2009 Lincoln MKS Review – A Lot Bigger than You Think

Friday February 27th, 2009 at 9:22 AM
Posted by: Kurt Gensheimer

2009 Lincoln MKS
By Kurt Gensheimer

Blings:

  • Top-shelf interior with cooled seats
  • Sync system is easy to use, even for a Luddite
  • Trick “Easy Fuel” capless fuel filler
  • Moderately athletic while still being a terrific highway cruiser

Dings:

  • Good thing Sync is easy to use, because the Nav system is rage-inducing
  • Ford spec interior components remind you that you’re in a $45K Ford
  • If you think you can squeeze into that parking space…you can’t

Ruling: The MKS is bigger than you think, more refined than you think and more pleasing than you think – assuming that you think.


In light of the turbulent changes we’re seeing in the US auto industry, if you went strictly by what many of the industry muckity-mucks say, you might believe the days of Lincoln and Mercury are numbered; too mundane, too redundant, too uncompetitive, too undesirable. And seeing the staggering number of Lincoln Mercury dealerships across the country closing shop is a sobering reminder of those muckity-muck sentiments. Keeping Lincoln and Mercury on life support simply won’t help Ford recover from its fall into the automotive abyss, they say. With stale, uninspired models like the Town Car and the Mark LT, it would seem Lincoln is only months away from lights out.

But then a car like the MKS comes along, and it makes you reconsider everything those muckity-mucks mutter. Candidly, the MKS is not a wunder-car by any stretch. It’s not a game-changer. Nor any other two-word cliche term with a hyphen squeezed in the middle. But it is a solid, luxurious and attractive machine that’s stylish, unique, features useful, intuitive technology and is a lot larger than it first appears.

2009 Lincoln MKS

First Impressions

Its size is masked very well by Ford’s designers, who used soft, curved lines on the MKS to enhance its sleek, aerodynamic look. Our first impression was that the MKS was a mid-size luxury car, but when we pulled into a parking lot next to a full-size Volvo station wagon, the MKS dwarfed the Swede by over a foot in length. At 204 inches, the MKS is only 11 inches shorter than one of the biggest land yachts available, the Town Car. The MKS scoffs at the notion of being called a mid-size luxury car. Additionally, our MKS was equipped with all-wheel-drive, which pushed the weight to nearly 4400 pounds, 150 pounds heavier than the front-wheel-drive MKS.

That’s right, front-wheel-drive, which is the question which looms largest with the MKS. In a world where most full-size luxury sedans are powered by the rear wheels, why is the MKS powered by the front wheels, especially considering its size? Could it be that Ford is looking towards the future, realizing that the quest for optimum fuel efficiency may well kill the recent trending back to rear-drive luxury platforms? Those muckity-mucks might think ‘nah, it’s front-wheel-drive because Ford simply badge engineered the MKS from a Taurus.’

But with the recent announcement that the MKS will be available in 2010 with a 3.5 liter direct injection Eco-Boost V6 with twin turbos, putting out 340 both in the horsepower and torque department while still delivering 23 mpg on the freeway, maybe Ford is actually ahead of the curve this time. The only problem with this announcement is that prospective MKS buyers might sit on the fence until next year.

Performance

The current and only engine available in the 2009 MKS, a 3.7 liter Duratec V6, puts out passable numbers. 273 horsepower and 270 lb. ft. torque propel the MKS to 60 from naught in 7.5 seconds and chugs through the quarter-mile in 15.5 seconds while delivering 17 city/24 freeway mpg in the FWD model and one mpg lower in the AWD model. Although the 3.7 liter powerplant has an arduous task of moving over two tons of mass, it does so respectively through the help of its 6-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift. But for the MKS to really perform at the level of its competitors, the twin-turbo Eco-Boost V6 can’t come soon enough.

