‘READY TO JOIN A SELECT GROUP’
With an all-new sleeker front and rear fascias, a completely new interior, an all- new adaptive suspension system and the latest in luxury, convenience and infotainment features, the new, updated 2013 Lincoln MKS AWD luxury sport sedan is now very close to joining a very selective group of world-class luxury sedans. I tested the fully-loaded MKS AWD and was very impressed with the updated model that now will be a competent competitor to the M-B S550, BMW 750i, Audi A8, Jaguar XJ, and Lexus LS460 luxury sport sedans.
New Lincoln MKS AWD highlights include Lincoln Drive Control that is an automatic system that delivers an ideal balance of a smooth ride with confident handling as it intuitively responds to your driving commands and the road itself. Lincoln Drive Control helps make the 2013 model the most refined and engaging MKS ever. Additionally, the Lincoln Drive Control enables you to purposefully change the on-road personality of the MKS. Moving the gear selector from Drive to Sport automatically shifts handling performance, ride firmness, throttle response, shift feel, steering response and traction control/electronic stability control parameters.
The 3.5 liter gasoline twin-turbo direct-injected ‘Eco-Boost’ DOHC all-aluminum V6 engine now pumps out a healthy 365 hp at 5,700 rpm, 10 more hp than last year, and an expansive torque curve that plateaus at 350 lb.ft. of torque from 1,500 to 5,250 rpm. Fuel economy of the Eco-Boost AWD model is 17mpg/city and 25mpg/highway. It is the most powerful V6 engine in its segment. It is designed to deliver performance feel that is smooth, effortless and confident. I felt the power every time I put my foot down on the throttle.
Also new this year is significantly larger brake components that increase braking power and fade resistance while improving pedal feel. Improved quietness inside is made possible with additional noise barriers and absorbers that are placed in the front wheel wells, around the shock towers, under the hood and in the trunk. Redesigned exterior rearview mirrors further reduce wind noise.
An expanded SYNC functionality includes standard Operator Assist and local Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities for laptops and tablets. New collision warning, new Lane Keeping Alert and new Lane Keeping Aid technologies help warn drivers of potentially dangerous situations and can help avoid common accidents.
Exterior styling updates include a new grille, hood, front fenders, HID headlamps, front fascia, 20 in. aluminum wheels, decklid rear fascia, LED taillights and dual exhaust tips. On the inside newly crafted features include an all-new instrument panel completely cover in leather, chrome and Burl wood and MyLincoln Touch.
A closer look at these new enhancements, styling and technologies is in order. Throughout 13 decades of the automobile’s development, suspension engineers have worked tirelessly to find an ideal balance between smooth ride and satisfying, confident handling. Traditionally, smooth-riding cars have not handled well and sharp-handling cars have ridden harshly. Standard CCD delivers a more confident drive experience that introduces a key new Lincoln DNA-the balance of ride comfort and impressive handling. Regardless of road conditions, you will enjoy a markedly smoother, more controlled ride because CCD is always tuning and refining the ride quality. The result of some 4,000 hours of development time, CCD delivers its on-road benefit by significantly extending the chassis’ capabilities compared to a chassis with non-adjustable struts and shock absorbers known as ‘dampers’ by chassis engineers.
Compared with the fixed-rate dampers fitted to the 2012 MKS AWD, the new CCD dampers for the 2013 MKS offer dramatically expanded control range. CCD utilizes an array of 46 inputs to feed data to a sophisticated control unit that continuously monitors more than 23,000 packets of information per second. Algorithms react to the data by calculating the optimal damping force every 2-milliseconds or 500 times per second. The system commands damping force changes 20 times per second (20Hz). On average, large damper force adjustments (such as firm to soft) occur in just 11 milliseconds. For engineers, mechanical actions that occur in less than 13 milliseconds are considered real-time actions. The independent front suspension features these continuously controlled dampers using MacPherson struts, rear-facing L-shaped lower controls arms with an isolated subframe and a 26mm stabilizer bar. The rear independent multi-link setup includes the continuously controlled dampers over coil springs, stamped steel lower control arms and cast upper control arms.
The system’s powerful processing speed and fast-acting mechanicals enable CCD to constantly read the road surface and continuously adjust damping rates in real time across the three selectable ranges-Sport, Normal and Comfort. CCD operates so quickly that it can act pre-emptively.
