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2009 MKS from summer 2008
The next generation full-size Lincoln sedan

Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan: front, driving shot.

All-wheel or front-wheel drive.

8 December 2007.

As Ford Motor Co. is in the process of selling its British brands Jaguar and Land Rover, following the sale of its other British sports luxury marque Aston Martin, two premium names will remain in the portfolio of the American group, Lincoln and Volvo.

The question of selling Volvo or keeping it in the portfolio remains open to frequent comments and speculations, but one thing seems to be certain: Lincoln will become again the exclusive luxury representative of the group, not from the American perspective only - which it never ceased to be, since the other luxury brands were European - but especially on the global scale.

To that end, Lincoln is building up its momentum again. First, it started re-organising its models under a new naming logic, with the MKX crossover SUV, MKZ sedan and now, with the 2009 MKS model, due to reach showrooms in summer 2008.

Unveiled last months at the Greater Los Angeles International Auto Show, the 2009 Lincoln MKS is essentially designed to drive full-size luxury sedan customers... back to the venerable American brand.

With its body length of well over five meters, it doesn't take too long to see where the MKS is supposed to fit: at the top of the modern sedan line-up, somewhere in lieu of the previous Lincoln LS / Jaguar S Type duo, and in parallel with the other venerable Lincoln model, the Town Car, although on completely different grounds.

While the current Town Car is supposed to remain in production at Saint Thomas in Canada at least until 2010, the difference between it and the newcomer is radical. First, the body-on-frame structure of the rear-wheel drive Town Car is completely different from the unitary body, front-wheel or all-wheel drive MKS. The traditional Town Car 4.6-litre V8 engine (239 net horsepower) is also a different story from the 24-valve DOHC, 3.7-litre V6 engine developing in the MKS 270 horsepower (preliminary specifications).

Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan: back, driving shot.

Up to 60% of the MKS buyers are expected to be new to Lincoln.

The MKS is getting the technical platform of the large Volvo models, which is also serving in other sedans and crossovers at Ford (Taurus) and Mercury (Sable).

But if Lincoln's design identity can easily attract its traditional customers, the objective of the new model is to conquer back younger customers who migrated to Japanese or German brands, not to mention the rising luxury ambitions at Korean Hyundai.

Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan: front.

Tempting younger customers.

Unlike traditional luxury buyers who shop based on name and price tag alone, Ford expects Lincoln MKS customers to be under 50, many of them first-time luxury buyers, with the hope that a significant number will be migrating back from import brands. In fact, up to 60 percent of those buying the luxury sedan are expected to be new to Lincoln.

Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan: side, static shot.

Dynamic lines, with modern drive and engine technologies.

That's why the new Lincoln MKS aims to attract its younger buyers with new technologies in its powertrain, direct gasoline injection (about a year after the initial launch), front- or all-wheel drive as well as other features such as the voice-activated, hands-free in-car communications and navigation systems, the capless fuel filling, THX-certified audio, a new generation of keyless entry keypad and other features.

With prices starting from around US$38,000, the new MKS aims to package these technologies in a body that is no less than 5184mm long, 1928mm wide, with a 2868mm wheelbase.

Technology - Before it hits the market, Lincoln's MKS promises the technologies and features that include:

Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan: dashboard, steering wheel and console.

Uncluttered center stack with an information screen at the top.

  • SYNC, a hands-free, voice-activated in-car communication and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft. It integrates most Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and digital media players.

  • THX-certified audio system with 5.1 Surround Sound, SIRIUS Travel Link and Voice-Activated Navigation, which provides also real time traffic updates, movie listings, radar weather forecasts and even directions.

    Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan: B-pillar keypad using heat sensing technology with backlit numerals.

    Heat-sensing tech with LED backlit numerals in the B-pillar.

  • Lincoln’s new keypad, which uses heat-sensing technology to bring alive the keypad of LED backlit numerals embedded in the driver side B-pillar (opposite photo). The driver enters a five-digit code to unlock the vehicle.

  • Easy Fuel capless fuel-filler that helps reduce evaporative emissions. When fueling is completed, and the nozzle is removed, the system automatically seals shut (see following photo).

    Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan: Easy Fuel capless fuel filler.

    When fueling is completed, the system automatically seals shut.

  • Adaptive cruise control (ACC), which allows the driver to set the car’s speed and maintain that speed without using the accelerator pedal. The radar-based system also can monitor the vehicle in front (up to 600 feet, or 182 metres) and adjust the speed of the MKS to keep it a safe distance behind the lead vehicle. Four settings accommodate different driving styles.

    Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan: push button start, a first for Lincoln.

