A major mid-cycle remake brings a new sense of style and comprehensive chassis enhancements to the 2013 Lincoln MKS that debuted in Los Angeles. These sweeping upgrades, aimed at further separating this full-size luxury four-door from the Ford Taurus that also uses the same basic platform architecture, impart a far more dynamic character to both the appearance and the driving experience of the new MKS. They also herald the start of what Lincoln execs state will be an even more profound divisional differentiation program in the years ahead.
Highlighting the exterior revamp on the 2013 Lincoln MKS is a full makeover of everything from the A-pillars forward. According to Max Wolff, Lincoln Design director, the process focused on replacing some of its admittedly "deliberately provocative" details with more refined and elegant alternatives that lower and widen the car's perceived proportions.
The most prominent transition is visible in the new grille treatment that features thinner, closer-spaced elements that are more directly linked with the restyled HID headlamps that have become standard for 2013. While its rear-end tweaks are less pronounced, they do bring a redrawn fascia, LED taillamps, and a revised decklid that offers better trunk access. New 19-inch and 20-inch alloy wheels complete the 2013 exterior update.
A similar kind of focused upgrading took place inside the leather-lined passenger compartment of the 2013 Lincoln MKS, which offers improved isolation and an even more premium appearance. In addition to bringing a new instrument cluster and the latest versions of SYNC and MyLincoln Touch, its restyled dash features a new center stack that goes from a horizontal to a more vertical configuration with lines that sweep upwards and outwards. According to Lincoln, that particular cue will become a hallmark of its future interior themes. Other tasteful new-for-2013 touches include the availability of premium multi-contour power front seats and a heated steering wheel as well as revised wood and leather trim choices.
Arguably the most significant change in the 2013 Lincoln MKS is in its suspension design. Both front-drive and all-wheel drive versions will come with a new Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) system as standard equipment. This computerized real-time shock adjuster can reduce body roll in corners by up to 20 percent and trim understeer by 25 percent, making the new MKS more responsive and engaging to drive under virtually any conditions. The CCD system also is incorporated into the new Lincoln Drive Control system that integrates programming of the suspension, power steering, engine and transmission into driver-selectable Normal, Sport or Comfort settings.
The steering and brakes received their own significant upgrade for 2013. A quicker ratio and new more-efficient electric power assist improves steering response by up to 25 percent while larger and more capable anti-lock brakes offer better pedal feel and greater fade resistance in addition to shorter stopping distances. The already comprehensive suite of safety features on the MKS grows by one for 2013 with the availability of a new Lane Keeping System with Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid, all aimed at helping the driver avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Two V6 engines are available for the 2013 Lincoln MKS. The naturally aspirated 3.7-liter remains standard in both front- and all-wheel-drive models, although the addition of twin-independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) raises its output from 273 to 300 horsepower and bumps torque from 270 to 275 lb-ft while adding a significant three mpg to its highway fuel economy rating. That latter gain is abetted by new active grille shutters that help trim aero drag on the new MKS by six percent. Offered only in conjunction with AWD, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that makes 355 horses and 350 lb-ft of twist carries over unchanged. Both engines are backed by a dedicated version of the six-speed SelectShift automatic with steering-wheel mounted paddles.
The 2013 Lincoln MKS will go on sale in the spring.