CCD recognizes, for example, when the car is encountering a pothole and can instantly tighten damper control to prevent the wheel and tire from experiencing the full depth of the pothole. Typically, the damping rate increases by more than 150% versus the system’s softest setting, helping to smooth out an otherwise harsh and jarring event. The system is so quick that inputs received at the front wheels are then used to prepare the rear wheels to deliver a more refined driving experience. CCD is always active and it underpins the expanded dynamic capabilities of the new MKS. It also prevents body roll by up to 20%. Understeer on the MKS has been reduced by approximately 25%, so the car feels more eager and ready to response. Further enhancing the refined suspension system is a strut tower brace over the engine to add to the rigidity up front to quicken reaction to your steering inputs.
Lincoln Drive Control is where the magic happens because it pulls all of the car’s adjustable elements-suspension, steering, engine, and gearbox-into one harmonized system. With Lincoln Drive Control, the new MKS AWD feels sporty, nimble and connected, yet the smooth and quiet Lincoln ride is still there.
Lincoln Drive Control is always at work refining the vehicle’s driving dynamics. Enabled by features including CCD and electric power-assisted rack & pinion steering, the system continuously integrates handling performance, ride firmness, throttle response, shift feel, steering response and traction control/electronic stability control parameters. Additionally, Lincoln Drive Control allows you to purposely change the on-road personality of the MKS AWD-Drive Mode-When the gear selector is in Drive, Lincoln Drive Control automatically delivers the ideal Lincoln ride, balancing comfort with confident control and handling. Many drivers will find this setting perfect for everyday driving as it provides a comfortable drive experience and a direct connection to the road without sacrificing the composure and smooth expected from a luxury sedan. Sport Mode-When the gear selector is in Sport, Lincoln Drive Control transforms the vehicle’s personality to deliver a more performance-oriented driving experience. The following systems change settings in Sport Mode-The CCD suspension switches from operating in its comfort range to its firmest sport range, emphasizing handling; the electric power-assisted steering recalibrates to provide more road feel and great steering effort; the engine responds more directly to your inputs; the transmission upshifts at higher rpms. Downshifts become more aggressive and the transmission holds gears longer and during cornering. Additionally, sixth gear is locked out. The standard paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel come into play as you can change or hold the gears without taking your hands off the wheel.
Handling the 365 hp and 350 lb.ft. of torque generated by the 3.5 liter twin-turbo direct injected V6 engine is the heavy-duty 6F-55 six-speed automatic sequential transmission which benefits from high-energy friction materials, a larger ring gear and a specific torque converter to handle the high torque output of the twin-turbo. All-wheel drive is standard with the twin-turbo 3.5 liter V6. In good weather, over smooth roads at modest speeds and when AWD is not needed, the system intelligently routes power only to the front wheels for improved fuel efficiency. When driver input or road conditions indicate that slip might occur, the system sends power to the rear wheels to help prevent tire slip, for example on rain-soaked or snow-covered roads. Beyond providing more traction, AWD also improves handling by helping to reduce understeer, the tendency of the vehicle to ‘push’ in a corner at high speeds. A myriad of inputs enables the computer-controlled system immediately to identify and react in as little as 16 milliseconds to changing road conditions and drive demands. The amount of torque sent to the rear axle varies depending on road conditions and dynamic needs.
The MKS AWD steering system receives a thorough makeover for 2013. The gear ratio is quicker (15:1 vs. 17:1) making the steering more immediately responsive at all speeds. Additionally, steering boost is now electric rather than hydraulic. The new electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) complements CCD in contributing to the driver-tunable Lincoln Drive Control experience.
Other enhancements contribute to the system’s overall improved performance. The steering gear is now solid mounted to the chassis’ front subframe. Additionally, a brace has been added under the vehicle (across the transmission tunnel) to strengthen the subframe’s mounting points to the chassis. These details help significantly improve your feeling of being connected to the road through the steering wheel. Overall steering response for the new 2013 MKS is improved by up to 25%. EPAS offers additional benefits. At lower speed, when parking, EPAS provides additional boost for effortless maneuverability. At higher speeds, EPAS increases steering effort and feedback, giving you a more precise steering feel. It really works and at high speeds the feel is great and linear. Also, by replacing the traditional hydraulic assist-steering pump with an electric motor, the EPAS operates only when assistance is needed and it is much lighter. Furthermore, software-based technologies, undetectable by you, boost the capability of EPAS. Pull-drift compensation detects road conditions such as a crowned surface or crosswinds and adjusts EPAS to compensate. Active nibble control automatically cancels some unwanted steering wheel vibrations at interstate speeds. These actions are designed to give you reassurance and maximum control under all driving conditions.
