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LAIAS 2011 Live: Updated Lincoln MKS and MKT
Lincoln's "first steps" have us longing for more
FordInsideNews.com
by: Tony Pimpo
November 18th, 2011


Save for the MKT, which I've long thought is an impressive product, there really isn't anything in the Lincoln brand stable that appeals to me. Look at Audi, BMW, Cadillac, or Mercedes-Benz and that isn't the case. Lincoln has failed to produce a compelling model to drive any real volume. As they are both in key market segments, the MKS and MKT were supposed to boost sales. They failed to do that, and with the MKZ on its way Lincoln wants to unify the lineup and give them a reworking it hopes will turn their fortunes around.

Lincoln says everything from the A-pillar forward on MKS is new, making it more of a significant update than the revised MKT grille. In person, both the MKS and MKT look better than in press photography.

The split wing grille remains, but execution is far better in this instance. The MKS gets a new hood that flows right into the middle of the grille. Its a unique design element that reminds us kind of like a bird beak. We'll let you decide if that is a good thing….

Anyhow, the details are more elegant than before. While it used to look thrown in, the split wing grille now is fully integrated with the front end design. The top chrome edge of the grille flows right over the top of the headlights, unlike before. And, the side character line is joins up with the edge of the headlights, thanks to the reworked hood. These are small details that are noticeable in person. These are small details that are noticeable in person. In my opinion they did what they could, but it doesn't change the dynamic in terms of overall attractiveness; the body design of the MKS has never done much for me. Lincolns in the future (thinking about you MKZ…) are going to have to be more compelling and dynamic to impress.

The ambiance in the MKS interior is improved thanks to the new center stack. The cheap black plastic and thrown in switchgear of the current car really put a damper on the luxury experience of the whole interior. For cars that have never been big sellers, ironing out the edges isn't enough though. Neither the MKS or MKT has set the charts alight, and we're here to tell you this update probably isn't going to change that. At this point, Lincoln needs more than tweaking around the edges, it needs a design renaissance. Cadillac has done it; as they say now, they know what they are - they aren't reinventing every few years. Lincoln needs that kind of focus, it needs to know exactly what it wants to be.

At the press conference, Derek Kuzak threw out some encouraging numbers like brand consideration up by 20% versus 2008 and sales in the Los Angeles market up by 54%. Despite this though, overall Lincoln sales have continued to slide. Lincoln is in trouble - and no one really has admitted it.

Lincoln's slide stands in stark contrast to Ford's increasing fortunes. Now that the core Ford brand is thriving, the company is pouring money into Lincoln. The good news is that Ford seems to have the wherewithal and determination to make Lincoln succeed. Lincoln will be getting its own design team, dedicated design center and independent operations from the Ford brand.

The updated Lincolns were said to be the first fruits of the increased effort. If this is it, I'm disappointed. However, executives at the show stressed it was just a "first step." The message: we get it guys, and this isn't all we have to offer. In reality, the upcoming MKZ is going to be the first real test of whether Lincoln has what it takes. We really view it is a make-or-break product for Lincoln. A thinly-disguised concept preview of the MKZ is headed for Detroit in January, while the production car is set to launch at the New York show in April.













 

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I'm very happy with the updated MKS. Maybe it's just me but I never had an issue with the MKS' design. What made and makes this car special - especially after the update - are its features. So far, everybody who had an issue with this car failed to answer my question: What current car delivers more performance, quality and features for the same $$ or less. Audi? BMW? Mercedes?

If people are willing to pay $20K more for a European car with similar performance/features - I don't care. In fact, I've been there before.
 

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The updated Lincolns were said to be the first fruits of the increased effort. If this is it, I'm disappointed.
Well, the MKT was simply doomed the day it came out. Even I as a "feature-fanatic" couldn't convince myself that it was an acceptable vehicle - appearance wise. So I'm not disappointed because the MKT simply couldn't be saved - any other expectation would have been wishful thinking.

The MKS, however, is a different story. Since you are disappointed about the new version as well, my I ask you what you expected? A different appearance, more features, bang for the buck? What else should a car for $56K MSRP deliver?
I often hear that people are "disappointed" but unfortunately, 9 out of 10 people fail to actually explain what they mean.

