Rather than a pedestrian 3.7-liter V6, the 2010 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost provides a rip-roaring 355 HP twin-turbo V6 that’ll get 24+ MPG. Minus tweaks, it’s the same setup we’ll see in the Ford Taurus SHO.
If ever there was a Lincoln we could call “hot rod, “ this is it, but not in the way you might imagine. The MKS with EcoBoost boasts the same interior refinement and space, amenities and electronic wizardry, pleasant road manners and a price point starting at $47,760 — about ten grand more than the base MKS, but only about $4,000 more than an equivalently-optioned non-EcoBoost MKS. For that added price, you’ll get some tasteful upgrades to the already handsome exterior with a subtle lip spoiler at the back, smoked headlights, a chin spoiler and nice wheels.
That sweet twin-turbo V6 moves this thing off the line like a scalded monkey and the transmission stays out of your way when you want it to. The first time you smash the happy pedal and get that whoosh of power you know this is a velvet hammer. Accelerating all the way up to the car’s tire-limited 135 MPH top speed is effortless, with the engine providing no hint of protest. Loping along at that speed, burning fossil fuels at 9.5 MPG, it feels planted, with the only drama of speed communicated through the windows. Even at this speed, it’s silent as a coffin and steady as a rock. But when you then start exploring the other car’s other limits, your brow begins to furl.
Toss it hard into a sweeping corner and accelerate, it’s balanced with a hint of understeer, but while the tires aren’t protesting the chassis is. It feels... unsettled. You feel as if you’re about to oversteer even if the car’s understeering. Drop down from a panic stop and the ABS calibration is absolutely perfect, no pulsation, no loss of traction and you’re stopping so hard the car leaves behind two perfect tire tracks and a breeze of sublimated rubber blows by as you come to a halt. But the pedal is mushy, there’s no real feel in it and the travel before it engages is too long.
We really wanted this car to be an 550i fighter, but it isn’t. It’s a very big car with a very bad-ass engine which doesn’t quite tackle corners with the aplomb we’d like. Don’t get us wrong here, it does everything very well. The powertrain is perfect for the segment — fast when you want it fast, quiet when you want it to be quiet and loud when you want it to be loud. It tackles corners respectably and the brakes do their thing, but it doesn’t feel right. The MKS is super fun in a straight line, and delightful in the corners to about 80%, but after that it gets spooky, and that final 20% is what makes legends. Which this MKS sadly isn’t. But, what it does mean is there’s hope that the Taurus SHO and the expected lower weight, suspension tuning and 10 more ponies we’ll be seeing later this year will show us the final 20% we’re looking for.