Track Tested: 2010 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost

2010 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost tests hundreds of vehicles a year, but not every vehicle gets a full write-up. The numbers still tell a story, though, so we present "IL Track Tested." It's a quick rundown of all the data we collected at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

With the base 3.7-liter V6 engine, the Lincoln MKS is a pretty ordinary luxury car with an uncomfortably large price tag. In our full test of an all-wheel-drive 2009 MKS, we came up with a 7.5-second 0-to-60-mph time (7.2 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a dragstrip) and a 15.4-second quarter-mile at 90 mph. These are hardly the numbers of an elite luxury sedan, and the fact that the engine feels and sounds strained while moving the 4,300-pound MKS certainly doesn't help.

But Ford's twin-turbocharged and direct-injected, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, newly available for 2010, is supposed to change all that. If you've seen the Loveland Pass advertorial, you know that this is trumpeted as the V6 engine of tomorrow -- the one that performs like a V8 without the fuel economy penalty.

Frankly, it better perform like a V8. The EcoBoost option is only available on AWD versions of the 2010 Lincoln MKS, and it adds $5,000 to the price tag right off the bat. Additionally, our fully loaded MKS EcoBoost tester has the $3,500 Ultimate Package (Rapid Spec 201A), which includes a dual-pane sunroof, hard-drive-based navigation with real-time traffic and weather, plus a rearview camera; and a THX 5.1 surround-sound audio system. It also has the EcoBoost Appearance package ($2,995), which provides 20-inch chrome wheels and all sorts of additional flair inside and out, plus adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation ($1,310) and active parking assist ($535). Total damage? $56,625. That easily puts it in the price territory of the Mercedes-Benz E550 and Jaguar XF. Granted, the EcoBoost V6 works miracles in the Ford Flex, but that wagon only costs $40K.

We didn't attempt a hill climb in our Lincoln MKS EcoBoost, but we did take it to the Inside Line test track. Follow the jump to see how it did.

Vehicle: 2010 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost
Odometer: 3,093
Date: October 20, 2009
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $56,625

Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Twin-turbocharged and direct-injected, 60-degree V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,496/213
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 355 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 350 @ 1,500-5,250
Brake Type (front): 12.2-inch ventilated disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Brake Type (rear): 12.7-inch ventilated disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Steering System: Electric-assist power rack-and-pinion
Suspension Type (front): Independent, MacPherson strut, coil springs, 26mm stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, multilink, coil springs
Tire Size (front): 245/45R20 99V
Tire Size (rear): 245/45R20 99V
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Primacy MXV4
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel Size: 20-by-8.0-inch
Wheel Material (front/rear): Aluminum alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,453

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 2.2 (2.4 traction control on)
0 - 45 (sec): 3.7 (3.9 traction control on)
0 - 60 (sec): 5.7 (5.8 traction control on)
0 - 75 (sec): 8.5 (8.6 traction control on)
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 14.1 @ 99.1 (14.1 @ 100.2 traction control on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.4 (5.4 traction control on)
30 - 0 (ft): 32
60 - 0 (ft): 127
Braking Rating: Poor
Slalom (mph): 61.0 (stability control undefeatable)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.80 (stability control undefeatable)
Handling Rating: Average
Db @ Idle: 41.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 65.9
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 58.4

Acceleration Comments: Responds well to pedal overlap on the launch -- no chance of wheelspin (AWD), even with traction control off. Shifts smartly but not harshly right at redline (which is difficult to see with red paint on a black dial). Trap speed falling steadily -- but had to quit on run #3 due to dangerously fading brakes.

Braking Comments: Consistently "good" stopping distances up to four stops when the pedal began to go soft. Extreme fade set in after just 3 quarter-mile runs when the pedal went all the way to the floor and brakes began to vibrate and hum. I stopped running accel runs, because it felt unsafe to continue.

Handling Comments: Skidpad: Mild understeer on the limit just as the non-defeatable stability control system begins to close the throttle and then grab the brakes. Steering doesn't supply much information and remains springy. Slalom: The MKS is slow to transition, and this along with the early-onset stability-control intervention and obvious heft, adds up to an SUV-like experience and the resulting 61.0-mph pass through the cones. Trying to wake up the all-wheel drive (and rotate the car) by lift-stab on throttle only makes the stability control angrier and more intrusive.