Opulent design, awesome power, responsive handling — the traditional American luxury car is now as exotic as the German rivals. Alvin Thomas makes his point: we should take Lincoln seriously
I have a bone to pick with you all. It’s about how we don’t respect the Lincolns of today. They were once considered a byword for luxury. A quick search of the ‘Lincoln’ tag on the internet will still land you in some website run by fanboys and girls who cannot get enough of their late 1970s Versailles or limited-edition early 1940s Continentals.
And then you have those who worship the Town Car – a crowd favourite in car chases in Hollywood flicks of old.
But the charm has died down since – and what we’re left with are a range of sedans and SUVs longing for attention…until now.
Yes, it’s about time we take Lincoln seriously.
And the MKZ is the embodiment of Lincoln’s strategy as they move forward in time.
This, folks, isn’t your average Town Car but rather a full-fledged attempt to dethrone the BMW 540i and the Mercedes-Benz E400 – both of which are pricier than a well-specced MKZ.
For its price, you get a lot for your buck too. Let’s start with the design: The MKZ retains its figure from 2017. So, you still get the new front-fascia complete with a hunky new chrome grille and Continental-esque edgy front headlamps.
The rear, with its thin strip LED tail lamps, remains unchanged but still manages to look as cool as ever. Don’t be surprised if you find passersby clicking pictures of your car or posing with your car.
Oddly, Lincoln will not chuck in the gorgeous panoramic sunroof – that covered the whole roof – from its previous iteration. It would definitely have upped the stakes a bit more. I don’t suppose there’s anything more enticing than driving around in a convertible sports sedan. So, this time around, you’ll have to make do with a small sunroof.
Stepping inside the car will reveal a neatly laid-out cabin. Everything is where you’d expect it to be – except for the gear shifter. For example, the centre console houses the a/c and audio controls, and the gorgeous 10.1-inch capacitive LCD touchscreen.
All the knobs are finished in chrome; it looks and feels upscale.
As is the case with all Lincoln products of today, there’s no gear knob to shift gears. That’s too old school for the boffins at Lincoln. Instead, you get buttons marked –“P”, “R”, “N”, “D” and “S” – on the dashboard. This can come across as a bit perplexing initially but it shouldn’t take much time for you to settle in. My only word of advice would be to be aware that the engine “Start/Stop” button resides on top of the “P” (Park) button.
The SYNC3 system is fabulous – and I was (finally) able to enjoy using the preinstalled maps which, by the way, comes with three-dimensional monuments to help you. It’s galaxies apart from its previous versions, and the more I used it, the more I liked it.
There’s a myriad of leather inside the MKZ: You’ll find it on the seats, the doors, steering wheel and even on lower portions of the cabin. Most of the centre console, however, is made of high-quality plastic, but it is embossed to give it a metallic effect.
The seats provide excellent shoulder and thigh bolstering, but are still typically Lincoln and are comfortable to ride in. They’re also heated and ventilated, to help envelop you in utmost luxury.
Space inside the cabin isn’t class-leading but there is enough space for four adults – or five if you can convince a fifth to cram his/her legs away from the exhaust tunnel.
Powering the sedan is a 3.0-litre turbocharged ‘Ecoboost’ V6 engine that pumps out a GSO-rated (Gulf Standard Organisation) 365hp and 570Nm of torque. It’s a low-revving engine that – along with the twin turbochargers – doles out plenty of low-end torque and enough grunt to hit the 100kph mark from a standstill in about six seconds, without any wheel spinning action.
As I had mentioned before in a review: power solves everything. And it didn’t take me long to fall completely in love with the MKZ.
A quick push of the throttle revealed a bounty of torque that thrusts the car forward.
It could definitely do with Ford’s new 10-speed gearbox, but the 6-speed automatic fitted in my test Lincoln was potent enough to slam me far into the seat
This was a result of the immense grip generated by the intelligent all-wheel drive system that is coupled with the rear-axle torque-vectoring.
Thanks to this, the car sticks to its original line even when pushed to its cornering limits.
The ride is very smooth and a bit floaty at times but the suspension adapts quite well.
You could come across a tiny bit of understeer depending on the type of road surface and the grip from the tyres. But the torque-vectoring system rectifies it in a jiffy to bring your car back into the corner.
Still, during normal driving, the gears are kept high to aid fuel economy. But, kick downs are quick and there’s no jerking from the clutch when it couples with the gears when crawling.
There’s a manual mode for those looking for an engaging drive, though it’s not as responsive to the user’s inputs as you’d expect, especially during downshifts. Automatic mode is where the MKZ belongs.
The steering is light, as is the norm with most Ford and Lincoln products, but it’s still well-weighted during high-speed driving.
The brakes, on the other hand, are strong and linear in force distribution.
This wasn’t my first time driving an MKZ, and for some reason, it’s one of those American cars that warrants to be driven more than once to be completely acquainted with. Make no mistake: It’s a memorable car to drive.
But no matter what I say, there’s no other way to experience the MKZ than to drive it. It will almost certainly bowl you over every time you get behind the wheel. It’s a car with a strong character – and that’s what makes this a valuable purchase when compared to some of its overly mechanical competitors from Germany and even Japan.