Review: 2010 Lincoln MKS

Rear Three Quarter View

The most heavily advertised technology here of course is EcoBoost, which is Ford's term for direct injection paired with turbocharging. In the MKS, the turbo V-6 comes standard with all-wheel drive, lest the engine's output turn this car into a torque-steering demon. Even with all-wheel drive, a quick stomp on the gas still can be felt in the steering wheel, at least momentarily until the AWD system shuttles more of the torque to the rear wheels. Certainly there's plenty of torque to move around, and the boosted MKS does not lack for power. Lincoln also includes shift paddles, but the application fails on two levels. First, you have to move the gear lever from D to M before the paddles will respond, and second, the push-pull logic follows that of BMW but not the preferable - and far more widespread - industry practice of one paddle for upshifts and the other for downshifts. As to fuel economy, I saw 23.5 mpg on a four-hour round trip that was mostly highway with some country-road cruising.

Speaking of back-road cruising, the chassis tuning of the MKS is the area where this new-age Lincoln was a little more reluctant to make a major break with the past. Bump isolation remains a priority, much more so than damping body motions or delivering precise steering feel.

My loaded-to-the-gills example had a pretty swell-looking two-tone brown and black leather interior, which was decked out with the latest, au courant ambient lighting (including illuminated door sills) and lots of chrome trim. The soft seats are high up off the floor and pleasantly comfortable. The exterior, which shares no body panels with its platform-mate, the Ford Taurus, was similarly dressed up, with optional chrome trim. And the car got a surprising amount of attention; I had one extended conversation that took place over the course of several stoplights along New York's Riverside Drive with a gentleman in a VW New Beetle convertible. A young, Mercedes-driving realtor expressed interest, too.

Given the fast-forward pace of advancing technology, Lincoln's new positioning as high-tech leader might be difficult to sustain. But with the MKS at least, it has given the product a sense of modern relevance it hasn't had in a long time.

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