Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: October 6, 2016
Four hundred horsepower used to be something cherished and revered upon. It was a number worshipped by horsepower fanatics and was a distant goal of muscle cars and tuner cars alike. Mind you this was ten years ago, at a time when even a Ferrari 360 Modena was “only” pushing that exact amount. Nowadays, four hundred ponies are as common in your BMW M4 as it is in your Lincoln MKZ.
Hold on a second. A Lincoln with 400 horsepower? That’s right – new for 2017 is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 lodged right under the nose of their revamped mid-size sedan, the MKZ. Lincoln says its an exclusive engine, meaning no Ford product will ever see this powerplant in the light of day – that’s what they say at least.
Derived from the 2.7-litre EcoBoost engine from the Ford F-150 and with the proper 93-octane fuel added in, Lincoln says that their new 3.0L engine ($4,500 option) will produce a whopping 400-hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. That’s more than a 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera.
Lincoln’s star engine is mated through a six-speed transmission and is all-wheel drive only, but does this astonishing power figure make it the sleeper car of the year? It certainly could be, seeing as the only way to tell it’s got the big engine is by spotting the “3.0T” badge on the rear trunk lid.
Instead of lurching forward with all 400 horses running down the straight, Lincoln tuned the engine to maximize power while still delivering a smooth ride. Overtaking and aggressive driving is rewarded with near-instant throttle response, and a competent all-wheel drive system is there to keep everything in check. Think of it less like an abrupt Saturn V rocket, and more like Japan’s silky bullet train.
To spruce up the MKZ even further as a “driver’s car”, Lincoln has added in an optional Driver’s Package ($3,400). This equips the MKZ with neat aesthetic upgrades like a painted upper grille, black calipers, 19-inch wheels, and a contrasting interior theme with carbon fibre accents, but the real meat lies under the sheetmetal.
With this package, Lincoln has tuned the adjustable suspension for a firmer and sportier ride, and have also fitted in Dynamic Torque Vectoring, which is essentially the same rear differential found in the Focus RS that shuffles around torque to the rear wheel that needs it the most.
The result is a competent mid-size sedan that loves cruising down straights as much as it does hugging corners. Understeer isn’t completely mute as it is on the Focus RS, but fling the MKZ hard into a corner and the AWD system and rear diff will fight to keep traction at its peak.
It’s not a Lincoln muscle car, that’s for sure, but the MKZ is definitely one of the sportiest, wait scratch that, it is the sportiest Lincoln we’ve ever driven. And compared with similarly powered competitors like the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 and the Hyundai Genesis V8, the MKZ certainly keeps up with the crowd.
The rear remains unchanged however, and its sharp edges and contours don’t seem to truly match up with the elegance brought out by the front. Nevertheless, Lincoln has given the MKZ one refreshing comb over that will last a few more product years.
The real home improvement is with the interior. There’s no denying that the cabin uses some high quality materials to give it that upscale appearance. The layout remains unchanged, however the newly sculpted leather steering wheel with carbon fibre inserts and contrasting black and white leather seats have certainly stolen our attention.
Of course, there are still the odd panel gaps and questionable fitment issues, but our eyes and ears were distracted by the wonderful ambiance provided by the impressive Revel Ultima speaker system and the largest panoramic roof (and probably the most expensive, listed as a $3,450 stand alone option) ever stuffed into a sedan.
The sunroof is massive, just like the one in the Range Rover Evoque, except this one actually opens. The only catch is that only the rear passengers can appreciate the open glass, and when the roof does slide back, it reduces the view out the rear windshield to a tiny slit.
And if there is one example of an automaker actually listening to its customers and implementing feedback, it’s with Lincoln’s center stack layout. The controversial push-button shifter remains, but gone are those pesky touch-sensitive slider controls in favour of good old-fashioned hard buttons and dials. The panel arrangement may be a bit of an LED button overload, but we’re just glad that we can adjust the volume without taking our eyes off the road.
Lincoln finally found a way to separate itself from its Ford-based roots. With an exclusive engine and improved driving dynamics, the new MKZ morphs into one of the most captivating sleeper cars we’ve driven all year. The MKZ offers two other powertrains in its stable: a carryover 2.0-litre turbo-four and a hybrid, but if you’re looking for effortless speed, the responsive 3.0L will take you to the moon and back. 400 horsepower might not seem like a lot these days but for Lincoln, it’s one monumental step into taking over the segment, and they’re right on track.
型号 Model: 2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve AWD 3.0T
顏色 Paint Type: White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat ($700)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $46,000
試車售價 Price as Tested: $66,100
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,850
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,925 / 1,864 / 1,476
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,901
引擎 Engine: 3.0L twin-turbo GTDI V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 400 hp @ 5,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 400 lb-ft @ 2,750 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 14.0 / 9.2 / 11.8
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 14.4
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 245/40R19XL