Used 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII Review
Edmunds expert review
What's new for 1998
Since 1984, Lincoln designers have been suffering an internal struggle over the Mark. They've been noncommittal about its role in the marketplace, and have been trying to decide if creating a stunning, radical new car will alienate traditional Lincoln buyers. The 1984 Mark VII had a hint of greatness, but was saddled with lots of chrome and the vestigial rear tire hump. By the end of the Mark VII's run, it had gained more supportive seats, the 5.0-liter V8 from the Mustang GT, and an optional sport suspension. A monochrome look was available on the LSC and the popularity of that trim level should have given the boys in Dearborn a clue. The Mark VII was a pretty good luxo-sport coupe before its demise in 1992, but the sheetmetal definitely needed an update.
The Mark VIII bowed in 1993, sporting an outstanding drivetrain and a radical new look. Unfortunately, the chrome remained, the tire hump was still affixed to the rear end, and the popular LSC model was canceled. Hmmm...Still struggling. Last year, the Mark VIII was redesigned, sporting more lights than the Flamingo Hilton. The front and rear were also restyled, but there still isn't a real direction for this car. Is it a great big sports car? A two-door limo? A Ford Tunderbird with lots of chrome? No one seems to be sure.
We like Ford's modular 4.6-liter DOHC V8. It's perfectly mated to this big coupe, and goes a long way toward selling us on the car. The interior, like the exterior, is another love/hate design study, and our staff seems evenly split on the dashboard layout. Some find it reminiscent of the previous-generation Honda Prelude and wish for a version of the Lexus SC400's outstanding wraparound cockpit, others find the Mark just fine as it is. Some controls and displays have been reworked a few times since 1993, and fake wood has been affixed to the center console to provide some warmth to the techno-industrial interior ambiance.
Under the skin, the Mark VIII is unbeatable, and we think that buyers who like the styling of the Mark VIII will enjoy this quick, competent luxury coupe for many years to come. They better act fast, though, due to poor sales the Mark's days are numbered. Model year 1998 might be the last chance to get one.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.