Lincoln hopes to join the ranks of high-end luxury brands with the 2009 MKS, a new flagship sedan that competes with the Acura RL, Infiniti M and Cadillac STS. Lincoln has at least one advantage going in: The MKS is based on the Ford Taurus, a car whose full-size dimensions mean more interior room than most of the midsize offerings in the luxury-sedan segment.
Besides roominess, the MKS also has some feature-loaded value up its sleeve. The car starts under $40,000 and tops out around $48,000, undercutting most competitors by several thousand dollars. The MKS doesn't offer a V-8, as many do, but the standard V-6 makes 273 horsepower. Lincoln says a twin-turbo V-6 will arrive next year with V-8-like power. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.
The MKS hits dealerships in summer 2008.
It's difficult to tell the MKS is related to the Taurus, as Lincoln has done quite a bit to differentiate its version. Styling elements include Lincoln's familiar waterfall grille, cut by a vertical strip with Lincoln's crossbar logo. The thin, horizontal headlights look a lot like the ones on an Acura TL.
Around back, the taillights flow toward a high bumper. There are metallic elements on the window frames, door sills and outlines on the lower air dam. Xenon headlights and 18-inch wheels are standard; 19- or 20-inch wheels and adaptive headlights that swivel in the direction of a turn are optional.
Inside, the MKS' interior comes with lots of leather; it covers the seats, door panels and dashboard. The center controls flow seamlessly toward a center tunnel that supports the gearshift and two independently adjustable armrests. Lincoln etches its name below the climate controls.
Standard features include 12-way power front seats, leather upholstery and Ford's Sync system, which combines cell phone, MP3 and other audio functions into a voice-activated interface. With a premium subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio, the optional navigation system can list average gas prices for the past few days at nearby stations, as well as movie listings for nearby theaters and weather reports for the coming week. Other options include a dual-pane moonroof, THX 5.1 surround-sound audio and a backup camera.
The MKS' passenger volume totals 105.9 cubic feet. That beats the Cadillac STS (102.9 cubic feet), Acura RL (99.1) and Infiniti M (105.2). The difference is most noticeable in the backseat.
Under the Hood
The MKS' 3.7-liter V-6 makes 273 hp and 270 pounds-feet of torque. It works with a six-speed automatic transmission. In about a year, Lincoln says the MKS will add an optional turbocharged, direct-injection V-6 that promises V-8-like power.
Four-wheel-disc brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system are standard, as are six airbags: the required dual front airbags, side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags for both rows. The curtain airbags employ a tip sensor to stay inflated longer during a rollover — a feature normally reserved for SUVs.