Track Tested: 2011 Lincoln MKX

The Lincoln MKX has long been a bit of a disappointment. The interior and the performance just couldn't keep up with the competition or the image that Lincoln was trying to build. Powered by a 3.5-liter, 265-horsepower V6 and with a grille fresh off an electric Remington, the MKX was an also-ran in a highly competitive segment.

For 2011, Lincoln decided to get competitive. The 2011 Lincoln MKX has reimagined the crossover as a freight train -- and we mean that in the best way possible -- with the new winged grille. It also received the full complement of interior treatments, but that's not why we're here. More interestingly, Lincoln got serious with the powertrain, replacing the 3.5 with a 3.7-liter V6 cranking out 305 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque. And while faster is better, the last time we tested a Lincoln MKX -- in 2007 -- the Lincoln came down from 60 mph in a startling 146 feet. With more power, we hoped this one would have braking under control, too.

Vehicle: 2011 Lincoln MKX
Odometer: 3,805
Date: 1/25/10
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $50,665

Drive Type: Front-engine, All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: 3.7-liter V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,726/227
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 305 @ 6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 280 @ 4,000
Brake Type (front): Disc with two-piston sliding caliper
Brake Type (rear): Disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion
Suspension Type (front): MacPherson Strut, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P245/50R20 102H M+S
Tire Size (rear): P245/50R20 102H M+S
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: Scorpion STR A
Tire Type: All -season
Wheel size: 20-by-8 inches front and rear
Wheel material (front/rear): Aluminum
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,508

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 2.7 (2.8 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.7 (4.7 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 7.3 (7.3 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 10.7 (10.9 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.3 @ 91.4 (15.4 @ 91.2 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.0 (7.0 w/TC on)

30-0 (ft): 33
60-0 (ft): 133

Slalom (mph): 60.4 (60.2 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.74 (0.73 w/TC on)

Db @ Idle: 43.8
Db @ Full Throttle: 74.6
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 62.9


Acceleration: Not much for me to do. Pedal overlap does nothing to improve times dramatically. Also, no advantage to turning off traction control. Engine sounds sporty, not thrashy. Despite manual shift available, it still auto upshifts. Upshifts are smooth, moderately fast. No matched rev-downshift in manual.

Braking: After a little pedal travel, brakes jump in pretty abruptly. Pedal isn't hard or soft -- just right. Good fade resistance and consistency (especially for a 4,500-pound vehicle.) Last stop had a little directional wander.

Handling: Nondefeat stability control -- defeatable traction control. Steering weight appropriate and grip feels higher than numbers indicate. ESC is holding it back only slightly as it cuts throttle right before understeer begins. Interesting that jumping out of throttle allows the MKX to oversteer quite a lot.

Good turn-in and trustworthy initial grip/bite. ESC punishes quick steering input, so being smooth was key. Slow-in/fast-out proved best with slight ESC at exit. Good body control, good steering precision, though not much feel.