2013 Lincoln MKS at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show

  • Competes with: BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Infiniti M
  • Looks like: The MKT's baleen grille is spreading
  • Drivetrain: 300-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 with front- or all-wheel drive, or 355-hp, twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 with all-wheel drive; six-speed automatic
  • Hits dealerships: Spring 2012

The slow-selling Lincoln MKS receives a host of improvements for 2013, including more power, various handling upgrades, new styling and a MyLincoln Touch multimedia system. It hits dealerships in the spring.

More 2011 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

Lincoln retailored the nose, fenders and tail, with a grille that comes closer to the MKT's aggressive, uh, teeth. Inside, the instruments and steering wheel are new, and physical center controls have been replaced by Ford's controversial touch-sensitive MyLincoln Touch panel. The MKS will get the latest version of MyLincoln Touch and Sync, which should portent usability and processing improvements over the last one. LCD screens now flank an analog speedometer, and new luxury options include massaging multicontour seats and a heated steering wheel.

All trims get a standard adaptive suspension, something typically optional among midsize luxury cars. It should help improve ride comfort, which we find too firm in the current car. A new feature called Lincoln Drive Control adjusts suspension, drivetrain, power-steering assist and stability control intervention to three modes: Sport, Regular and Comfort. Specific tinkering (such as Comfort steering with Sport suspension) isn't possible, though.

Lincoln bumped the car's 3.7-liter V-6 to 300 horsepower and 275 pounds-feet of torque, up from 274 hp and 270 pounds-feet in the 2012 MKS. Gas mileage increases to 19/28 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive, up from 17/25 mpg in the current front-drive car. All-wheel drive models get 18/26 mpg, up from 16/23 mpg in the current all-wheel-drive car. The 355-hp MKS EcoBoost, packaged only with all-wheel drive, remains at 17/25 mpg.

Other hardware changes include larger brakes, more noise insulation and quicker steering with "up to 25 percent" better response, Lincoln says. Active torque vectoring, something that automakers from Honda to BMW use, makes its debut, too. In the MKS, it sends more power to the outside front wheel in cornering maneuvers to improve handling.

On the safety front, the MKS adds lane departure warning and prevention programs. Like Mercedes' Attention Assist, Lincoln's new Driver Alert chimes and flashes a coffee-cup graphic if it senses drowsy driving. If drowsiness persists, the chimes keep coming, Lincoln says. We assume you can turn off all three features, of course.

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