The 2013 Lincoln MKS is the company's flagship sedan, cloaked in the new face of Lincoln: a double-winged grille with vertical crossbars. While Cadillac has taken a decidedly BMW-like approach to reinventing itself, Lincoln has chosen to equate technology with luxury. And in many ways it succeeds, offering several of the latest innovations.
But with so much modern technology available on less expensive cars, some shoppers may be left wondering why they should pay so much to get high-end equipment in a Lincoln. That's especially true when you consider the MKS's styling, which is largely generic aside from the brand's distinctive grille. In other words, the MKS has trouble standing out -- an area in which so many of its rivals excel.
What's New for 2013
The 2013 MKS is updated with revised styling inside and out. In addition to new wheels and a revised version of Lincoln's grille, the MKS also adds more than 30 horsepower to its standard 3.7-liter V6. Several features, including an advanced Continuously Controlled Damping suspension system, are now standard.
What We Like
Roomy interior; powerful standard 3.7-liter V6 engine and optional EcoBoost V6; available all-wheel drive offers all-weather security
What We Don't
Generic styling doesn't stand out from competitors; high price, especially compared to Lincoln's more distinctive MKZ
The MKS offers two engines. All front-wheel-drive models come with a 304-hp 3.7-liter V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic. That engine and transmission combination returns 18 miles per gallon city/27 mpg hwy.
Base-level all-wheel-drive MKS models use the same engine. But since all-wheel drive adds weight and complexity, fuel economy dips slightly to 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.
The final engine is an available 365-hp EcoBoost V6. That's the same engine that powers the muscular Ford Explorer Sport, as well as many of Ford's F-150 pickups. It's only available on all-wheel-drive MKS models, and it returns 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.
Options & Standard Features
The Lincoln MKS is available in one trim level only, though drivers must choose between front- and all-wheel drive. Standard features on all models include a remote vehicle starter, heated and cooled front seats, the brand's MyLincoln Touch system with an 8-inch touchscreen and Ford's SYNC infotainment system. Also standard is dual-zone automatic climate control, SiriusXM satellite radio, a remote vehicle starter and Lincoln's SecuriCode exterior keypad.
The MKS also boasts a long list of options. Many are available in packages, such as a blind spot alert system, a navigation system with voice recognition, a rearview camera, a heated steering wheel, a hands-free parallel parking system and heated rear seats. Standalone options that can be ordered separately include adaptive cruise control, a power sunroof and 20-in alloy wheels to replace standard 19-in ones.
The MKS has an array of standard safety measures, including front and front side-impact airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags. At the wheels, standard ABS is joined by electronic traction control and electronic stability control. In an accident, the SOS Post Crash Alert System will honk the horn and flash the hazard lights.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2013 Lincoln MKS high marks in all of its crash tests and named it a Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also awarded the 2013 MKS high marks, giving it a 5-star overall score in its latest crash tests.
Behind the Wheel
Compared with the Town Car it replaces, the MKS is a far better driver's car. The ride is still smooth and the cabin devoid of noise, but where the old Town Car would float and wander about the freeway, the MKS stays firmly planted, handling curves with ease and offering the driver a good sense of the road via the variable-rate power steering.
The all-wheel-drive version sticks to the road better than its front-wheel-drive counterpart and is especially desirable with the marvelous EcoBoost V6. Where the standard 3.7-liter V6 provides good acceleration and passing power, it's the turbocharged rush of the EcoBoost that makes the MKS feel like the real deal. The engine's low-end torque isn't quite as strong as with the Hemi-powered Chrysler 300, but you won't find yourself bored with the acceleration, either. And when mashing the throttle of a big V8 will likely earn you about 15 mpg if you're lucky, the EcoBoost consistently delivers fuel economy in the low to mid 20s, even with the gas pedal regularly pinned to the floor.
Other Cars to Consider
Audi A6 -- The A6 is a much more refined and substantial luxury car, and its resale value far exceeds that of the MKS. But its base engine is a turbocharged 4-cylinder versus the MKS's V6, and it can get pricey when you add options.
Cadillac CTS -- The CTS is a far better performer, especially in ride and handling. But the CTS's sporty suspension also creates a firmer ride, and its rear seat is not as spacious as the MKS.
Hyundai Equus -- A comparably equipped Equus costs about $10,000 more than the MKS, but it offers a V8 engine, more high-end features such as a massaging extendable rear seat and console refrigerator, more interior room and a better warranty.
If you are planning to drop $50,000 on a car, there are better choices in the luxury-car field. If you have your heart set on the MKS, go with the all-wheel-drive and EcoBoost version, loaded with every option, as it's a high-tech luxury car with an exciting engine. Just be prepared to blend in.