What is it? Lincoln’s largest sedan, the MKS, receives some refinements and updates for 2013, but not a total makeover. The MKS is Lincoln’s version of the Ford Taurus and is available in either front- or all-wheel drive. We like the roominess of the current version, except for the narrow footwell up front, which makes it hard for some people to find an ideal driving position. That won’t change with the update.
What may change is the ride, which was already pretty good if not always settled. Lincoln has introduced as standard equipment a continuously controlled damping system (CCD) that adjusts the shock absorbers many times per second in response to varying pavement conditions. Drivers can also adjust the ride quality with Normal and Sport settings on the gear selector. Those adjustments affect the steering and transmission response, as well as the ride. If the electronic enhancements work as advertised, then it may improve upon the current car, which is a bit lacking in agility.
The standard 3.7-liter V6 gets 27 more horsepower, bringing it up to 300, while the uplevel EcoBoost turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 remains at 355-hp. Both powertrains are ample for this car. Lincoln says highway fuel economy for the 3.7 has increased by 3 mpg. The engines are mated to slightly different six-speed transmissions and both bring paddle shifters on the steering wheel for simulated manual shifting.
A raft of safety gear includes adaptive cruise control, collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and a newly enhanced lane-keeping system that sounds a chime and vibrates the steering wheel if the car wanders out of its lane without the driver using turn signals.
The MKS also brings a revised version of MyLincoln Touch, a control interface using touch-sensitive buttons and a central touch screen for climate, navigation, phone, and infotainment functions. We hope Lincoln has worked the bugs out of this system since initial versions were slow to respond and took a lot of getting used to. Another new option for the MKS is a heated steering wheel, something we like a lot on cold mornings.
When will it be available? Spring 2012.