With the 2010 Lincoln MKS, Ford finally fields a truly competitive luxury sedan with the acceleration and high-end features of prime European and Japanese nameplates. The MKS isn't a handling champion-it's a large, wide sedan with an emphasis on a creamy ride-but it's very quick on its toes and has an exhaustive list of features in its luxury-liner cabin.
Lincoln offers a big V-6 engine to MKS buyers and turbocharges it for those looking for a good substitute for V-8 power. The basic 3.7-liter V-6 is a smooth, if adequate, performer, capable of a 0-60 mph run in 7.5 seconds and quiet, fuss-free exploits. It can be run with either regular or premium fuel, and turns in fuel economy figures of 17/24 mpg (front-drive) or 16/23 mpg (all-wheel drive). For a good amount more, Lincoln's new EcoBoost V-6 adds turbocharging and 82 hp for a total of 355 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. It's a dramatic infusion of power in the big Lincoln, pushing it to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and to a top speed of 135 mph-while delivering a nice, ripe engine note and better fuel economy than the base engine, earning 17/25 mpg. Both engines team with a six-speed automatic; EcoBoost versions add paddle shifters that might seem odd in a car of its size, but end up more useful for sport driving than you might think. The gearbox does an excellent job of keeping the Lincoln in the right gear at the right time-just what an automatic transmission should do. While it's influenced by European sedans like the Mercedes E-Class, the Lincoln MKS handles with typically American-car ride and handling. That's American of this decade: The MKS has a pleasantly damped ride and responsive steering (electric steering on EcoBoost models are artificial in feel), and the result on front- and all-wheel-drive models alike is a responsive sedan that's not too soft and not too hard, even with the optional 20-inch wheels.
The interior of the MKS refines a linear, spare theme that Lincoln has been evolving all decade, with a wide dash and delicate metallic trim harking back to the Lincolns of the Sixties. Electroluminescent gauges give the MKS a soft glow at night, and leather and wood details bring it ever close to Lexus levels of quality. With its clean instrumentation and impressive attention to detail, the MKS's interior gets high marks for its luxurious livability.
The driver and front passenger have good legroom and headroom, with plush power seats that are heated and ventilated. The front seats in the 2010 Lincoln MKS offer plenty of headroom for the tallest drivers, and the cabin feels airy and plenty comfortable. The MKS's large, well-bolstered seats with just the right degree of firmness. There's enough shoulder room, but the driver will notice Ford's active headrests push too far forward for absolute comfort. The MKS' telescoping steering has a shorter travel than it should, which can force a closer driving position.
The MKS has standard dual front, side, and curtain airbags, along with anti-lock brakes, plus traction and stability control. A rearview camera and front parking sensors also are standard, while adaptive cruise control and active park assist are options.
Active park assist uses sensors to determine steering angle and "parks" the car for drivers, who operate only the gas and brake while the MKS with EcoBoost (and its electric power steering) turns the wheel for perfect parking.