The 2010 Lincoln MKS: Land of Lincoln, Lincoln?

2010 Lincoln MKS 4-door Sedan 3.7L AWD Door Controls

Ford's new range topper is the newly minted MKS.  It bumps the rear-drive Town Car (a redecorated Ford Crown Victoria) off the brand's pedestal.  Now a front-drive sedan with a chrome-plastic, wing-faced grille is Lincolns creme. This machine's metal comes from the Chicago's Ford Taurus factory and shares some Taurus mechanical bits, which also underpin the Volvo S80.   Lincoln's premiere auto has the latest electrical goodies (automatic high beams);  a healthy baritone-blast 275-hp, V6 engine; a lazy six-speed automatic transmission with manumatic feature and optional all wheel drive.

After a week motoring in the AWD MKS, its evident that Ford's family car is short on finesse.  Take its keyless entry system.  Please!  The fob's gun-sight logo with bright accent and raised ridge makes simple tasks like remote locking or unlocking doors difficult.  And naked lamps illuminate foot wells where you see exposed wiring and ill-fitted panels. 

A refined car's features should delight rather than blight.  You can find other very appealing luxury sedans, even everyday midsize ones that list for less than the  tricked-out Lincoln's $47,000 ($40,000 base).  And if you pine for sports-car reflexes, then keep it Teutonic; the MKS chassis, which rides on optional 19-inch tires, is capable; not adroit.  Ford promises a hotrod 340-hp turbo-charged MKS.

As previously noted, this Lincoln retails for as much as an Audi A6 Quattro (considered an example of unassailable aesthetics), but its floppy trunk carpeting is shamefully chintzy.  Acres of plastic chrome flank the dashboard's wood trim. Linda Fiorentino, who portrayed a femme fatale with a penchant for Town Cars in the Last Seduction would appreciate my tester's dark sumptuous leather confines but rear legroom is too limited for her shapely gams and she'd never slip her loot bag into the MKS's tiny trunk opening.  And she'd have to duck and cover due to skimpy door openings and sunroof hardware. 

Aesthetically challenged interior parts include pillar covers decorated in rare sticky fly paper.  (Ford's Barbara Whalen says they've fixed this flub.)  Not tacky, however, is the car's navigation/entertainment system, which strangley depicts a city skyline as you're headed away from downtown. Unlike the Audi A6, Ford's Lincoln has strayed from mechanical majesty and elegance that its grille supposedly evokes.  There's poise behind its prow; it comes up short, though, as a chariot of desire.

EPA estimates:  16 city mpg and 23 highway.  Obtained 19 mpg overall

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