2011 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost AWD Revie

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What used to be flaunted as Ford’s most luxurious brand, Lincoln now seems to have lost its way ever since the American company went berserk and purchased Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar, and Aston Martin over a decade ago. However, now that Ford has unloaded all those brands from their portfolio, Lincoln has once again become the company’s crown jewel.

But what exactly is “today’s” Lincoln? Entry-level luxury? Premium luxury? Taking a glance at their product lineup – including the 2011 Lincoln MKS – reveals several similarities with Ford division models.

One thing’s for sure, Lincolns have finally shed their reputation as floppy, cushy lux-o-barges with the recent demise of the Town Car. Yet, is that enough for Lexus and Mercedes buyers to consider Lincoln as an alternative in their car-shopping process? Maybe, maybe not. Then again, the same could be said for Cadillac.

Undistinguished styling

The MKS, now the biggest of Lincoln’s sedan lineup, has its work cut out for it. Despite its elegant, understated styling, it fails to stand out in the luxury sedan crowd. Don’t get me wrong; I personally find the MKS attractive, and it has the ability to slip by the local constabulary without getting their attention. For the most part, though, if you’re in the market for a $50,000+ luxury car, you probably want people to notice it.

With the top-shelf EcoBoost AWD trim on the Lincoln MKS, you get standard 19” alloy wheels. If you choose the $3,500 EcoBoost Appearance Package, however, you upgrade to polished 20-inchers, as well as some aerodynamic add-ons, darkened headlight clusters and a dark painted grille. Oh, and the MKS badges get a red-painted “S.”

No-risk cockpit

Like the car’s sheet metal, the dash and instrument panel displays elegant simplicity without really alluding to the sensation that you’re getting what you’ve paid for. The driver’s array of gauges is old-school classy, while the centre stack looks somewhat bare with its spread out button layout. It’s as if Lincoln wanted to modernize itself without leaving their long-time customers stranded.

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The seats, on the other hand, are oh-so comfortable. The front chairs seem capable of supporting any type of human being and, standard in every MKS, are both heated and ventilated. The SYNC multimedia is also standard, which is good, and there is still no sign of the MyFord Touch system in the MKS, which is also arguably good. You can also get a 600-Watt, 14-speaker, THX II 5.1-channel sound system with navigation and a backup camera.

The EcoBoost AWD model doesn’t skimp on features – especially safety features. The $6,500 EcoBoost Vision Package includes adaptive cruise control, a forward collision warning system and active park assist, the latter being a neat feature that parallel parks the car all by itself (under your supervision, of course).

Two turbos make a V8

Ford’s idea of engine downsizing is replacing a good old V8 by a V6 with twin turbos. In this case, the 3.5L EcoBoost engine produces 355 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft of torque. It’s all managed by a 6-speed automatic that also features clumsy wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Zero to 100 km/h takes roughly 6.5 seconds.

The powerful MKS can run circles around any previous V8-powered Lincolns, but we wonder if customers might cringe at the fact that you can no longer get a V8-powered Lincoln. Then again, maybe not.

Fuel consumption is rated at 12.5L/100km around town and 8.1L/100km on the highway. Unless you’re riding highways all the time, don’t except a combined average of under 11L/100km.

The car’s platform which was, ahem, borrowed from Volvo during Ford’s ownership, underpins several other models in the company’s portfolio including the Taurus. That isn’t a bad thing, as the MKS is smooth, stable, confident at speed, and can handle itself nicely when the driver decides to put the pedal to the metal.

MKS or Taurus SHO?

Although they don’t look the same, mechanically, they’re pretty similar. Which one would you choose? The MKS EcoBoost AWD lists for $53,000, while the Taurus SHO carries a $48,199 sticker. Personally, I’d go for the Lincoln for its more subdued looks, its less massive instrument panel and centre console, as well as the fact that there are less of them on the road.

Yet at $63,000 as tested before taxes, freight and delivery charges, the MKS sets foot in a territory occupied by the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the Audi A6 and the BMW 5 Series. However, some people might prefer a lightly equipped, less-powerful German luxury sedan over a loaded, muscular American sedan.

The Lincoln MKS is all about power and luxury for the introverted, which isn’t a bad thing. However, we suspect most buyers in this car category have some showing off to do which can be challenging in this Lincoln, no matter how many horses are lurking under the hood.