I completely understand the displeasure that many readers may have once reading the title of this article. In all honesty, I don’t mean that in a negative way at all. I know. You’re all thinking that this is a backhanded compliment meant to slam the car but I promise you that this is not the case. If you really think about it, The MKS EcoBoost is one of the most comfortable ways that you can go fast. Not everyone can have an exotic sports car. The business man or woman leaving work to pick up their kids from after school band practice or ferrying around potential business partners would find this car to be their cup o’ tea. With just the right amount of luxury, technology and power mixed together, Lincoln has offered a solid product.
At a MSRP of $58,265, our MKS came with all the option boxes checked off. In addition to the impressive list of standard features such as the Adaptive HID headlamps, heated & cooled front seats, Sync with MyLincoln Touch, and Lincoln’s first adaptive suspension, our tester came with the $4,600 202A Equipment Group which added the Blind Spot Monitoring System, a heated steering wheel, the THX Certified Audio system with Navigation, multi contour seats, active park assist and lane keeping system just to name a few. The other optional equipment included the Dual Panel moon roof for $1,695 and the Adaptive Cruise control and collision warning system for $1,295.
The mocha leather interior was refreshing to see instead of the typical all black leather and provided a nice contrast. The seats were perhaps the best I’ve ever experienced in an automobile. I would replace every seat in my living room with the thrones that are the front seats of the Lincoln MKS. They are as comfortable as my favorite living room chair with one huge advantage: built in massage. Who needs a physical therapist? These seats can massage your bottom as well as your back, and the added heat is great. I must admit, not once did I get out of the car without feeling rejuvenated. Even though the seating position is higher than your typical sedan, there was plenty of headroom for my 5′ 10.5” frame and along with the telescopic steering wheel and adjustable pedals, finding the right seating position was a cinch.
The rear seating area, though, is a different story. While the seats themselves are comfortable and heated and can fit three full size adults with decent headroom, the only down fall is legroom. With the driver’s seat at a comfortable position, the space behind it for rear passengers isn’t as great as one would think when you consider the size of the MKS’ footprint. With the front driver’s seat positioned to my liking, I found that I had to contort my ankles to fit in between the space between the seats in order to get into the car.
Unlike the rear passenger compartment, the trunk was cavernous. I’m sure your business partners will be impressed when you take them on a golf outing and your kids will be happy knowing that they don’t need to bring their instruments with them inside the cabin. I was able to fit two 2′ x 3′ suitcases along with a tennis bag with plenty of room to spare. The cabin is wrapped in leather and adorned with a conservative amount of wood and aluminum trim. The steering wheel controls are plastic and even while they are nicely finished and smooth to the touch, they wouldn’t look out of place in other Fords. It just doesn’t exude luxury.
The fascia surrounding the MyLincoln Touch screen had a dark matte finish, piano black would have given the interior a much nicer finish and a bit more class. The wood grain on the steering wheel, seemed to be there for the sake of being there just to match the rest wood in the doors and dash of the cabin. I found that the wiper/highbeam stalk on the left was a bit intrusive when reaching for the left paddle but that’s not really something to pick at. What I will pick at is the use of the stalk as the high beam control, wiper control, and signal control. You have to use some force to move the stalk to get it past its detent switch to give a signal. A quick push will give you three flashes but that is not enough in many situations.
The gauge cluster is equipped with a central speedometer with an LCD screen on either side. Both of these screens can be cycled through using the appropriate directional pad on either side of the steering wheel. The display on the left shows information such as fuel economy, trip odometer, tachometer, and other useful information. The screen on the right of the speedometer displays information from the main touch screen in the center of the dash such as the navigation, audio, phone, or climate control screens. I found this screen to be unnecessary because you don’t need two screens to display the same information. A tachometer would have been a better choice, but more on that later. I found that cycling through the screens was a bit too distracting and required taking your eyes off the road a longer time than expected.
The MKS EcoBoost comes standard with the tried and true Sync system and new MyLincoln Touch. It operates exactly the same as MyFord Touch, but the layout is a bit different. The voice controls work perfectly, as they should. It is an advanced interface and if you know the commands, your ownership of the car will be a joyous one. I can see how this is a love it or hate it system, however. Some nicely laid out dials would have been appreciated for certain things such as audio volume, temperature and fan speed. I say this because it is simply faster and easier. For instance, to increase the fan speed, there are three ways to accomplish it. You can choose to use the touch screen, but that requires taking your eyes off the road. You can also use the voice control.
If you are in your phone menu, you will have to say “climate”, wait for the prompt, then say “increase fan speed.” The other option is to slide your finger across the touch sensitive strip above the power “button” on the center stack. This control never gave me the correct fan speed nor the volume increase/decrease I desired. This was a gimmicky and completely unnecessary way to do it. Its just so much easier to turn a dial. Sometimes simplicity can go a long way. To be completely honest, I liked the system in our 2013 Ford Escape better than the $58K MKS due to the fact that the climate controls are easy to use and are clearly laid out with their own corresponding buttons for fan speed, temperature control, and heated seats. The stripe has the “cool” effect the first time you use it, after that you forget you even have it.
