In terms of styling, the MKS moves the Lincoln brand in the right direction -- that is, away from its dowdy recent past. It's not beautiful, but in dark colors, it definitely has presence. There's some drama inside as well, with nice, chocolate-colored leather seats and a swooping center console. And in the best Lincoln tradition, it's supremely plush and comfortable. There are a few straggling flaws, such as the somewhat cheap-feeling switchgear, but overall it's a good effort.
Unfortunately, the modernity of the sedan's skin does not sink through to its driving dynamics. To be sure, there's nothing dated about the twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V-6 under the hood, but that strong engine is let down by lifeless steering, mushy brakes, and an ever-present sense of girth. No, not every luxury sedan needs to drive like a BMW 5-series, but any sedan with hopes of attracting younger buyers should drive well. Competitors like the Buick LaCrosse, the Hyundai Genesis, and the Chrysler 300C have all found a better balance between sport and traditional luxury. And that's the other problem. The cars I just mentioned all live in the $35,000 - $45,000 range. This loaded MKS hits the scales at $56,625. Of course, lowering the price would position the MKS way too close to its Ford sibling, the Taurus SHO, which tells me that there's not enough room for both of these cars if they remain so similar.
Now that Ford is nearly finished clearing out its menagerie of premium brands, there's strong reason to believe it will turn its full focus to restoring Lincoln to grandeur. Here's hoping the MKS represents just the first step in that process.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor