at the sides that are also surrounded by unique chrome strips. The lower portion features large chrome-ringed horizontal air openings that channel air into the twin intercoolers to keep the turbochargers running cool. The headlamp clusters are beautifully formed and outfitted with adaptive HID headlamps for added awareness and safety. The slight scallop of the aluminum hood adds to the unique luxury look. From the side you see a wedge shape, a long hood, steeply raked ‘A’ and ‘C’ pillars, while new lower side extensions in front, sides and rear give the EcoBoost MKS a bolder stance and a lower center of gravity. The steeply raked ‘C’ pillar ends at the short, high-mounted decklid with a lip spoiler to help keep the rear firmly planted at high speeds. The standard 18X8, available 19X8 and 20X8 cast aluminum wheels and tires fill the wheel-wells very nicely.
Below the doors are two full-length strips of chrome which also match the full perimeter chrome strips around the pulled-up beltline and narrow windows. A second full-perimeter chrome strip is fitted higher and into the full-length drip rail, unlike any other of the MKS’s competition. The rear fascia features unique vertical lamp clusters with LED brake, tail and backup lamps. At the bottom of the bumper are two round chrome plated exhaust tips nicely spread apart in the MKS’ unique rear diffuser. Just above is a big, bold bumper further announcing the EcoBoost MKS’ power and performance. A large scalloped license plate surround has the appropriate Lincoln MKS and EcoBoost badges are each side. Just above the surround is a large chrome bar with the red Lincoln crosshair emblem jutting out. Inside the luxury and sportiness is evident. The doors open wide to reveal a luxurious and roomy cabin. Getting behind the four-spoke, power tilt/telescoping/leather wrapped steering wheel then setting your angle and distance, it feels perfect in your hands. The steering wheel also features two vertical brushed aluminum strips and buttons to operate the audio and cruise control systems. Straight-ahead is the luxurious instrument cluster with delicate chrome and white LED lighted round gauges for speed, engine revolutions, fuel on board and engine coolant temperature readouts. The T-shape of the instrument panel gives it a sportier look. The shelf is covered in double-hand-sewn leather that carries over to the door trim but now in white stitched leather. The center is filled with the optional Lincoln Navigation system with two brushed aluminum plated air vents that are also placed neatly at each end. A tasteful strip of Ebony wood veneer is placed just below the upper part of the dashboard then finished with a strip of chrome plate that finishes across the door trim. The center stack is finished with brushed aluminum at the sides. Inside are easy-to-use controls for the radio and dual-zone electronic climate control system with filtration. Just below is the leather and chrome plated shifter that is further surrounded by a narrow chrome strip for an added luxury touch. To the right is a sliding top storage bin and just behind are dual cupholders that also feature a sliding top to hide the contents. The leather trimmed, padded, two-tiered armrest and storage bin can fit most small electronic devices out of sight from prying eyes. The front bucket seats are very special making the drive even more enjoyable and fun. The 12-way powered and well bolstered bucket seats are extremely comfortable even during spirited driving. The front seats also come standard with four-way power lumber support plus heating and cooling. The perforated and other leather material is sourced by one of the finest leather manufacturers, Bridge of Weir, the same Scottish company that supplied hides for the iconic Continental Mark II, and was chosen for its high quality and chromium-free tanning. The engine is turned on by pushing a dash-mounted button that is surrounded in real chrome. You’ll usually just push a round button to start and stop and engine from the competition.
Rear seat passengers also enjoy a luxury experience with added side bolstering, a pull-down center console with dual cupholders and storage and heated seats. Behind the front console are air ducts and controls for using the heating element in both outboard seats. Recessed into the front and rear doors opening (the widest rear opening of the competition), are cleverly designed hidden rocker panels that allow for a lower step-over height, making it easier to enter and exit the vehicle. The design helps shield the rocker panels from the elements, reducing the likelihood of soiling shoes or trousers when entering or exiting the vehicle. That is only something that Lincoln would offer standard. The EcoBoost MKS comes with a long list of standard equipment not mentioned above, and includes a THX II certified audio system with 14 strategically located premium speakers, 5.1 surround sound and SIRIUS satellite radio, Lincoln SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment system is developed by Ford and Microsoft that fully integrates Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone and digital media players into the vehicle. New this year, SYNC with Traffic, Directions & Information provides simple hands-free access to personalized traffic reports, precise turn-by-turn driving directions and up-to-date information including business listing, news, sports and weather. Also standard are power door locks and express up/down power windows front and rear, grab handles above each passenger door, two-person driver’s-seat memory, reverse sensing system, rear power sunshade, ambient lighting, My Key to open the doors automatically after pushing several buttons, Securicode keyless entry/exit, power-remote sideview mirrors with heating and self-dimming on the driver’s-side, variable speed intermittent wipers/washers, dual map lamps, rear reading lamps, self-dimming rearview mirror, thick-cut carpets and thick-cut floor mats. The easy fuel Capless fuel filler is great making re-fueling stops fast and easy.