The THX system is great. Its not the best, but the sound is crisp, clear and distortion free. You can cycle through any of the Sirius XM stations, your iPod, CD’s (Am I the only one that uses them anymore?), or bluetooth audio from your cell phone and you won’t be disappointed. An added plus is that with minimal outside noise intruding into the cabin, your favorite beats are even more pleasant to listen too. You can whisper inside the cabin and be easily heard. Even with the moon roof open, I didn’t find myself speaking over the wind noise to speak to the passengers in the car. The MKS is quiet and well insulated just like a luxury car of this price should be. It would certainly give the Europeans a run for their money.
If you like subtlety, you will most likely approve of the styling. The exterior design is clean and understated. Unlike the Lincoln’s of old, chrome was used judiciously. The front of the car is graced by Lincoln’s split waterfall grille with HID headlamps that turn with the steering wheel, giving you extra visibility even if they look a bit too small for the car. The rear is rounded off with LED tail lamps and a rather high deck lid. The EcoBoost equipped models come with large 20” 10-spoke aluminum wheels wrapped in 245/45R20 V-rated All-Season tires. The 3.7 liter models come equipped with 19” wheels and low rolling resistance tires. Other than the big wheels and tires the only way to discern if the MKS is a run of the mill sedan or the steroid induced Ecoboost version is by a badge on the trunk lid. Again, subtlety at its finest.
The 3.5L direct injected EcoBoost engine is force fed by two turbochargers (apparently one wasn’t enough. Thank you overkill!) good for 360bhp. The constant pull is just… indescribable. The 350 lb.-ft torque surge hits at an immediate 1,500 RPM and stays constant until 5,250 RPM. It feels like so much more, I thought the Powerstroke Diesel was stuffed under the hood of the big Lincoln. It pulls strongly to redline in every gear and, compared to a single turbo, you’ll feel absolutely no lag. Around town its as quiet and nonchalant as any average engine just going on about its business. However, find an open stretch of road and its muscles will start busting out of its well tailored suit. The V-Rated tires do a good job of keeping everything in place and the AWD transfers power front to back when needed in adverse conditions but, despite Lincoln’s first ever use of adaptive suspension control this cars mission isn’t to be a weekend track queen. Find a highway on ramp, floor the accelerator and be prepared to leave an indentation of your backside in the plush seats.
The MKS’ suspension is equipped with Continuously Controlled Dampening which includes a “Sport” setting. Yes, you read that correctly, “Lincoln” and “Sport” are in the same sentence. CCD reacts to changing road surfaces in as little as 500 milliseconds, but what does that mean? The ride is soft, well damped and it feels as if you are floating instead of riding. It provides plenty of comfort and soaks up the bumps easily, but when the road gets twisty things change. At 4,436 lbs for the EcoBoost, the big Lincoln is no ballet dancer, its more akin to a fleet footed linebacker. There is a plenty of body roll and brake dive when the car is being pushed hard. Given the size and heft, it can be forgiven since corner carving isn’t this car’s specialty.
Simply tugging on the paddles will not allow the car to enter Sport mode. You can use the paddles, pulling the right paddle for upshifts, the left for downshifts, but try to launch the car and it will quick shift first gear every time. To put the car into Sport mode, shift the lever down into S. Once in Sport, the transmission will hold gears until you tug one of the paddles and a tachometer appears on the LCD screen to the left of the speedometer, which in my opinion could have been an actual permanent gauge with a LCD information screen in between it and the speedometer. Lincoln claims that in Sport Mode, the CCD changes its settings to allow sportier driving and adjusts the traction and stability control systems to be more lenient and less intrusive.
The electronic steering rack will also recalibrate itself for more road feel and steering effort but it was hard to tell on country roads. There was no feedback to speak of from the wheel to begin with and, to be quite honest, Sport mode in the MKS didn’t feel any sportier than the base setting other than the ability to hold shifts, which makes driving this car around twisty roads a bit of a guessing game. The MKS is just so comfortable that driving it hard in corners and even sport mode seems a bit superfluous. Why would you drive a car like this in such a way? Its a luxurious straight line bruiser. You don’t need to put the Lincoln in Sport mode, just mash the peddle to the floor, let the stout 6-speed transmission shift for you and enjoy your massage while you are cruising down the interstate. Overall, the big Lincoln averaged 20.5 mpg with mostly in suburban town driving. Not bad for what you get.
I really enjoyed the time I had with the big Lincoln. The comfort and power are undeniable. It really is a bargain when compared to the luxury stalwarts. There is nothing that comes from either Europe or Japan that can compete option for option at that price and with that much power. There is really only one car out there that has just about everything you can get in the Lincoln for a little less coin. Unfortunately, that car is the Ford Taurus SHO. The Lincoln MKS w/ EcoBoost has so much to offer as a great luxury value only to be out valued by its mainstream twin.
Photo Credit: Lincoln