Drivers are most likely to notice Lincoln’s new Torque Vectoring Control (TVC) system when Lincoln Drive Control is set to Sport Mode. TVC helps the MKS drive through corners with greater balance and poise. TVC individually influences the speed of the front wheels to enhance cornering agility by mitigating against a dynamic condition engineers refer to as understeer. When accelerating through corners and the system detects a drop in traction, TVC precisely applies brake force to the inside front wheel (that has less grip) causing a transfer of engine torque to the outside wheel (that has more grip). This helps keep the MKS tracking on the driver’s intended line through the corner. You can now slice through curves with the greatest of ease.
EPAS is also the primary technology behind the optional active parking assist (APA) system. Once engaged via a switch on the center console, ultrasonic sensors precisely measure open spaces to find a suitable parallel parking spot. With a few actions (gear shifting, acceleration and braking) the MKS steers itself into the open space. The driver retains full control of throttle, brakes and shifting the entire time the APA is engaged.
To match the engine’s extra power and the suspension’s additional handling prowess, Lincoln has significantly upgraded the MKS braking system giving you more confidence and control. New vented front discs measure 13.86 in. more than an inch larger than last year’s model. They are clamped with dual-piston calipers in aluminum housing. To enhance brake cooling, the ‘hat’ portion of the front brake disc is also vented, a unique design developed by Ford. The diameter of the rear discs are 13.58 in. 0.58 in. larger than last year’s model, and they are also vented. The rear brakes are clamped with single-piston calipers in aluminum housing. When braking the feel is more direct and linear. An excellent improvement in confidence building when driving at high speeds!
Another improvement that is privy to Ford is the next generation of the award-winning SYNC system that continues to become easier to use and more robust in its operation. New, simpler screen designs improve the user interface. Larger and bolder fonts make screens easier to read. SYNC’s voice recognition experience, powered by Nuance, also is improved. Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Auto software platform continues to be the operating platform that will deliver faster response times. SYNC has evolved from a stand-alone module for communication and entertainment to become a fully integrated operating system for Lincoln vehicles with MyLincoln Touch. As a further enhancement to the SYNC experience, the standard system in the 2013 MKS provides Operator Assist as a standard SYNC Services feature, allowing users to connect with a live persona free of charge. SYNC also enables the interior of the MKS to become a Wi-Fi hot spot when linked to a data-enabled cellular device. With active Wi-Fi, passengers can link to the Web on their tablets or laptops.
More safety technologies include a Lane Keeping System that complements the Lane Keeping Alert with the Lane Keeping Aid that sounds an audio alert then a friendly suggestion of a cup of coffee graphic will appear on the left-hand 4/2 in. instrument cluster. Collision Warning helps prevent common traffic accidents as forward-looking, long distance radar identifies potential obstacles. Collision warning is paired with adaptive cruise control because both features use the forward-looking radar system. Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert can detect vehicles in blind sports during normal driving as well as traffic approaching from the sides when you are reversing out of a parking spot. Lastly is MYKEY which allows parents or other concerned owners to restrict certain Lincoln MKS features when in the hands of a MyKey driver. Owners can simply program the vehicle key through the message center to incorporate features such as a limited top speed of 80 mph, prevent deactivation of the Traction Control system that limits tire spin; audio system volume limited to 44% of maximum volume; a speed alert chime at 45,55, or 65 mph.
The dedicated Lincoln design studio has developed a contemporary new look for the 2013 MKS. Every exterior surface from the A-pillar forward is new, including the grille, HID headlamps, front fascia, hood and front fenders. Continuing the new look are new 20 in. aluminum wheels. At the rear, MKS get a new fascia, LED taillights, exhaust tips and anew decklid design that improves access to the trunk. The styling of the new MKS adds both refinement and elegance to the car while visually lowering and widening the front end. The continuous bright surround linking the grille and headlights is particularly rich and adds something significant to what is already an expressive balanced design. The new MKS looks sporty and luxurious from any angle.
