$11,129 - $12,484

2012 Lincoln MKS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Lincoln MKS was new.


Performance: 6.8

While the 2012 Lincoln MKS offers performance that is light years ahead of the now-defunct Lincoln Town Car, it’s still not on par with competing luxury large cars. The MKS lacks the sport-sedan handling of rivals like the Infiniti M, but it also rides less comfortably than competitors like the Volvo S80.  

Additionally, the front-wheel drive MKS feels a bit less responsive than many of the rear-wheel drive cars in the class. Opting for an all-wheel drive MKS improves handling somewhat, but also negatively affects acceleration unless you spring for a more-powerful (and more-expensive) EcoBoost model.

  • "Base models are adequately peppy from a stop and have decent reserves for highway passing. Large throttle inputs are required to extract the most from the engine. The EcoBoost engine provides impressive thrust, with ample reserves for passing." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The 2012 Lincoln MKS drives like a big sedan without the luxurious ride quality you'd expect." -- Edmunds 

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 Lincoln MKS is available in base and EcoBoost trim levels, which each carry different engines. The base front-wheel drive MKS comes with a 3.7-liter, 273-horsepower V6. All-wheel drive is optional on the base MKS, while the EcoBoost trim features a 355-horsepower, 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 and standard all-wheel drive.

Generally, reviewers aren’t impressed with the base model’s power, and although they like the EcoBoost’s performance, it’s a pricey option that pits the MKS against better-performing rivals such as the Infiniti M. Both MKS trims feature a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, which also receives mixed reviews. One test driver notes that the transmission downshifted too often on the base MKS, while others are displeased that you can’t use the paddles unless the car is in manual mode.

According to the EPA, the front-wheel drive MKS nets 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway with the base 3.7-liter V6. All-wheel drive models with the base engine get 16/23 mpg city/highway fuel economy. Surprisingly, opting for more power doesn’t decrease fuel economy estimates, as the MKS EcoBoost gets 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

  • "On Base models, the transmission downshifts often, and it is sometimes tardy to do so. Selecting the transmission's ‘SST’ sport mode via the gearshift lever holds gears longer and helps the engine feel more spirited. The transmission is markedly better behaved on EcoBoost models." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "A base V6-powered MKS would be outclassed in performance by a Ford Fusion SEL V6, while its coarse engine noises further diminish its appeal, especially when compared to other cars in this price range." -- Edmunds 
  • "Power is what you expect from Lincolns and the twin-turbo V-6 delivers it in abundance through a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic. I never felt caught out in passing maneuvers and the car easily hauled its 4276-lb. weight along at 70 mph on the freeway without breaking a sweat.” -- Road and Track
  • "Why pay extra for the EcoBoost engine? The high-tech, 3.5-liter, 355-hp V6 features twin turbos and direct fuel injection and makes the MKS both quicker and more fuel efficient. It genuinely lives up to Lincoln's sales pitch that it offers V8 power with V6 fuel economy. The standard engine in the MKS, a 3.7-liter, 273-horsepower V6, simply isn't competitive with the latest engines out of Germany and Japan.” -- BusinessWeek
  • "Power from its 3.7-liter V6 is strong, smooth and responsive, and its cabin is unusually quiet and serene at any reasonable speed.” -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

The Lincoln MKS lacks the agility of many luxury large cars. However, the MKS doesn’t offer an ultra-smooth, comfort-tuned ride either. One reviewer comments that in addition to uninspiring handling, the MKS doesn’t absorb bumps and road imperfections as well as comfort-tuned rivals like the Volvo S80. A large turning radius also makes the MKS more difficult to maneuver in and out of tight spaces.

  • "Handling is competent, but neither athletic nor fun. MKS is predictable and composed in most driving situations. All-wheel drive offers improved grip. The steering is tuned for comfortable cruising, rather than sporty response. Despite additional power assist at low speeds, MKS suffers from a large turning radius, which complicates close-quarters maneuvering. There is little body lean in turns, and the brakes feel smooth and strong." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Regardless of which power plant is selected, handling is a bit of a disappointment. On curvy roads, the suspension feels dull and overly soft. Normally, this softness would foster a plush ride quality, but oddly enough, the MKS still feels rather firm." -- Edmunds
  • "The MKS also can't match the tight feel and taut handling of its German and Japanese rivals. The EcoBoost MKS has an upgraded suspension and electric power steering, but it still only borders on being sporty. The suspension is relatively stiff without being harsh but feels squishy during hard cornering." -- BusinessWeek 
  • "The power rack-and-pinion steering is precise and responsive, the brakes are powerful and secure, and the car feels surprisingly agile for its size.” -- Kelley Blue Book

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