A couple of us from The Auto Red Book® staff recently had the opportunity to drive the soon-to-be-available 2013 MKS (Sedan) and MKT (Touring Crossover). We have been watching the transformation of Ford vehicles up close over the years and were very curious to know what plans were in store for these newest Lincolns. Lincoln gave its customers exactly what they wanted for many years, however, when the average Lincoln owner is of the age where they have bought their last car, something has to give.
Lincoln decided to go after the more discerning customer, a customer who demands much more from their personal transportation than in the past. Gone are the Town Cars and popular livery vehicles that previously defined the brand, as now there is a new focus that includes an emphasis on driving dynamics, along with comfort and safety, plus distinctive looks.
To begin, our group logged some classroom time learning about all the new enhancements and how they compared to competitive vehicles. They benchmarked the best. There are numerous systems that respond to and even predict and warn the driver about potential negative situations. These safety systems include but are not limited to: blind spot information system, adaptive cruise control, curve control, cross traffic alert, collision warning with brake support, Lane Keeping System and Torque Vectoring Control which improves corner capability when accelerating.
These systems work seamlessly behind the scenes to provide a responsive, agile and comfortably controlled ride.
The adaptive cruise works particularly well. On one of our drives in years past we tested a competitive vehicle with a $7,000 electronics package that included a stereo and something called intelligent cruise control. The cruise control almost took us into the back of a semi trailer before I chickened out and tapped the brakes to shut off the cruise. I guess it didn’t read the high bumper on the trailer very well. The Lincoln system worked as it should, maintaining a driver-adjustable comfortable distance.
The first leg of our drive took us up the Pacific Coast Highway, then we veered off to the canyons so that we could experience some winding roads with 100 ft. drop-offs. Our hosts wanted us to experience their new cars in circumstances that would adequately test these new and upgraded systems. We started out driving a 2012 MKS and I remember thinking “This is nice, nothing wrong with this car.” It handled everything I threw at it and it was fine. Then I drove the 2013 on the same course and was surprised at how much more in control I felt at speeds I wasn’t as comfortable driving as in the 2012. I can’t really explain how all these systems were working behind the scenes around all these cliffs, only that I felt in complete control the whole time. The 365 H.P. engine mated to the electronically-controlled six-speed transmitting power to all four wheels gave this car a solid and tight feel. We also drove the MKT around the same course and it was every bit as tight as the MKS, and for a vehicle that looks big it sure didn’t drive big.
Our drive rotation included some competitive vehicles. The Lincoln held its own in every measurable way even against vehicles that cost much more. One of the competitive vehicles in the rotation was simply awful with inadequate power, uncomfortable and noisy with over-assisted steering, plus sloppy shifting transmission. Oh yeah, it actually cost more than the MKS.
Lincoln is a brand that Ford brass has publicly committed to re-invent and revitalize and is working hard to change the image of overstuffed sofas on wheels. With vehicles like the new MKS and MKT, that image will eventually fade away and Lincoln will once again reclaim their place among the best in luxury. This is an excellent example and we look forward to what Lincoln has in store for us in the future.