2001 Lincoln LS Review
Pros & Cons
- Confident steering and handling, choice of either a V6 or V8 engine, comfortable and roomy interior, clean exterior design.
- Acute lack of interior storage space, V8's transmission isn't as good as expected, questionable build quality.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Want a BMW 540i? Buy one, because the LS is no substitute, even at a fraction of the price. But it does handle brilliantly, it is comfortable, and it looks good.
Is it possible to create a car that melds American luxury with European driving dynamics? Sure. Witness the Cadillac Catera. But how about one that's actually good?
Fortunately, the Lincoln LS can answer the call. Now one year old, the LS is one of our favorite entry-level luxury sedans. It is Lincoln's most advanced vehicle in terms of technology, and it is attracting a much younger clientele than Lincoln dealerships are used to seeing.
While many entry-luxury sedans are just warmed-over versions of lower-level cars (like the Infiniti I30 and Nissan Maxima, for instance), the rear-drive LS shares its platform with the more upscale Jaguar S-Type.
From the start, Lincoln aimed the LS squarely at the European and, specifically, BMW market. The LS' front end calls attention to this with its tight quad headlights, swooping central grille and clean hood lines.
Buyers can select from one of two engines that both meet LEV standards. The first is a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 210 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 205 foot-pounds of torque at 4,750 rpm. It is offered with either a five-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission. But with a 3,600-pound curb weight, the V6 LS is somewhat underpowered (given the car's sporting intentions), so Lincoln also offers a V8.
This DOHC, 32-valve, 3.9-liter V8 generates 252 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 267 foot-pounds of torque at 4,300. Power delivery is smooth and linear. Zero-to-60 acceleration with the V8 is a quick 7.5 seconds. The engine is hobbled, however, by the five-speed automatic. It is often befuddled, and shifts made using the Sportshift mode (available with the sport package) lag noticeably.
Handling ability is very good, especially when the LS is equipped with the optional sport package. The steering is quick and communicative. Ride quality can sometimes be harsh, but overall, the Lincoln strikes a nice balance between luxury and performance. Traction control is standard and the AdvanceTrac stability control system is optional.
Inside, the LS offers a decent selection of luxury features. The usual suspects are all present, from leather seating surfaces and premium sound to dual-zone climate controls and a driver-preference memory system for seats, mirrors and the steering wheel. The optional RESCU emergency messaging system is definitely worth considering, and there's now an optional six-disc in-dash CD changer. GPS navigation, however, is still MIA. Oh, and can we have more interior storage space and better build quality, please?
Minor points aside, the LS is an impressive car. Plunk down $30,000 to $40,000, and you basically get a European sedan with an American nameplate and interior space. If every American carmaker that tried to take on the Europeans succeeded to the extent the LS does, the world would be a far better place.