Introduced in 2009, the Lincoln MKS is positioned as the top-tier sedan from Ford. While most reviewers agreed the MKS was a decent effort by Lincoln, they were nearly unanimous about one glaring shortcoming-a lack of power. That oversight is addressed with the MKS EcoBoost. With the MKS now available with enough power, can it compete in the luxury car arena? Read on to find out.
First glance at the MKS EcoBoost conjures a favorite term of us auto scribes-the “Q-Ship”. Q-Ships were used by the British and US Navy in World War I and II. The basic formula was an unassuming merchant vessel, but heavily armed with the intent to surprise the enemy. The MKS EcoBoost fits that profile perfectly, as the car is indistinguishable from lesser MKS’. There is an optional EcoBoost Appearance Package in the event you want to advertise the power lurking under the hood. The MKS is quite a large car, but carries its size well. Lincoln kept ornamentation to a bare minimum, but the thin chrome strips on the door handles are an example that this is an American luxury car.
Inside the MKS, driver and passengers are greeted with a large and luxurious interior. Large leather seats finished in Bridge of Weir leather offered excellent comfort and support over long trips. Heated and cooled front seats assure comfort no matter what the temperature is. Rear passengers are also treated to heated seats, and a loads of leg room. One passenger remarked feeling like Mr. Big from the TV series “Sex in the City.”
The seat you really want is the driver’s seat, where you are faced with attractive gauge faces, but the odometer and trip computer display looks a bit antiquated compared to what I have seen from Cadillac. Despite our heavily optioned test car, the MKS has a fairly straightforward center stack-no overwhelming amount of buttons. While not cheap, what buttons were there didn’t feel particularly special for a car in this price bracket. I was also let down by the plastic shift paddles-this car is crying out for polished metal paddles, Lincoln. The decision to hide the switch for the power rear sunshade under a sliding panel next to the gear selector was also a head-scratcher.
But the real story of the MKS EcoBoost is the engine. The 3.5L, twin turbo direct injected V-6 produces 355hp coupled to a six-speed automatic. All EcoBoost models come with all-wheel drive. Lincoln’s goal with the EcoBoost engine was to produce V-8 performance with V-6 fuel efficiency. Performance-wise, they nailed it. For a 4,300lb sedan, the MKS is seriously fast off the line, with no trace of turbo lag. In fact, power is right there, whenever you want it. Highway onramps are an absolute joy to stand on the throttle and go, the only disappointment being how quickly you approach 80mph and lift off the gas. Passing power is impressive. Buyers hoping for an engine sound as sweet as a BMW six cylinder may be disappointed. The transmission is a willing partner, ready to drop a gear for maximum thrust. Overall, I managed 21mpg during my time with the MKS, which is not bad for a car this size.
The MKS is not going to be your go-to choice for country road storming, as its sheer size and weight are working against you. I did find it odd that the car’s suspension felt quite firm, but the handling wasn’t commensurate with the firmness of the ride. While the steering was unremarkable, the brakes were excellent.
Our week with the MKS EcoBoost included a 500 mile round trip to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and you would be hard pressed to find a better travel companion than this car. The MKS positively shines on the highway, offering the power, poise, and comfort you expect from a modern luxury car. The huge trunk was also a bonus, and the dual panel moonroof added to the car’s flair. The icing on the cake was the THX 14 speaker, 2 subwoofer stereo that delivered crystal clear sound.
Cruising the interstate at 80mph in the vault-like silence of the MKS, with my wife and child asleep, and my iPod playing bossa nova songstress Bebel Gilberto, it was hard to keep the grin off my face as the car really came into its own. A moment where you can feel the car talking to you, knowing this is what it was built to do really endeared me to the car. Priced at nearly $54,000 with options, the MKS Ecoboost faces stiff competition from makers that carry much more weight in this class. But for buyers seeking luxury and performance with an American accent, the MKS EcoBoost is worth a look.