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#10

in 2011 Luxury Large Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $20,792 - $23,916
Original MSRP: $41,500 - $48,390
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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2011 Lincoln MKS Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

While the 2011 Lincoln MKS offers performance that is light years away from the now-defunct Lincoln Town Car, it’s still not quite on par with many large luxury cars that emphasize performance. Compared to competition such as the BMW 5-series and Infiniti M, handling on the MKS is merely adequate. And while much of the competition is rear-wheel drive, the front-wheel drive platform of the MKS feels a bit less responsive. Opting for an all-wheel drive model improves handling somewhat, but also negatively affects acceleration.

  • "Handling is competent, but neither athletic nor fun. MKS is predictable and composed in most driving situations. All-wheel drive offers improved grip." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The EcoBoost engine is much more satisfying engine choice, but regardless of which powerplant is selected, handling is a bit of a disappointment. On curvy roads, the suspension feels dull and overly soft. Normally, this softness would translate to a cushiony ride quality, but oddly enough, the MKS still feels rather firm." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Lincoln MKS is available in two distinct trim levels which each carry different engines – base and EcoBoost. The base MKS comes with a 3.7-liter, 273 horsepower V6. Front-wheel drive comes standard, though optional all-wheel drive can be had for about $2,000. Opt for the MKS EcoBoost and power improves as a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 puts 355 horsepower to the ground through standard all-wheel drive. Reviewers like the extra power and grip of the MKS EcoBoost, which costs almost $7,000 more than the base MKS.

Both base and EcoBoost models feature a six-speed transmission with shift paddles, although some reviewers do note that the shift paddles have a clunky feel, and are unusable unless the car is in manual mode.

According to the EPA, the front-wheel drive MKS nets 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway with the base 3.7-liter V6. Check the all-wheel drive option and fuel averages 17/25 mpg city/highway can be expected. Surprisingly, even with its greater horsepower, the all-wheel drive MKS EcoBoost nets 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

  • "Base models are adequately peppy from a stop and have decent reserves for highway passing. Large throttle inputs are required to extract the most from the engine. The EcoBoost engine provides impressive thrust, with ample reserves for passing." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Power is what you expect from Lincolns and the twin-turbo V-6 delivers it in abundance through a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic. I never felt caught out in passing maneuvers and the car easily hauled its 4276-lb. weight along at 70 mph on the freeway without breaking a sweat." -- Road and Track
  • "Why pay extra for the EcoBoost engine? The high-tech, 3.5-liter, 355-hp V6 features twin turbos and direct fuel injection and makes the MKS both quicker and more fuel efficient. It genuinely lives up to Lincoln's sales pitch that it offers V8 power with V6 fuel economy. The standard engine in the MKS, a 3.7-liter, 273-horsepower V6, simply isn't competitive with the latest engines out of Germany and Japan." -- BusinessWeek
  • "Power from its 3.7-liter V6 is strong, smooth and responsive, and its cabin is unusually quiet and serene at any reasonable speed." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "A six-speed automatic is the only transmission choice, but it does have a manual mode. Put the stick into M, and the steering wheel-mounted paddles become active. We amused ourselves looking at which gear produced which engine speed while traveling at freeway speeds, and lamented the fact that the paddles don't do anything in normal drive mode. In some situations, you want to be able to quickly shift down to get some power, without first having to move the stick." -- CNET 

Handling and Braking

With a ride tuned for comfort rather than responsive handling, the Lincoln MKS lacks the agility of many luxury large cars. When equipped with the EcoBoost V6 the MKS has ample power, but its large turning radius and dull suspension receive criticism from the automotive press.

  • "The steering is tuned for comfortable cruising, rather than sporty response. Despite additional power assist at low speeds, MKS suffers from a large turning radius, which complicates close-quarters maneuvering. There is little body lean in turns, and the brakes feel smooth and strong." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The EcoBoost engine is much more satisfying engine choice, but regardless of which powerplant is selected, handling is a bit of a disappointment. On curvy roads, the suspension feels dull and overly soft. Normally, this softness would translate to a cushiony ride quality, but oddly enough, the MKS still feels rather firm. In the end, the 2011 Lincoln MKS drives like a big sedan without the luxurious ride quality you'd expect." -- Edmunds 
  • "The MKS also can't match the tight feel and taut handling of its German and Japanese rivals. The EcoBoost MKS has an upgraded suspension and electric power steering, but it still only borders on being sporty. The suspension is relatively stiff without being harsh but feels squishy during hard cornering." -- BusinessWeek 
  • "The power rack-and-pinion steering is precise and responsive, the brakes are powerful and secure, and the car feels surprisingly agile for its size." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "At ridiculously fast speeds the handling felt a little wobbly." -- CNET

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