You'll Like The 2009 Lincoln MKS If...
If you like this new Lincoln's look, especially its heritage-based "double-wing" grille, there's not much to dislike about it. With an agreeable balance of performance, efficiency, room and value, and front- or available all-wheel-drive, it lacks only most rivals' rear-wheel drive and a prestigious import nameplate.
You May Not Like The 2009 Lincoln MKS If...
While Lincoln's new flagship sedan punches most of the right buttons, competition at this level is tough. Most competitors offer rear-wheel drive, available higher performance and better-respected brand names. If you're willing to pay more for it, a German, Japanese or a domestic Cadillac luxury sedan may suit you better.
This new top-of-the-line sedan should go far toward propagating Lincoln's recent brand renaissance. Powered by a new 3.7-liter V6 through a new six-speed automatic transmission, Ford says it offers the largest selection of comfort and convenience technology features in its class.
The 2009 Lincoln MKS cabin marries best-in-class interior and cargo volume to a precision-crafted environment of hand-wrapped, double-stitched premium leather, genuine wood and sculpted aluminum accents. The symmetrical instrument panel, an updated version of the design found in the Lincoln Navigator and MKX, is bisected by a strip of sculpted wood, and its upper surface is durable leatherette. The standard leather seats have supportive side bolsters, the leather-wrapped steering wheel is topped by a strip of real wood, the round gauges are ringed in delicate chrome, and a large, integrated information/navigation screen tops the center stack.
MKS is the first new production Lincoln with design elements harvested from signature Lincoln cues of the past. Its most striking exterior feature is a double-wing grille inspired by that of the 1941 Lincoln Continental. A sculpted hood, a fast-raked windshield and a beltline that kicks up slightly over the rear wheels are highlighted by polished stainless steel side window surrounds. Around back, vertical white light strips separate LED taillamps from the decklid edges, and a horizontal chrome strip along the rear deck is inset with a Lincoln star.
The 2009 Lincoln MKS follows through on its good first impression. Power from its 3.7-liter V6 is strong, smooth and responsive, and its cabin is unusually quiet and serene at any reasonable speed. The MacPherson-strut and lower-control-arm front suspension maximizes travel, while the fully independent rear arrangement isolates noise and harshness without isolating the driver from feeling the road. One unique element is rear shock absorbers mounted vertically at the outboard ends of the suspension arms, near the wheels, to accommodate the available 20-inch wheels while allowing precise suspension tuning. The power rack-and-pinion steering is precise and responsive, the brakes are powerful and secure, and the car feels surprisingly agile for its size.
At a Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $38,500, the MKS occupies a unique niche among its logical competitors. Many of the MKS' natural competitors are smaller and pricier, including the Lexus GS 350, Acura RL, BMW 528i, Infiniti M35 and Cadillac STS (all of which in the mid-$40,000 range). Its only near rival with a slightly lower MSRP is the smaller, rear-drive Cadillac CTS. In short, it's a lot of car for the money and even carries a higher projected residual value over time than any of the above rivals, and substantially higher than some. Before heading to the dealership, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Prices to see what buyers are actually paying for their MKS in your area.
This well-equipped Lincoln packs all expected bells and whistles and some Ford exclusives, including a next-generation "SecuriCode" keypad that unlocks the driver's door, a new capless fuel filler system and the SYNC hands-free entertainment and communications system. Also standard: a premium AM/FM/six-CD changer 6-speaker audio with SIRIUS Satellite Radio; premium leather seating; leather-wrapped shifter; 12-way power, heated and cooled front seats with power lumbar; heated rear seats with pass-through; power tilt/telescope steering wheel with memory; dual-zone automatic climate control and reverse sensing. Standard safety features include AdvanceTrac with stability control; anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist; Dual-stage front, front side and roof Safety Canopy system airbags.
Most notable among the MKS' many available features are all-wheel-drive; 19-inch bright machined or 20-inch polished aluminum wheels; THX II Certified 14-speaker premium surround sound; voice-activated navigation; rear-view camera; adaptive cruise control; dual-panel power moonroof and "PowerCode" remote starting. Option packages include a Navigation Package (navigation, surround sound and rear-view camera); a Technology Package (adaptive headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, forward sensing system, rear-window power sunshade and "Intelligent Access" key with push-button start); and an Ultimate Package that combines both of those with the moonroof; special seating trim and 19-inch premium painted wheels.
Voice-Activated Navigation with SIRIUS Travel Link
This state-of-the-art system integrates climate control and SIRIUS Satellite Radio into a large, easy-to-use touch-screen display. It also provides up-to-the-minute traffic and weather information, current gas prices, sports scores and movie listings, and it can store, catalog and play more than 150 hours of music.
Jointly developed by Ford and Microsoft and standard on all 2009 and most 2008 Lincoln vehicles, this industry exclusive, voice-activated hands-free communications and entertainment system fully integrates most Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and digital media players into the vehicle.
Under the Hood
The 2009 Lincoln MKS is powered by a new Lincoln-exclusive 3.7-liter V6 that develops 275-horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque on (recommended but not required) premium fuel, or 273-horsepower and 270 pound-feet on less-expensive regular. Based on Ford's award-winning 3.5-liter V6, it shares the same die-cast aluminum block, lightweight four-valve heads and variable valve timing. To save fuel, its fuel pump shifts to a lower-speed setting when conditions allow and cuts off fuel to the injectors when the driver backs completely out of the throttle in fifth or sixth gear. The standard SelectShift six-speed automatic can be manually shifted when desired, and the available all-wheel-drive can distribute up to 100 percent of torque between the front and rear wheels.
275 horsepower @ 6250 rpm
276 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 16/23 (AWD)
Ford's luxury Lincoln brand has been on a recent roll with its MKX (X for crossover) and MKZ (formerly Zephyr) mid-size sedan. Derived from Ford's less-expensive Edge and Fusion, both have received positive reviews and have sold surprisingly well. Now comes this all-new flagship MKS (S for sedan). While it's loosely based on the excellent Volvo-derived architecture that underpins Ford's Taurus (formerly Five Hundred) and Taurus X (formerly Freestyle), it bears no resemblance to those distant relatives. We question Lincoln's move from names with heritage to MK-this and MK-that, but at least (unlike some) that key third letter helps identify the model.