I was fully aware that this was a mid-facelift and Lincoln did an awesome job. They added a ton of features - expensive features - without increasing the price. If people who are shopping in this price-category don't have this car at least on their list to look at, they are plain ignorant and failed to do their homework.
 

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I find the MKS interior to be a substantial improvement over the current one. The MKT interior is only a slight improvement, but it's interior was not that bad to begin with. The MKS interior was bad.

I am so horribly mixed on the new front clip. I can't decide if it is a good direction for the brand or not. In fact, I can't even settle on whether or not it is an improvement over the current front clips! At this point I could be swayed either way.
 

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I am so horribly mixed on the new front clip. I can't decide if it is a good direction for the brand or not. In fact, I can't even settle on whether or not it is an improvement over the current front clips! At this point I could be swayed either way.
When I discovered that the perfect looking car could only be designed by myself...:D....I decided to focus on features and the interior - unless I really couldn't live with the exterior. There are only a few cars out there where the appearance is simply too much to swallow - unfortunately, the MKT is one of them. Otherwise, it would be a great vehicle.

In the past, I simply ran to BMW and spent a ton of money on a car without asking myself if I was doing the right thing. Now, I'm virtually comparing any brand there is - and the MKS is currently my #1 in this segment. It's certainly not an S-Class or a 7-series or Audi A8 - but it also doesn't cost that much. BTW, a fully loaded Audi A6 with seats partially made of vinyl and 45HP less has an MSRP of $70K - so go figure..

PS. Simply ignore front clip. After all, you won't be able to see it while driving...;)
 

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let's see if I can jump in without going overboard on a styling rant
Well, the MKT was simply doomed the day it came out. Even I as a "feature-fanatic" couldn't convince myself that it was an acceptable vehicle - appearance wise. So I'm not disappointed because the MKT simply couldn't be saved...

The MKS, however, is a different story. Since you are disappointed about the new version as well, my I ask you what you expected? A different appearance, more features, bang for the buck? What else should a car for $56K MSRP deliver?
I often here that people are "disappointed" but unfortunately, 9 out of 10 people fail to actually explain what they mean...
re: the MKT
I'm not a med-lg-Cuv guy, can't even imagine ever needing a vehicle bigger than C-segment but
even tho it's NearNothing like the concept, which I think is fabulously gorgeous from pix;
I find it above-avg looking compared to any other mid-to-large Cuv

for the MKS
features & systems are GREAT.
styling, I didn't expect so much to change BUT would have liked
Either different things changed
- a major gripe are the extensions of the A-pillars running to the HL's, with new hood & fenders they could have been shaved off while at it (chop)
OR had less done to the exterior
- maybe only grille-inserts and tail lights
esp. if what we're seeing doesn't DIRECTLY relate to the "real new style"
& considering the extremely mixed reactions so far
 

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I think the new MKS front-end is gorgeous, but I'm not as fond on what they've done to the rear. Honestly, I just don't understand the ire raised by this update, I'm pretty convinced that most of it is stilted unfairly because of the extreme disdain the automotive community has for Lincoln and what it has historically stood for. Owners and shoppers don't have such a prejudiced or irrational view of things.
 

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As nice as these cars look, unless I see a 7'ft tall person standing beside these vehicles, the height and mass is just too much to take in. The MK T can get away with
this hugeness as it is a truck like vehicle, but IMO this is where the MK S looses its appeal.

Both vehicles shown IMO do not lack the appearance of luxury vehicles, inside and out attention to detail is there, features are there,
but to me the MK S is just too tall and this tallness ruins my expectation that this car would be nice to navigate on the roads.

The interior in both vehicles is certainly what I would consider American heritage/culture, so that should be a plus for those in the market that want that
uniqueness.
 

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The MKS is an improvement. It does look a little better and from some angles in the pics it actually looks good... not great mind you but good. I still don't like the MKT. It does have some style and is "different" but I still think the front is a total mess. I hate the new ffront airdam area. Ford/Lincoln never could design a good front airdam on most of its cars and trucks. I agree 100% with the artice when it says that Lincoln needs a design renaissance. Styling band-aids are'nt gonna cut it. It'll kill them. They need to find their niche. They need to create a new Lincoln. Maybe even... dare I say it.... change their name from Lincoln to something else to get attention? Just an idea. They need to devote a lot of time, money and effort into designing new products that customers will actually want. They need to get rid of internal politics and they MUST get rid of the old ways of thinking. They need all new ideas for styling. I hope they can do it. Their jobs are counting on it.
 