In the past couple years, Ford engineers have really started to nail down the art of making a well-insulated interior that absorbs nearly all road noise. The MKS is no different. On the freeway, the MKS is serene and relaxing, making for an exceptional highway cruiser. And off the beaten path, the MKS holds it own quite well with taught suspension and the added traction in AWD guise. It’s no 5-series BMW, but for the majority of full-size luxury car buyers, they’ll find the MKS perfectly adequate in the handling department; depending on whether you opt for the 18, 19 or 20-inch wheels. Our model had the 19-inchers which performed well, but consensus is that the 20-inchers are darty in corners and grooved pavement, and rough over bumpy roads.

Build

Ford has also come quite a long way in build quality, particularly with the interior. Although we were a bit disappointed to see window switches and door lock buttons found in Fords costing $20K less, the overall quality of the plastics, high-quality leather seats, instrument panels and center stack were all impressive.

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4 Responses to 2009 Lincoln MKS Review – A Lot Bigger than You Think

  1. Derek says:

    Reporting back on the performance of the 3.5L direct-injection twin-turbo EcoBoost engine — winner, winner, chicken dinner! Power from the Ecoboost engine is utterly amazing and smoother than a 12-year old single malt scotch. What really impressed was the EcoBoost’s torque band. Most of the power is available early in the rev range and doesn’t quit until the cows are ready to come home. Yeah, its that good.

  2. paul says:

    Thanks for the comp.
    I understand the M35, but again, the rear seats are much, much to small for adults on trips.
    Same for the BMWs and the they and the Audi all were soooo damn hard on my rear end!
    Points for MKS.
    The TL refuses to give heated seats in rear, not cooled in front.
    Points for MKS.
    I test drove the G8 with my wife and both loved the feel…BUT road noise was crazy on the highway and no AWD. This RWD is simply unacceptable in Chicago winters. We got over 42 inches so far this year alone.
    The only car that came close was the Genesis, but RWD only again.
    I have given strick orders to my dealer to give a call upon the first arrival of the MKS Ecoboost!

    By the way, my wife thinks I am totally crazy!
    I just took her NEW Mazda6 i in to trade up for the S!!!
    I simply loved the 4, but the continually wishing for more torque and dreaming of the new Audi A4 was driving me nuts.
    So now I get the power AND the rear seat room with regular fuel.
    Feeling much better, now.
    Paul

  3. Genshammer says:

    Hey Paul,

    Great feedback. You’re definitely right, the MKS offers a lot for the money, however, you can get an Infiniti M35x (AWD) for about 47K with everything the MKS has in a much more athletic package. You can also get an Acura TL, fully loaded with every option for about $45K, and a base RL for a few thousand more.

    Also, it might not be quite as luxurious, but the Pontiac G8 is certainly much sportier than the MKS, and a complete and utter steal at $39K, fully loaded, with a 360 horsepower V8.

    But perhaps the biggest value competitor to the MKS is the Buick Lucerne Super, which offers virtually every option you listed plus a blissful Northstar V8 engine for $43K.

    There are competitors out there to the MKS, but as you’ve highlighted, the MKS offers a ton of luxury for the money. And when the EcoBoost motor comes out next year, the MKS is really going to be a hot machine. Obviously, the old Lincoln stigma has not kept you from buying this great car, so consider yourself the proud owner of a well-kept secret!

    Kurt G.

  4. paul says:

    I am confused.
    I have one, fully loaded (except for that darned adaptive cruize which I avoided at all cost) and it cost me 41K last November.
    Your review states you can find others “other luxury cars which offer more performance, luxury and prestige for the same or less money. “, but I am asking you…which ones?
    I looked, test drove many, many cars and many times each.
    None gave me what the MKS did:

    Heated AND cooled front seats, heated rear.
    AWD.
    Panoramic sun/roofs.
    Size rear seats for my 16 foot boys.
    Adaptive headlights.
    Rain sensitive wipers.
    Auto bright lights.
    Soft/leather (German and others were hard).
    Special dual pained glass.
    OK…I will love to see the car that offers this for even 45K.

    Thanks for the great review.
    Over all you and I agree with your other points.





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