Options found in my test EcoBoost MKS included a big, dual-panel moonroof, rear-view TV camera, Lincoln Navigation with voice activation, also enables you to display personal photos on the center stack-mounted touchscreen. The system can store and display up to 32 photos, sized 1MB or less. The home screen can be personalized by display or desired information or photos in one, two or three panel views. There’s plenty of luxury, comfort and convenience to keep any luxury sport sedan enthusiast happy. Like all mid-level safety is at the foremost and Lincoln again holds its own and even better than some of the competition. The MKS features an advanced structural safety system that combines octagonal front frame rails, tunnel rails, and support members designed to absorb and redirect crash forces away from the passenger compartment. Lincoln MKS also features Side Protection and Cabin Enhancement (SPACE) Architecture to optimize side-impact occupant protection. The SPACE system integrates a hydroformed high strength steel tube embedded in the floor that runs the width of the vehicle from A-pillar to C-pillar and along the rocker panels to form a safety cage to help passengers in side impact incidents. Also included is the enhanced Personal Safety System combining multiple technologies to help tailor the airbags and safety belt functions to each individual passenger and the particular accident circumstances. The system can identify variables such as severity of the crash, weight of the individual passenger and safety belt usage to adjust airbag deployment force. Brilliant! Active Systems play a key role in MKS safety as well. Collision Warning with Brake Support provides you with a ‘head’s-up’ display that flashes red on the windshield if the system senses a potential collision with the vehicle in front of you. If you don’t respond and a collision is imminent, the system will pre-charge the brakes and increase brake assist sensitivity to provide full responsiveness when you do brake. This system works in conjunction with the Adaptive Cruise Control. Finally, Lincoln MKS delivers on technologies aimed at making life luxurious for you and your passengers. A holistic approach was used to develop these features and where ease of use and intuitive operation were key objectives. Nowhere is this focus more apparent than with the optional Active Park Assist, enabled by the advanced Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS). This technology employs an ultrasonic-based sensing system, as opposed to video camera-reliant competitive offerings, making parallel parking a breeze. Active Park Assist activates at the touch of a button, determining an adequate parking spot, detecting the edges of adjacent objects to calculate an optimized angle, then steering the MKS into the spot while coaching you through conventional throttle and braking inputs. In addition to completing a parking maneuver quickly, Active Park Assist also works in uphill parking situations, unlike some competitive systems on the market. Wow! The new 2010 EcoBoost Lincoln MKS is a blast to drive and has what it takes to bring more mid-level luxury sport sedan buyers into the fold. You’ll also save thousands of dollars because the new EcoBoost MKS starts at just $47,760.00 and my fully-loaded model listed for just $53,105.00. Now that is even better news! © Pictures by Harvey Schwartz For more information about Lincoln products, go to lincoln.com More of Harvey Schwartz’s photos can be viewed at autofotos.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name: 2010 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost Price $47,760.00 (base) $53,105.00 (as tested) EPA mileage rating: 17 mpg/city, 25 mpg/highway Engine: 3.5 liter, twin-turbocharged and intercooled V6 Horsepower: 355 at 5,500 rpm Torque: 350 lb-ft at 1,500 to 5,250 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/all-wheel-drive Transmission: 6-speed electronically controlled automatic with sequential paddle shifting Front suspension: Independent, MacPherson struts, rear-facing L-shaped lower control arms, stabilizer bar, and isolated subframe Rear suspension: Independent, multi-link with coil-over shocks, stabilizer bar, stamped steel lower control arms and cast aluminum upper control arms Wheels and tires: Standard 18X8 bright machined cast aluminum 10-spoke wheels/235/55R18 tires Optional 19X8 bright machined cast aluminum 10-spoke wheels/255/45R19 tires Optional 20X8 polished cast aluminum 11-spoke wheels/245/45R20 tires Brakes: Front: 12.25-inch vented disc with dual-piston aluminum calipers Rear: 12.75-inch solid disc with single-piston aluminum calipers ABS, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Force Distribution Total length: 204.1 in. Total width: 75.9 in. Total height: 61.6 in. Curb weight: 4,276 lbs