DETROIT – When I pulled into the parking lot of the Post Office to check my mail, a young lady pulled in behind me. She said she'd been following me and noticed the car I was driving. It looked real good to her and she said as much.
The car was a 2009 MKS, Lincoln's new flagship sedan. This was my second time driving the MKS. The first time I had it all of one night and the next morning I discovered that thieves liked it, too. They stole the tires.
A staffer quipped that at last Lincoln had got it right with the MKS, so much so that thieves wanted the 20-inch tires but more specifically they wanted the car's rims. It was meant to lighten the mood but the quip was based in truth.
The MKS is a good looking sedan. It is the first Lincoln to embody the brand's new design DNA. It features the new double-wing grille that sweeps up into the head lights. Lincoln's star sits between the grille's wings.
There is a sculpted hood and fast-raked windshield. The broad-shouldered Lincoln MKS also features a beltline that kicks up slightly over the rear wheels. Design details included a polished stainless steel side window surround. Stainless steel strips also run the length of the car, framing the available twin-panel moon roof and flowing into the trunk's lid.
Powered by a 3.7 liter V6 that makes 273 horsepower and 270 pounds feet of torque, the MKS was nimble and fairly quick off the mark. There is a premium engine package that makes 275 horsepower and 276 pounds feet of torque but why bother?
Both engines are mated to a six speed transmission that powers the MKS in either front-wheel or all-wheel-drive model. The second time round, I had the front-wheel drive model and found it more than satisfying.
However, under aggressive acceleration I could feel the power going through the front wheels. But it didn't amount to torque steer when going in a straight line.
The car was quick, had plenty of power and it was relatively easy to drive. I had no trouble on the expressways here. Lane changes were smooth, passing was easy and acceleration was almost instant. The MKS struck me as very capable automobile. It was quiet but not as quiet as some of its competitors. Still, the engine was smooth and gear shifts were buttery.
There was no ride adjustment on my test vehicle. Thus, the suspension seemed to be just a shade less than sport tuned. It was firm without being abusive and the interior of the car was pretty good.
Lincoln has tightened up its fit and finish techniques, thus, there were few gaps and seams were aligned. My test vehicle had perforated seats which meant they were cooled as well as heated. The interior was warm and inviting. It made me feel really comfortable.
Equipment included adaptive headlights, a stop/start button, a navigation system, voice controls and a much appreciated rearview camera. It made backing out of my driveway a comforting experience rather than a nerve racking adventure.
My guess is that there will soon be a dual turbocharged V6 producing about 100 more horsepower as the top engine. But in this configuration, the MKS operates on regular gasoline and gets 17/24 mpg for the front-wheel-drive model.
I thought the MKS was a credible effort by Lincoln to rejoin the ranks of the world's premium automobiles. My test vehicle stickered at $43,085.