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I reallllllllly disagree with this commentary. It's like I'm reading Jalopnik or Autoblog. Yes, we all were expecting more from these updates, but after seeing the cars in better photos and getting more details, I think that Max Wolff did a great job fixing what was wrong with the MKS. Yes, it's still not exactly all the way there, but it is a start. I will say the MKT was a bit more disappointing, but like I've said before: I didn't have a problem with the MKT at all, other than I can't afford one!

If people want Lincoln to be a BMW/Mercedes/Audi killer, the MKS was never supposed to be the car for that. The LS was, and was a great car, but who knows what happened with that? I have lots of wishes for Lincoln too. I wish they would go back to naming their cars names -- Cadillac too! I wish that they would better convey to the public that the split wing grille is meant to echo the stunning 1940's Continentals. There are other minor things too, but I think that Lincoln is getting back on the right track. There will always be nay-sayers who want Lincoln and Cadillac to make copies of BMW/Mercedes, but I like that the American luxury cars have a feeling of their own. I am a huge fan of big FWD cars, so maybe I'm biased in that I like those cars and don't have much desire for RWD cars, but I know that is what people want to see.

Lincoln will get there. The mid to late 2000s were tough, from the awful refresh of the LS to the Mark LT (which I liked a lot even though many people did not, I understand why it had to become the Platinum F150), but I think that if the rest of Ford's renaissance is any indication, Lincoln will be great in a few years. I maintain that I don't care if they don't sell a ton, just enough to make a good profit -- that would be great. I can appreciate having something different than everyone else. I was just in Los Angeles where everyone has a BMW, what's the fun in that?
 

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"I think the new MKS front-end is gorgeous, but I'm not as fond on what they've done to the rear. Honestly, I just don't understand the ire raised by this update, I'm pretty convinced that most of it is stilted unfairly because of the extreme disdain the automotive community has for Lincoln and what it has historically stood for. Owners and shoppers don't have such a prejudiced or irrational view of things."

AGREE completely! Couldn't have said it better myself. Although, I do like the rear better than before.
 

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Well the pics you took look a lot better than the press pics.

Which brings up a remark...Ford, fire whoever does your press photos because they simply suck.
I SO agree with you! I looked at the press pics and was a little disappointed, but then, saw some videos and personal pics and thought wow, what a difference those made to the cars! I also disagree with the person that wrote this post. I think that they've done a really good job with the feature content especially with Lincoln making the Adaptive Suspension System STANDARD. What other company does that? Like Derrick Kuzac and Max Wolff said, it's only the beginning of what Lincoln has in store for their vehicles. Plus Max Wolff didn't have anything to do with the designs on these. They were already approved by the time he was hired. Someone on Facebook asked an employee of Lincoln that question and she confirmed this statement. There are somethings I would've done a little different (which I've stated in another post on FIN) but, overall I like what they've accomplished, especially for a MCE! ;-)
 

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I reallllllllly disagree with this commentary. It's like I'm reading Jalopnik or Autoblog. Yes, we all were expecting more from these updates, but after seeing the cars in better photos and getting more details, I think that Max Wolff did a great job fixing what was wrong with the MKS. Yes, it's still not exactly all the way there, but it is a start. I will say the MKT was a bit more disappointing, but like I've said before: I didn't have a problem with the MKT at all, other than I can't afford one!

If people want Lincoln to be a BMW/Mercedes/Audi killer, the MKS was never supposed to be the car for that. The LS was, and was a great car, but who knows what happened with that? I have lots of wishes for Lincoln too. I wish they would go back to naming their cars names -- Cadillac too! I wish that they would better convey to the public that the split wing grille is meant to echo the stunning 1940's Continentals. There are other minor things too, but I think that Lincoln is getting back on the right track. There will always be nay-sayers who want Lincoln and Cadillac to make copies of BMW/Mercedes, but I like that the American luxury cars have a feeling of their own. I am a huge fan of big FWD cars, so maybe I'm biased in that I like those cars and don't have much desire for RWD cars, but I know that is what people want to see.

