Nissan is on a roll lately, and I am excited that the carmaker has found a second wind. But just as Nissan started its victory lap, it fell victim to its own hubris. You see, Nissan tried to dunk on the Lincoln LS. That was a mistake.
Nissan partnered with Brie Larson to tell us that it’s back in the game. In the pair’s latest promo, Nissan shows off its gamut of cool cars and even dusts off a Datsun, too, to show it’s always been hip. To draw a contrast with these cool cars, Nissan needed something boring, generic. A non-car.
At around the 00:18 mark, Brie confidently strolls through a parking garage full of the same car. It’s a nondescript sedan in beige paint with a look that’s supposed to be vague. It’s pretty spot-on to the rear end of a Lincoln LS.
The lights are nearly identical, and even the lettering sits where the Lincoln marque goes on the LS. The major difference is that the angle of the trunk is slightly skewed on the car Nissan mocked up for the video.
It’s obvious what Nissan was trying to do. It wanted to show a buzzword boring car with attributes that have fallen out of favor. Sedan. Beige. Bumper.
The thing is, the Lincoln LS was a pretty cool car. Its DEW platform is shared with two Jaguars and the revived Thunderbird. The LS was RWD, had 50/50 weight distribution, came with V6 or V8 power, and could be had with a Getrag five-speed manual transmission. That reads like a fun car, maybe even a BMW.
Actually, the LS looked a lot like a BMW! It’s not a subtle interpretation of Lincoln’s take on a BMW 3 Series. Think of something slightly bigger that fuses the E36 and E46 design. The LS is a damn sports sedan!
And yet, Nissan didn’t bother to give the Lincoln its due. Somewhere, Matthew McConaughey is whispering, “Alright, alright, alright,” and gripping the leather steering wheel of an MK... something. The white-knuckle grip belies his words and effortless demeanor.
But I’m backing Lincoln and Matthew this time, because the Lincoln LS is a neat car with a design that’s almost derivative but swerves around that line and does its own thing. I think it’s in the rear design where Lincoln gets away with it. It’s a stately car, plain but happy to over-deliver.
If I’m totally fair to Nissan, one of the reasons the Lincoln LS remains cool is that it was an uneventful car; it looks harmless. That doesn’t make it bad. I appreciate the LS’s poise.
It didn’t need to be the center of attention. There was even a bit of unexpectedness to the LS’s competency. It didn’t read fast car, but was interesting because of it. Consider that in contrast to today’s over-styled crossovers, all creased and baroque but totally nondescript under the skin. Nissan should reconsider its beef with the LS.