Moving over to the interior is a true enjoyment for both body and mind. It is much more inviting and engaging, with new capactive controls and MyLincoln Touch. The previous MKS was very linear and horizontal, now MKS is dominated by lines that sweep up from the center stack and flow out to the sides. Subtle ambient lighting throughout adds to the interior’s luxurious, high-tech environment. The integration of MyLincoln Touch to the new MKS complements Lincoln’s most advanced instrumentation and controls to date. The main instrument cluster features a center speedometer flanked by two full-color reconfigurable LCD screens. Content for the 4.2 in. LCDs is controlled by two five-way buttons on the steering wheel (much easier to use than a central dial on the center console since you do not have to take your eyes off the road to make changes). An 8 in. multi-function LCD touch screen dominates the center stack and provides the visual and control interface for the entertainment system, phone, navigation and climate controls.
The new MKS offers two audio systems, both controlled through MyLincoln Touch. The standard system includes AM-FM-CD-MP3-Satilliate sources playing through a 210-watt system driving 10-speakers. The optional, world-class system is the THX II Certified Audio System with AM-FM-CD-DVD-MP3-HD radio capability and 16-speakers, including a 10 in. subwoofer. Sirius XM Traffic and Sirius XM Travel link with voice-activated navigation controls also are optional. MyLincoln Touch and SYNC enable voice-activated navigation control. In addition to an easily updatable navigation database, additional Sirius XM Travel link features include coast-to-coast weather date, forecasts, fuel prices, sports scores, movie listing and more.
Lincoln style is supported by equipment that enhances occupant comfort. Standard heated and cooled 12-way adjustable front seats are so comfortable and supportive, adjustable pedals and a power tilt/telescoping/leather and wood wrapped steering feels perfect in your hands and allows a wide range of drivers to feel immediately at home behind the wheel. Class-leading available equipment also includes a retractable rear sun shade and new multi-contour adjustable front seats and a heated steering wheel. The optional multi-contour seats incorporate seven computer-controlled air bladders to provide front occupants with maximum adjustment. Four sections in the seat bottom and three in the seat back can be adjusted. Both driver and passenger seats feature individual static settings as well as dynamic massage settings. The seat surfaces are provided by world-renowned leather maker Bridge of Weir leather company. Sourced from Scotland, Bride of Weir leather also can be found in luxury jets, yachts and furniture. Connoisseurs of fine materials appreciate these leathers for their nature beauty and the company uses a unique organic tanning method which produces a material free of chromium making it one of the most environmentally friendly, and fully recyclable. New woods (Prussian Burl and Brown Swirl Walnut and leather colors (Hazelnut and Light Dune) complete the extensive list of interior changes of the new MKS.
Standard equipment not mentioned above includes foglamps, heated power mirrors with memory, easy-exit seats/steering column, dual-zone climate control, rear vents and pull-down center armrest in the rear, remote start, all express power windows/door locks, 19X8 in. aluminum wheels/tires, power reverse sensing system, center console with leather-wrapped shift knob, dual cupholders, storage bin with leather armrest, rear reading lamps, dual map lamps, grab handles above all passenger door, thick cut-pile carpeting/floor mats front/rear, and remote trunk release. Options not mentioned above include rearview camera, active front/rear parking assist, navigation system, heated rear seats, dual panel sunroof.
Standard safety systems include front and side airbags upfront, side curtain airbags, AdvanceTrak with Electronic Stability Control, SOS post-crash system anti-theft system, 3-point airbags with front pretensioners/load limiters, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, engine immobilizer, LATCH system for child seats and child-proof rear door locks.
The newly updated Lincoln MKS AWD EcoBoost full-size luxury sport sedan is ready to attain what it has been seeking for many years, to be on par with the world’s great full-size luxury sport sedans from M-B, BMW, Audi, Lexus LS and Infiniti M. With 365 hp the MKS needs just a little more horsepower that can fix that deficiency and become a great choice for luxury buyers throughout the world. It has everything, and more, that the competition has.
COPYRIGHT: 2012: HARVEY SCHWARTZ