THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: World-class power with excellent ride and handling response coupled to a very sumptuous interior.
- What’s Worst: Oddly bundled and expensive options.
- What’s Interesting: Attractive pricing for a mid-size luxury sedan that gives the Germans something to think about.
Just a few years ago, Lincoln wasn’t one of those sedans you immediately thought of when considering a mid-size luxury purchase.
Replacing the old LS, the new MKZ is one of the vastly made over “Mark” Lincolns, each with its own personality.
Tested here is the 2017 MKZ mid-size luxury sedan that, with just three trim levels, covers a lot of ground when it comes to attracting attention from potential buyers.
The “main” model is the MKZ with either 2.0-litre single turbo inline four-cylinder with 245 hp and 275 lb/ft of torque or the $4,500 optional twin turbo direct injection 3.0-litre V6 with 400 hp and 400 lb/ft of torque (93 octane fuel). Both cars have standard Lincoln Intelligent all-wheel-drive and a six-speed automatic transmission with unique push-button gear select running vertically down the left side of the centre stack.
The other MKZ is the Hybrid, which we’ll save to write about on another day. It is front-wheel-drive with an electronic CVT transmission and uses the same Atkinson Cycle 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder gasoline engine and permanent magnet electric motor drivetrain with a combined 188 hp, the same as in other Ford hybrids such as the mid-size Fusion.
As good as the 2.0-litre turbo is, the 3.0-litre is the engine you want.
With 400 hp and 400 lb/ft of torque, Lincoln’s twin turbo more than rivals the BMW 3.0-litre TwinPower with 335 hp and 332 lb/ft or the Mercedes-Benz BiTurbo 3.0-litre at 329 hp and 354 lb/ft of torque.
Fuel rating for the 3.0-litre is 14.0/9.2/11.8L/100 km city/highway/combined and Lincoln says you can tow up to 1,000 lb when properly equipped.
The AWD system runs normally in front-drive mode, but monitors road conditions, wheel speed, throttle position and steering angle and can react in as little as 50 milliseconds and route torque to the wheels with the most traction.
Helping maintain optimal cornering performance is Dynamic Torque Vectoring that sends up to 70 per cent of the power to the rear wheels. Here, the rear axle’s pair of electronic clutches then divert that torque and send up to 100 per cent to either wheel.
The driver can also select from three driving modes with Lincoln Drive Control – Comfort, Normal and Sport. It combines engine, transmission, body and chassis systems to provide the optimum driving experience on any road and at any speed with a suite of sensors to constantly monitor the vehicle’s suspension motion, body movement, steering and braking.
Also Read: The Cadillac of full-size sedans
I drove the 2.0-litre version of the MKZ earlier this year before the 3.0-litre was available and found it very pleasant with sharp road manners and it was beautifully turned out, especially on the inside with its seats in Bridge of Weir leather from Scotland that is brand mark, and imperfection, free.
Tested here is the top line Reserve trim, which, among other things, comes with the 20-speaker Revel Ultima Audio System with three speakers built into each of the back doors. The sound system is part of the $5,500 Luxury Package that also includes LED adaptive headlights.
Another stand-up, and pricy, option on the Reserve is $3,450 for the panoramic power roof.
But, as noted above, the one option worth having is the V6 and what a punchy unit it is.
On the highway, the MKZ V6 just purrs along, and thanks to extensive sound deadening, almost silently.
Pull off on a challenging road and the driver aids on the MKZ aren’t so much felt but sensed, as the torque vectoring works its way around the wheels in concert with the AWD.
The six-speed automatic comes with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, which I never really use except in this one case.
On a deserted piece of country back road I know, I gave the 3.0-litre its head and worked the paddles to see if the shifts under load would be jerky/abrupt or seamless — the latter was the case.
Equipped with V6 and drivetrain combination, the MKZ is as good or better than a lot of offshore mid-size luxury sports sedans.
And despite how competent it can be when pushed, the MKZ is actually one of the biggest, especially in terms of passenger volume, sedans in the mid-size luxury segment.
It’s really a full-size sedan, despite how it has been categorized.
Starting at $46,300, the Reserve tested here, with just about every option in the Lincoln ordering guide, topped out at $67,850 including $1,900 shipping.
If that sounds a like lot, it is actually about $2,000 less than the base starting price of two of its major German mid-size luxury competitors.
There is no doubt Lincoln is on the road to raising its profile to take its place with other premium luxury sedans with the 2017 MKZ leading the way.
2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve AWD
BODY STYLE: Mid-size premium sedan.
DRIVE METHOD: MKZ, front-engine, all-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 3.0-litre direct injection twin turbo V6 (400 hp, 400 lb/ft) with six-speed automatic transmission.
FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium recommended) 3.0-litre, 14.0/9.2/11.8L/100 km city/highway/combined
TOW RATING: 1,000 lb properly equipped
CARGO CAPACITY: MKZ 436 litres (15.4 cu ft)
PRICE: $46,300, as tested $67,850 including $1,900 shipping fee
WEB SITE: www.lincolncanada.com