Appearance and technological modifications are plentiful in the least-expensive Lincoln sedan for the 2003 model year. A new grille surround, fascia, mirrors, deck lid, taillights and wheels are installed in the new LS. New variable valve timing is intended to improve power and the smooth operation of the 3.0-liter V-6 and 3.9-liter V-8 engines. Both engines use electronic throttle control.
New standard features include power-adjustable pedals, an electronic parking brake and high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights. Joining the options list are heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a THX certified audio system and genuine American burl walnut interior trim.
The LSs suspension tuning has been revised, and new ZF Servotronic II rack-and-pinion steering has been installed. Lincoln claims the LS has improved ride quality and more precise steering than the 2000-2002 model. A Safety Canopy airbag will be available later in the the 2003 model year. A DVD-based navigation system is also available now.
Introduced for the 2000 model year, the rear-wheel-drive LS sedan is based on the same platform as the Jaguar S-Type, though the two cars do not resemble each other at all. The S-Type displays traditional Jaguar styling cues, while the LS has a conservative appearance akin to all Lincoln vehicles.
The Ford Motor Co. owns Lincoln and Jaguar, and both the LS and S-Type debuted in the same model year. Lincoln hoped to attract younger, import-oriented buyers with its LS. Competitors include the Acura TL, Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Lexus ES 300, Lexus GS 300/430 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Lincoln kept a family resemblance to the Town Car and Continental by giving the LS sedan a vertical-bar grille, which is capped by a chrome strip. Unlike the rounded, sweeping shape of the S-Type, Lincolns LS has a gentle slope to its roof pillars and a slight wedge profile overall.
Riding a 114.5-inch wheelbase, the LS is nearly 194 inches long overall, 73.2 inches wide and 56.1 inches tall. Lincolns newly redesigned Town Car is more than 21 inches longer than the LS.
Each LS sedan has front bucket seats and a floor-mounted gearshift lever. The driver gets an eight-way power seat, and the front passenger enjoys six-way adjustment. A power tilt/telescoping steering column helps tailor the driving position as needed, and the front seats have ample space for tall occupants. Backseat passengers also get adequate room, but the middle rear position is higher, harder and marred by the tall drive shaft tunnel.
Split, rear seatbacks fold down for additional cargo space. The trunk has a long, wide floor and is easy to load, but it holds a relatively modest 13.5 cubic feet of cargo.
Under the Hood
Fords 3.0-liter V-6 now serves as the base engine; it produces 232 horsepower. A 3.9-liter V-8 engine develops an additional 28 hp and now cranks out 280 hp. Both engines require premium fuel and team with a five-speed-automatic transmission.
Side-impact airbags for the front seats, antilock brakes, electronic brake assist and all-speed traction control are standard. An AdvanceTrac electronic stability system is optional.