    Push button to start the engine, a first for Lincoln.

  • Intelligent access with push button start, which is a first for Lincoln and allows the driver to enter the car and start the engine without using a key. Drivers simply carry the special fob as they approach the vehicle, touch the keyless entry pad on the B-pillar, open the door and with the brake pedal engaged, start the engine by pushing a button (photo above).

    Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan: adaptive headlamps with high intensity discharge.

    Sensors monitor vehicle speed and steering wheel input engaging electric motors that pivot the left headlamp up to 5° and the right one up to 15° to increase the driver’s field of vision.

  • Adaptive headlamps with automatic high beams and standard high-jntensity discharge (HID) lamps, which enhance night time visibility by illuminating more of the road and reducing glare from oncoming traffic. Sensors monitor vehicle speed and steering wheel input engaging electric motors that pivot the left headlamp up to five degrees and the right headlamp up to 15 degrees to increase the driver’s field of vision. Plus, automatic high beams switch to high intensity when no other vehicles are detected.

  • Rain-sensing wipers, which are moisture-activated and programmable.

  • Forward sensing system, to indicate how close front objects are while parking.

  • Rearview camera system, mounted beneath the Lincoln Star on the deck lid and activated when the vehicle is shifted into reverse, giving the driver a view of what’s behind the vehicle. The system works in conjunction with the vehicle’s reverse sensing system and uses the navigation screen as a display.

    Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan: back driving shot.

    Rearview camera beneath the Lincoln Star on the deck lid.

Inside, the MKS’s flow-through center stack has an information screen integrated at the top. The large center console has a split, two-piece, padded upper section. Each section slides forward individually to form an armrest.

Ford says that the leather used for the seats is perfected with vegetable dyes and a chromium-free tanning process to create the softest leather ever used in a Lincoln. It is supplied by Bridge of Weir Leather, the company that provided hides for the Ford Model T and the iconic Continental Mark II, as well as the Concorde, the Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, the world's first 7-star hotel.

Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan: passenger seat view with console.

The center console has a split, two-piece, padded upper section. Each section slides forward individually to form an armrest.

Ebony wood used for some models is reclaimed from furniture makers and others sources, offering a rare wood with minimal environmental impact. Also offered is Olive Ash, a wood with a distinctive grain pattern formed when the roots of two trees grow together.

Engine - Coming to power questions, the Lincoln MKS will be first launched this summer with a Lincoln exclusive new 3.7-liter V-6 engine, derived from the 3.5-liter V-6 found in the Lincoln MKX (voted one of Ward’s 10-Best Engines for 2007).

Both engines share the same strong, die-cast aluminium block and lightweight four-valve heads. The 3.7-liter’s larger cylinders contribute to the increase in horsepower and torque, delivering respectively 270 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. (359 Nm) of torque. It is mated to a 6-speed SelectShift transmission, allowing both automatic or manual gear changes.

Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan: console and gearshift.

6-speed SelectShift, allowing automatic or manual gear change.

Ford says that less than a year after its launch, the new sedan will become the first vehicle to offer Ford’s new gasoline turbo direct injection engine technology, to provide the power and torque of a V-8 engine with the fuel efficiency of a V-6.

Drive - Lincoln MKS is a front-wheel drive car that can be optionally ordered with an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system for a more confident driving experience in all weather.

It uses a system of clutches to quickly distribute torque between front and rear wheels – up to 100 percent in either direction – to avoid wheel slip. The AWD system works with the standard Advance Trac stability control system to provide additional stability, transferring torque from side-to-side.

Suspension - An all-new independent rear suspension design features vertically mounted shock absorbers mounted at the outboard end of the suspension arms near the wheels, maximising suspension travel and allowing for more precise suspension tuning.

The MacPherson strut and rear-facing L-shaped lower control arm front suspension also was designed to maximize suspension travel, in harmony with the rear suspension. The new suspension design can accommodate larger, 20-inch wheels and tires without compromising ride comfort.

The MKS comes standard with 18-inch bright, machined, cast aluminium painted 10-spoke wheels. Nineteen-inch 10-spoke painted, polished or machined aluminium or a 20-inch, 11-spoke, highly polished, cast aluminium wheel are available options.

Safety - The Lincoln MKS package of active and passive safety features includes standard dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags, safety belt pretensioners, load-limiting retractors, driver seat positioning sensor, side air bags and Safety Canopy side curtain air bags with roll-fold technology, four-wheel ABS brakes, an anti-theft perimeter alarm, battery saver, belt-minder, illuminated entry and a tire pressure monitoring system.

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