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2009 Lincoln MKS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Lincoln MKS was new.


Performance: 7.1

 Some large luxury cars focus on performance. The Lincoln MKS doesn't try to compete with these. Its road manners are a world away from those of the sluggish, stately Town Car it replaces -- it corners firmly and stops briskly compared to that car. But compared to what a BMW 5-Series or Infiniti M offers, the MKS is just adequate. It's a front-wheel-drive car in a class full of rear-wheel-drive cars, which makes the ride feel a bit less responsive than many rivals. Optional all-wheel-drive gives it a firmer ride, but slows acceleration slightly. Many reviewers say the one V6 engine currently offered is nothing special, but a more powerful model planned for fall 2009 might be worth the wait.

  • "Behind the wheel, the 2009 Lincoln MKS disappoints compared with its talented rivals." -- Edmunds
  • "Those thirsty for V-8-style power will have to wait until next spring, when the MKS will be the first recipient of Ford's new, twin-turbo, direct-injection, 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which Lincoln promises will deliver the ‘performance of a V-8 with the fuel efficiency of a V-6.'" -- Automobile Magazine
  • "In its favor, the Lincoln is a smoothie on the road. It's not remotely sporty, but the ride is comfortable, quiet and well-controlled, like the Lexus ES 350's." -- The New York Times

Acceleration and Power

Initially, the 2009 MKS is offered with a 3.7-liter V6 engine putting out just 270 horsepower. It gets the job done and allows drivers to pass at highway speed, but test drivers say you'll feel every one of the MKS' 4,000-plus pounds with that powerplant. Power is sent through a six-speed automatic transmission that many reviewers call sluggish. 

Sometime in the fall, Ford plans to offer a second engine that should make the MKS more class-competitive. Called the Ecoboost engine, it's only a 3.5-liter V6, but with a pair of turbochargers, it bumps the power up to 340 horsepower. Ford says it offers V8 power with V6 fuel economy. No one has yet tested an MKS with an Ecoboost engine, but more than one reviewer advises interested buyers to wait for it anyway. The EPA estimates that the MKS should get 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, but mileage estimates for the Ecoboost aren't available yet.

  • "The V-6 is certainly a good engine, but the MKS doesn't even have as much power as, say, the new Nissan Maxima, let alone the V-6 version of the new Hyundai Genesis. Premium cars require premium powertrains, so the EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6 cannot come soon enough." --Automobile Magazine
  • "Power from the 3.7-liter V6 is merely adequate, and this engine doesn't sound sufficiently refined for luxury-sedan duty." -- Edmunds
  • "Come spring, the MKS is set to get the first of Ford's new Eco Boost engines...On paper, the engine has the potential to transform this car, and might have transformed my impressions as well. But that's no consolation to someone who wants an MKS now. If a friend said she planned to buy an MKS, I would feel obligated to urge her to wait until the new engine arrives." -- The New York Times
  • "Unfortunately, this sparkling piece of engineering is under house arrest, guarded by a sadistic six-speed autobox named Sucko the Clown." -- The Truth About Cars

Handling and Braking

The MKS is one of the softer-handling cars in the large luxury car class with a ride tuned for comfortable cruising. It isn't sluggish, but the MKS competes in a class full of cars that are surprisingly agile for their size and auto writers say it doesn't match the best of them.

  • "Handling is borderline sloppy, with pronounced body roll, and steering feel is in short supply. The MKS's elevated driving position and formidable curb weight make it feel more like a crossover SUV than a flagship sedan." -- Edmunds
  • "It appears that Lincoln is attempting to appeal to a more performance-oriented driver. While they haven't hit the ideal marriage of ride quality and handling (like, say BMW), they've managed to ditch the floaty feeling traditionally associated with many Lincolns of the past." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "The MKS delivers a firm, well-controlled ride that will be somewhat of a surprise for Lincoln owners who are accustomed to the pillow ride of the Town Car and the last-generation Continental. Steering effort is not too high for traditional buyers, though, and the steering is precise if not overly communicative." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The brakes feel linear, responsive, and feel as though they have plenty of stopping power in reserve." -- Motor Trend

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