Predictably, this better equipped, better performing machine is more expensive than its predecessor. The top-of-the-line model I drove, fitted with all-wheel-drive and the more powerful, more economical EcoBoost V-6, had a base price of $49,800, which is $1,410 more than its 2012 counterpart.
From a styling standpoint, the 2013 MKS is new from the windshield forward. I found the new front end more delicate and aesthetic than previous MKSes. The tail has also been restyled, a move that also augmented convenience by lowering the trunk's lift-over height and enlarging its opening. The trunk itself didn't need enlarging. As the store clerk placing a box in the trunk allowed: "You could rent this space to a family of four."
While the front and back of the car were pleasing enough, I couldn't get too exuberant about the side views. The car is rather tall, and its flanks are smooth expanses largely devoid of sculpting. Suffice it to say that while the MKS is roomier and endowed with more standard equipment, and is a tad more disciplined in the corners than its German competitors (the Audi A6 3.0T Quattro and the Mercedes-Benz E350), it is not proportioned as well as these lower, shorter Teutons.
Inside the MKS, there's little excuse for carping. The tester's innards proved as elegant and useful as they were roomy. The 12-way power front buckets were adequately bolstered and upholstered with smooth brown leather and matching perforated inserts. Optional dark veneer trim teamed with subtle chrome accents to grace the dash and door panels.
Driving the MKS turns out to be a pleasure on several fronts. With its standard adaptive suspension, you can choose a "normal," "comfort" or "sport" setting. Choose "comfort" and you have a nice riding highway cruiser. That smooth ride is complemented by the quietude of the cabin, which has been enhanced by a series of sound-deadening measures, most notably by something Lincoln calls Active Noise Cancellation. The latter uses the car's stereo speakers to cancel out harsh frequencies. Conversely, it will enhance the engine's snarl when you select the "sport" suspension mode.
Indeed, the "sport" setting does a lot more than stiffen the suspension for better cornering and use Active Noise Cancellation to make antisocial engine noises. It also tunes the steering system for more road feel and steering effort, boosts throttle sensitivity, and employs a more performance-minded strategy for the six-speed automatic transmission that holds it in gear longer and locks out sixth gear.
Driving the MKS is further enhanced by bigger, better brakes, quicker steering, and a more powerful engine. The 3.7-liter V-6 in the base MKS (a $42,810 front-driver) was bumped up from 276 to 304 horsepower. The EcoBoost model I drove, a twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter V-6 with direct injection, went up 10 horse, to 365.
Even with 4,350 pounds to haul around, the EcoBoost makes this a fast car. Zero to 60 is achieved in 51/2 seconds.
Despite its weight, and the fact that it is all-wheel-drive, the MKS EcoBoost has reasonable EPA mileage ratings of 17 city and 25 highway.
The tester was awash in standard and optional techy bits. New gadgets included lane keeping alert and a driver alert system that monitors your driving and lets you know when you're tired.
2013 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost
Base price: $49,800.
As tested: $58,265.
Standard equipment: 3.5-liter engine, six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive, and a hedonistic community with such residents as heated, cooled, leather, 12-way power front seats and an adaptive suspension.
Options: Goodies such as blind spot monitoring, parking assist, dual moonroofs, lane keeping system, and a power rear sunshade.
Fuel economy: 17 city, 25 highway.
Engine performance: Great.
Ride comfort: Top drawer.
Styling: Less than lovely.
Warranty: Four years/50,000 miles bumper to bumper.
The Ben key: Four Bens, excellent; three Bens, good; two Bens, fair; one Ben, poor.
Contact Al Haas at firstname.lastname@example.org.