Lincoln will get there. The mid to late 2000s were tough, from the awful refresh of the LS to the Mark LT (which I liked a lot even though many people did not, I understand why it had to become the Platinum F150), but I think that if the rest of Ford's renaissance is any indication, Lincoln will be great in a few years. I maintain that I don't care if they don't sell a ton, just enough to make a good profit -- that would be great. I can appreciate having something different than everyone else. I was just in Los Angeles where everyone has a BMW, what's the fun in that?
Great post... I totally agree with what you've written! A couple of comments though: Max Wolff had nothing to do with these refreshes. Lincoln IS bringing back some names (Aviator).
 

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I'm very happy with the updated MKS. Maybe it's just me but I never had an issue with the MKS' design. What made and makes this car special - especially after the update - are its features. So far, everybody who had an issue with this car failed to answer my question: What current car delivers more performance, quality and features for the same $$ or less. Audi? BMW? Mercedes?

If people are willing to pay $20K more for a European car with similar performance/features - I don't care. In fact, I've been there before.
I agree. Thanks for the post! :)
 

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I still don't like the MKT. It does have some style and is "different" but I still think the front is a total mess.
I felt that the MKT's styling problem was more on the rear end.

They should have at least fixed the rear of the MKT

Instead of the rear liftgate's sheetmetal sloping into the bumper, i'd prefer if they made it more vertical like on the MKX.


PS: It looks like a minor bump to the MKT's rear bumper will damage the lower part of the liftgate.
 

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Okay, finally these cars are what they were capable of being all along. The interiors are now more or less what a luxury car interior should be, and the exteriors are at least now truly coherent. The edge the MKS has on the XTS, if there is one at all, though, is something that has been there all along. That would be the EcoBoost V6. Otherwise...
 

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The edge the MKS has on the XTS, if there is one at all, though, is something that has been there all along. That would be the EcoBoost V6. Otherwise...
I can't judge the complete "package" of the XTS (yet) because I still don't know all the features this car is going to have. The 300HP-engine for its first MY is indeed not competitive but to my knowledge, there will be a 400HP+ V6 TT from MY2014 on.
However, I'm having my doubts that Cadillac is going to be able to offer this engine and all other features on this car for $55K or less - and $55K is the MSRP of a fully loaded 2013 MKS EcoBoost.

If the Cadillac stays below $60K with its stronger engine, it is a serious contender. If it costs $65K or more, it will have serious issues due to the European competition. And who knows - by MY2014, we might see some added HP on the EcoBoost as well.
 

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I felt that the MKT's styling problem was more on the rear end.

They should have at least fixed the rear of the MKT

Instead of the rear liftgate's sheetmetal sloping into the bumper, i'd prefer if they made it more vertical like on the MKX.


PS: It looks like a minor bump to the MKT's rear bumper will damage the lower part of the liftgate.
The fact that the exterior design of the MkX is basically a heavily modified Edge body shell and it still looks much better than a unique Lincoln exterior design (MkT) says quite a bit about what's wrong with Lincoln. Lincoln should be getting the "best of the best" of FoMoCo design. It seems like Lincoln has been FoMoCo's forgotten or neglected stepchild as far as great design is concerned. The restyled MkS is a small glimmer of hope that the situation might improve in the future.
 

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Basically, I'm satisfied with the restyling of the MkS. I think Lincoln did a good salvage job on this car. The most important thing for Lincoln to do now is to diligently work on a replacement so that it will be ready in about 2 years. Lincoln's image will be significantly damaged if it allows this car to linger on the market longer than that. The restyling of the MkS should serve as a very temporary stopgap that points to better things to come; it shouldn't present an opportunity for Lincoln to rest on its laurels or become nonchalant.

As far as the MKT: It needed a complete design overhaul. Hopefully, some sort of replacement is in the works that Lincoln can launch on the market as soon as possible. I'm not really shocked by or disappointed that Lincoln didn't do more to this vehicle (I'm hoping FoMoCo didn't bother or waste the resources because a replacement has been fast tracked), but I don't really see the restyled 2013 version making any greater impact on the market than the current version.
 
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