Targeting a younger luxury-minded audience, Lincoln’s least-expensive sedan had a list of notable modifications for 2003, including a new grille surround, mirrors, deck lid, taillights and wheels. New variable valve timing improved the power and smoothness of the LS’s 3.0-liter V-6 and 3.9-liter V-8 engines, both of which have electronic throttle control.
Suspension revisions for the 2004 model year are intended to improve noise, vibration and harshness, and Lincoln claims that the LS’s transmission performance has improved. A V8 Ultimate sedan replaces the previous V8 Premium Sport. Sirius Satellite Radio and side curtain-type airbags are optional. An LSE Appearance Package that adds chrome wheels, a unique fascia and wood interior is optional on the V8 Sport model.
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 don’t resemble each other at all. The S-Type displays traditional Jaguar styling cues, while the LS has a conservative appearance akin to other Lincoln vehicles.
Ford Motor Co. owns both Lincoln and Jaguar. Competitors to the LS include the Acura TL, Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Lexus ES 300, Lexus GS 300/GS 430 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Lincoln also produces a larger Town Car.
Lincoln kept a family resemblance to the Town Car 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, the 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. The Town Car is more than 21 inches longer. ZF Servotronic II rack-and-pinion steering is installed. Sedans with V-6 power get 16-inch tires, while 17-inchers accompany the V-8 engine.
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 powered 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.
Standard features include power-adjustable pedals, an electronic parking brake and high-intensity-discharge headlights. Options include heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a THX certified audio system and a DVD-based navigation system.
Under the Hood
Ford’s 3.0-liter V-6 engine produces 232 horsepower. A 3.9-liter V-8 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 and side curtain-type airbags are optional.