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2013 Lincoln MKS New Car Test Drive : Road & Travel Magazine's 2013 Luxury Car Buyer's Guide

2013 Lincoln MKS Road Test Review

by Bob Plunkett

Luxury Car Buyer's Guide - RTM's Top 8 Picks for 2013

Acura ILX

Kia Optima SX

Buick Verano Turbo

Lexus GS

Streaking along serpentine Skyline Drive, the ridge route high above Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, a powerful MKS EcoBoost -- elegant flagship sedan for the 2013 fleet of Lincoln -- tracks in a predictable line through so many chicanes.

MKS's all-aluminum 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine sends turbo-charged muscle to all four of the 20-inch 245/45R20 V-rated tires with big treads clawing for traction on blacktop around every bend.

Rumples in the erosive pavement don't upset this car's smooth suspension due to new Continuously Controlled Damping, a sophisticated device which regulates actions for the shock absorber at every wheel through electronic damping. It changes as much as 20 times every second, switching from soft to hard to soft again in an effort to isolates the movement of each tire for less bounce, vibration and noise, and producing more controlled handling with a smoother ride quality.

The 2013 issues of MKS score multiple enhancements including styling revisions to the body and cabin, upgrades to suspension and powertrain, plus improvements in fuel economy figures.

Lincoln's flagship sedan looks elegant and classy in a bold design for the body which focuses on a double-wing grille that's a contemporary homage to the classic 1941 Lincoln Continental. For 2013 issues the grille tips rearward in a sleeker pose as the prow adds horizontal louvers in a new fascia to underscore the grille with piercing optics of projector-type HID (high-intensity discharge) headlamps wrapping around front corners.

MKS's package shape features a windshield with steep rake and the rear window also with an aggressive slope plus side windows tipping inward to the roof.

Flanks show slight bulges for fenders around large wheels with a subtle character line etched into the leading edge of each front fender and drawn rearward in a gradual rise to the tail deck.

On the tail, there are new red LED (light-emitting diode) lamps streaked by vertical white light strips, a new decklid design that improves access to the trunk, and -- protruding from the base of a thick rear fascia -- revised chrome caps on the dual exhaust pipes.

MKS measures up for the mid-size class as a four-door sedan with a generous passenger compartment that's large enough to carry five adult riders in luxurious comfort.

The cabin layout pitches a pair of bucket seats up front divided by a multi-function console and followed by a rear bench for three with seatback split 60/40 in sections.
Twin front buckets with firm side bolsters adjust 12 ways via power controls and contain internal mechanisms for heating and cooling. Also, there are adjustable pedals aboard plus a power tilting/telescoping steering wheel.
Hand-wrapped premium leather hides by Bridge of Weir in Scotland cover all seats in MKS and trimwork consists of rich hardwoods and polished metal. New woods (Prussian Burl and Brown Swirl Walnut) and new leather colors (Hazelnut and Light Dune) apply to 2013 editions.

MKS 2013 provides dazzling new electronic instrument clusters, a heat element in the steering wheel and electronic finish panels.

The new editions also score the latest versions of MyLincoln Touch and the Microsoft-powered Sync system (voice-activated control over in-car phones, media players and USB storage devices), new safety and driver aids such as radar-based adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake support plus the Blind Spot Information System with cross traffic alert via icons in side mirrors.

The spec sheet for MKS '13 lists lots of active and passive safety equipment. Passive devices include smart dual-stage frontal air bags for front riders, plus seat-mounted side air bags up front and curtain-style side air bags front and rear. Active safety systems range from four-wheel disc brakes tied to ABS (anti-lock brake system) plus TCS (traction control system) and ESC (electronic stability control).

But Lincoln applies additional dynamic safety devices to 2013 models such as Torque Vectoring Control, which adds a touch of braking to the outward front wheel when powering through a corner.

For MKS EcoBoost, the optional twin-turbo V6 delivers the pumping the power and torque of a big V8 but the fuel economy of a six-pack.

The twin-cam and twin-turbo engine with direct-injection and VVT (variable valve timing) delivers 365 hp at 6500 rpm and torque of 350 lb-ft spread over a broad band from 1500 rpm to 5000 rpm.

It links to a six-speed electronic automatic SelectShift transaxle with steering-wheel paddle shifters and standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the EcoBoost V6 are 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.

Lincoln also offers MKS '13 with a naturally-aspirated DOHC (dual overhead cams) V6 displacing 3.7 liters and rigged with performance-enhancing Ti-VVT (twin independent variable camshaft timing) technology, and standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) or optional AWD traction.

This plant produces 304 hp at 6500 rpm and torque of 279 lb-ft at 4000 rpm when running on 87 octane unleaded fuel. EPA fuel economy estimates come to 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway for MKS FWD and 18/26 mpg city/highway for MKS AWD.

Price points for the 2013 MKS begin at $42,810.

For more information on Lincoln vehicles, click here.