Known primarily for their luxuriously soft ride and excellent comfort, design and power are two qualities that have not been at the forefront of what goes into a Lincoln vehicle for some time. However, things are changing in the world of this high-class American car manufacturer.
|1. The new MKS gets more power and better fuel economy than the 2012 model with the 3.7L V6 making 304-hp and delivering 18/27 mpg (FWD) or 18/26 mpg (AWD). 2. Exterior updates include LED taillights, new 19- and 20-inch wheels and an all-new front grille. 3. Inside the MKS replaces conventional knobs and buttons with a new MyLincoln Touch screen and redesigned center stack. 4. Added tech features include a redesigned center stack with MyLincoln Touch, as well as the optional Lane Keeping Aid that will warn the driver and even add torque to the steering to pull the car back into its lane. 5. The Lincoln Drive Control allows for adjustment from Comfort to Sport of the car’s throttle response, steering feel, shift points and even suspension firmness.|
Stepping out of the shadow of Lincoln’s classic Town Car, the newly released MKS is refreshed for 2013 with improved horsepower, better fuel economy, larger brakes, upgraded technology and cabin features along with updated styling.
DEFYING PERCEPTION WITH NEW POWER AND CONTROL
Starting at $42,810 the 2013 MKS has two engine options mated to a 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission (with paddle shifters), front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive options and two trim selections (Premium, Elite) to appease drivers looking for a distinctive ride.
Under the hood, the MKS engine options are either a 3.7-liter V6 or a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. Drivers already pleased with the car’s horsepower delivery will enjoy the newly increased 304 horsepower at 6500 rpm versus the previous 274 horsepower in the standard 3.7L V6. The updated EcoBoost V6 produces 10 units more than the previous model making 365 horsepower at 5500 rpm and delivering 350 lb-ft of torque. Accompanying improved horsepower is better fuel economy bringing the MKS’s new EPA-estimated numbers to 18-mpg in the city and 27-mpg on the highway for the FWD V6, 18/26 for the AWD V6 and 17/25 for the turbocharged AWD V6.
Helping improve overall driving feel and move away from the steer-it-with-your-finger Lincolns of old is an updated electric steering system with a quick gear ratio to speed up response by 25 percent. While a comfort oriented ride, the MKS can surprise thanks to a Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) system that monitors and adjusts the suspension settings up to 500 times per second delivering an even more engaging drive.
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
The CCD setup is integrated into Lincoln’s Drive Control feature that allows the car to easily adapt to your driving mood. Gear selector options like ‘Drive’ and ‘Sport’ change-up the firmness, as well as shift points, throttle sensitivity, steering response and even the level of interference by the traction and stability control systems.
With improved capability, Lincoln also made sure to upgrade the brakes, adding new vented front discs that are an inch larger than the previous model, slightly larger rear discs and larger brake pads.
The brakes also help in improving the car’s cornering capability, with Lincoln’s new Torque Vectoring Control (TVC) system slowing the inside wheel in a corner to better control the car’s trajectory.
With these new innovations, switching the MKS to sport mode takes away any lethargic feel and makes this large car refreshingly unsuspecting.
Being a big car, maneuvering the MKS isn’t as difficult as expected. For starters there’s a blind spot information system (BLIS), as well as a rear Cross Traffic Alert system. The Active Park Assist (APA) feature ensures secure and safe parking in less than 25 seconds. With the flick of a switch located on the centre console, ultrasonic sensors precisely measure open spaces and locate a proper parallel parking spot. Though the car will move into place robotically, the driver still has full control of the gas and brakes.
Other driving tech aids include a Collision Warning system that works in tandem with adaptive cruise control (ACC). Keeping the MKS at a set distance from the car ahead, even when it’s not on, radar is scanning and will alert the driver if the car’s closing rate on another vehicle is deemed dangerous.
Available on the Elite trim package is not just a Lane Keeping Alert system, but also the Lane Keeping Aid, which will not just notify you that you’re tracking outside your lane, but will actually add torque to the steering wheel to help pull you back into your lane.
THE FUTURE LUXURY LOUNGE
Distinguished yet accessible the new MKS is conservatively styled, apart from the new front grille. Aimed at making a statement, it achieves the goal of getting Lincoln noticed, though perhaps not in the right way. Along with that new design piece, the 2013 MKS gets a new hood and front fenders, as well as HID headlights, LED taillights, redesigned exhaust tips and 19- or available 20-inch wheels. The rear decklid has also been redesigned, as has access to the trunk, making it easier to get objects into the cavernous 19.2 fu-ft space.
If the grille comes as a shock outside, the impact-piece inside the 2013 MKS is an all-new instrument panel with the ultra modern MyLincoln Touch system. Improved since its launch it still requires a significant amount of practice and focused attention. Although the screen fonts are larger and bolder, it’s not enough and the system can still overwhelm the driver with options and icons, making the search for rudimentary items like climate adjustment and audio tuning a tedious process.
On the plus side, the MKS can become a Wi-Fi hot spot when linked-up to a data-enabled smartphone. Passengers can get online on either their tablets or laptops courtesy of the Wi-Fi provided. However, what might seem like a helpful feature can instantly escalate the data usage, not to mention a sizeable monthly bill.
The dash is further updated with a single speedometer cluster with neighboring LCD panels displaying information such as rpm output, fuel economy, audio controls and navigation directions. For Lincoln’s parent company Ford, technology is as important as safety, comfort and performance.
Helping keep the cabin luxuriously quiet are additional noise barriers and absorbers located in the front wheel wells, under the hood and in the trunk. Redesigned exterior rearview mirrors also reduce wind noise.
Inside the cabin is tailored to be more cozy than engaging, though it’s hard to complain about the leather seating surfaces from Bridge of Weir, known for luxurious trims found in jets and yachts.
Seating in the new MKS is adaptive with standard climate controlled 12-way adjustable heated cooled bucket front seats, adjustable foot pedals and a heated power tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Designed to be a bonus to the front seats is a massage setting that is unfortunately distracting while driving and not really user-friendly to operate.
Undoubtedly a move in the right direction with fuel economy and horsepower upgrades, the MKS now packs even more interior quality and modern technology, not to mention a more engaging drive.
Still, the car’s focus remains comfort first and the brand hasn’t done enough to shed the aura of Lincoln land yachts past. For that reason the MKS will continue to be regarded much in the same way as its new grille, less with serious interest and more with curiosity.