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Here at Gear Patrol’s New York branch, we do our fair share of golfing, no thanks to the tyrannical tee-time scheduling of Patrick Tuttle. The Land Rover we keep parked in midtown Manhattan does a fine job soldiering us to each week’s round. Our only hurdles being either poor traffic conditions or my refusal to heed the exact distances the Garmin GPS (and passengers) are screaming at me. “Turn left in 50 yards” isn’t as easy a command as it seems when entering the hell that is the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge (see map after the jump).

Luckily, one of the perks of manning Gear Patrol is getting the chance to test things out in real world environments, and that’s exactly what Lincoln wanted us to do with the near $50,000 Red Candy 2010 Lincoln MKS. We, in typical GP fashion, took it out for a round of golf and put it through its paces in the (c)armageddon we fondly call New York, New York.

A New Lincoln, For A New Driver

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As a self-proclaimed car nut, I can’t recall ever having a genuine “interest” in a Lincoln. Nothing against Ford’s luxury brand, but the most excitement I ever experienced with the brand was being picked up in a Town Car in Las Vegas (long story), so I had my apprehensions when Lincoln asked if Gear Patrol would be interested in using the new Lincoln MKS as our weekend whip.

The 2010 Lincoln MKS shares underpinnings with several of its corporate cousins (Volvo, Ford Taurus, Ford Flex), but I’ve driven those vehicles and the MKS has a distinctively different demeanor about it. If you can’t tell from the photos in this article, the MKS’ aesthetics and underpinnings are after an entirely different market – that includes you, the aspirational male Gear Patrol reader.

Oomph, Present

Forget what you know of the Town Car or the Continental (no, not the 1965 Continental in Entourage). The MKS is no post-war steam engine powered behemoth. It’s powered by modern, available, Ecoboost 3.5 liter V6 twin turbocharged direct injection V6 engine that pumps out 355 horsepower (350 lb. ft torque) while returning 17/25 miles per gallon in all wheel drive (if only it were winter…). Don’t let the “Ecoboost” nomenclature deceive you, the harnessed Chernobyl packed under the hood will get you moving, pronto. After all, what’s a burly American sedan without a properly burly engine. Of course, the tuners at Lincoln have all but muted the dual chrome tipped exhaust which is unfortunate, as I would have like to hear it snort and growl (sigh for corporate accountability). Also, the transmission is geared a bit soft, so I suggest you move it into auto-manual mode and auto-row your own gears or leave it in the very capable sport mode.

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The 2010 Lincoln MKS is not a BMW M3, nor is it a Mustang. That’s a good thing. This vehicle is designed to haul four/five passengers in an utterly serene environment, in surprising style, and do so with haste. The suspension isn’t tack sharp, but its mix of compliance and performance is a boon. It handled our rapid pace over the abomination New York state calls “roads” (I once saw a taxi in a pothole unable to get out) without one missed step. I’m curious how the optional 20″ wheels would fare. Looking back, the MKS has a bit of a dark side and light side to it (not unlike Patrick’s golf game). On one hand you’re driving a Lincoln, but on the other hand you’re driving a European tuned vehicle of substantial size, deep in the leather-wrapped womb of an upscale technology packed interior. Nope, this is not the Lincoln pappy used to own.

We weren’t afraid to use the Lincoln alongside a round of golf despite being cliché. Of course, golf means golf clubs, so the Lincoln MKS’ trunk inevitably came into play. Long story short, the cargo capacity will not disappoint. It literally fits four golf bags and/or an author with ease (seriously, watch the video)

Taking A Peek Inside

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The interior of the 2010 Lincoln MKS is no slouch, with soft materials present at most corners. There are still a few nuances of bygone American interior slumming, but the swaths of Bridge Of Weir leather, likely inherited from Ford’s now gone (sniff) Aston Martin cousins, along with modern niceties will impress. All jokes aside, these seats will render your ass quite happy on long roads or short spirited jaunts.

By now, you’ve seen a commercial for Microsoft Sync – a foray into the automotive world by the folks that brought you both Excel and, sadly, Windows Movie Maker. Sync features a variety of features including iPod integration, voice activated controls, and a navigation system that took four Gear Patrol editors the entire trip out to the golf course to figure out (even if there were manuals we wouldn’t have read them). Trust me, when I say the below interchange directly outside of New York City was zero fun. I can still hear the echoes of passenger and navigation screams (shudder).


This New Jersey Interchange Is Mein Kampf, Seriously | View Larger Map

That said, once you get the navigation system going, it works like a charm and the THX certified sound system absolutely screams. My only complaint being that the controls are a bit difficult to reach during spirited driving; F-1 style bobbing and weaving to get through toll booths, New York’s mountainous back roads, and rapid HOV lane driving included. Enter voice commands, which work quite well.

Features on the Lincoln MKS abound, standard high intensity headlamps, dual-panel moonroof, heated and cooled (say thanks Patrick) seats, heated rear seats (say thanks Ben), keyless start, 7,650 airbags, 295,000 way adjustable seats, 600 watt 16 speaker THX certified 5.1 surround sound system (thanks), reverse parking sensors, solar tinted glass, adaptive cruise control, and an outstanding active park assist which takes nearly all the guess work out of parallel parking.

The nuts and bolts of it is this: the 2010 Lincoln MKS is evolutionary when it comes to what you can get in the marketplace, but revolutionary for the heritage American brand. I love domestic cars, and am glad to see such a rapid change in the light of the auto industry’s tough times. If there’s anything I walk away from the MKS thinking, it’s that maybe, just maybe, my next 40 grand won’t be spent on a German sedan relying on the haunches of its upmarket perception.

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Cost: $40,000+