Hennessey MaxBoost 435 Lincoln MKS: First Drive

Illustration for article titled Hennessey MaxBoost 435 Lincoln MKS: First Drive
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Ford perversely uses "EcoBoost" to describe their direct-injected and turbocharged engines when everyone knows fuel economy is merely the side effect of more power. The Hennessey MaxBoost 435 is a Lincoln MKS with the right name and 435 HP.

When I was out at the Hennessey world HQ earlier this month to sample the Hennessey VelociRaptor 500 — the 500 HP supercharged version of Ford's Baja-traversing Raptor — there was another Dearborn-sourced product waiting to get a new name and a big dose of power.


The Lincoln MKS is Ford's latest luxury flagship, outfitted with a comfortable interior and designed for easy and refined power from its not-really-optional 355 HP twin-turbo EcoBoost V6. It's already a lot of power for the LBJ-sized Lincoln.

Hennessey takes it one step further, squeezing out 435 HP and 405 lb-ft of torque by helping the turbos breathe better and some basic tuning. Other than CORSA stainless steel catback exhaust out back, the polished intercooler piping and giant cold air intake there's not much to differentiate this from the stock MKS. Actually, the best visual upgrade is ditching the big Lincoln's awful plastic engine cover.

What all this extra power gets you is an AWD Lincoln fast enough to hit 60 MPH from a cold start in just 4.5 seconds en route to a quarter-mile in 13.0 seconds flat at 106 MPH. This puts it in the same league as the BMW M5 and Jaguar XFR, all for a car that's large, comfortable, American, and a complete sleeper.

Down the quarter-mile in the MaxBoost it's hard to full appreciate how fast you're actually traveling. Lay on the gas and much of the power's quickly routed to the rear wheels but after a minimum of spinning you're gently transitioned to the end of the track. I was shocked to check the DriftBox to see I'd hit 60 MPH in the advertised time 4.5 seconds.

Seriously, I could just imagine my non-existent teenage daughter covertly applying polish to her toenails in the backseat without dripping a glittery drop on the leather interior. Though I wasn't able to top 13.2 seconds myself, it's not hard to imagine casually trimming two-tenths with a more aggressive launch.

Illustration for article titled Hennessey MaxBoost 435 Lincoln MKS: First Drive

Though it's honestly nowhere near as cool as the Hennessey CTS-V with an installed price of $4,495 installed with a one-year warranty ($3,495 via mail order) it's the most affordable vehicle to come out of the Hennessey shop not used in a LeMons race.


And for the truest blue-oval fanboys there's also a 445 HP MaxBoost 445 for owners of the almost-identical Ford Taurus SHO.


We called the 2010 Lincoln MKS a "velvet hammer" because it was capable of launches that were simultaneously Fatboy Slim-fast and Mel Torme-smooth. Think of the MaxBoost as a velvet sledgehammer.


[Hennessey Performance]

Special thanks to John Hennessey and HPE for providing the car, track and free WiFi I used to taunt Sam while he was forced to edit posts while I did this.

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