2000 LINCOLN LS V8
Used Car - 2000 Lincoln LS V8 in Indianapolis, In
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2000 Lincoln LS ReviewThis car review is specific to this model, not the actual vehicle for sale.
A sporty Lincoln sedan? You bet it is!.
So, you're dreaming of owning a BMW or a Jaguar. Why? Because you want a luxury sports sedan with great handling and a manual transmission. But, your budget doesn't allow you to pay more than $35,000. You're in luck. There's a new car in town. It can compete with BMW and Jaguar. And it's a Lincoln. That's right, a Lincoln.
The all-new Lincoln LS is aimed squarely at the BMW 5-series and hits its target right on. And it costs about $10,000 less. If you've never thought of owning a Lincoln, read on. You might change your mind.
Lincoln doesn't call them models, but there are several drivetrain combinations available for the LS. Two engines are available, a 3.0-liter V6 and a 3.9-liter V8.
The 3.0-liter V6 engine produces 210 horsepower. Amazingly, this model is available with an optional five-speed manual transmission; it's the first time a manual gearbox has been seen in a Lincoln since 1951. The only manufacturer to offer a manual transmission in this class, besides Lincoln, is BMW. Neither Jaguar, Lexus nor Mercedes-Benz offers a manual in their U.S. models. Admittedly, only 13 percent of BMW 5 Series buyers opt for a manual transmission, but nonetheless this distinction positions the Lincoln LS as a sportier model than most luxury sedans.
Most Lincoln buyers will opt for an automatic transmission, however. The V6 comes with a choice of two: a 5-speed electronically controlled automatic or a special SelectShift automatic that allows manual gear shifting without a clutch. The SelectShift system is similar to the Tiptronic and other semi-automatic transmissions used by Porsche, Audi, Lexus and Acura.
The 3.9-liter V8 engine produces 252 horsepower. It is available with the 5-speed electronically controlled automatic or the 5-speed SelectShift automatic; the manual transmission is not available with the V8.
All LS models are available with a sport package that includes 17-inch wheels, a modified suspension and variable-assist steering. It is included with the manual transmission and the optional SelectShift automatic transmission.
One of the most exciting aspects of the Lincoln LS is its pricing. With the V6, the LS costs $31,450, which is several thousand dollars less than comparable luxury models. The V6 with a manual transmission and the sport package costs $32,250. Ordered with the V8, the LS costs $35,225.
There are not a lot of options. The Sport package with the SelectShift automatic transmission adds $1,000, a convenience package including memory driver's seat, a universal garage door opener and a few other items costs $850. AdvanceTrac anti-slip traction control system adds $725 to the total bill while a power moonroof costs $995.
The all-new LS models share little in common with the rest of the Lincoln family apart from the Lincoln badge and the trademark waterfall-style grille. The somewhat angular lines are reminiscent of a cross between a BMW and a Mitsubishi Diamante. With a long wheelbase and a fairly chunky rear end the car presents a classy appearance. It is refined without being flamboyant.
There is no way to tell by looking at it, but the Lincoln LS is the sister car to the Jaguar S-Type. They both share floor pans, engines and suspensions. Beyond that, though, they are different, especially in the design of the body. The style of the S-Type harks back to fabulous Jags of the past, while the LS looks toward Lincoln's future.
If you were to be placed in the Lincoln LS with your eyes shut you'd probably guess you were in a European car once you opened your eyes. There are no gaudy trim pieces or large cushy armchair-style seats. Instead the interior is understated. Almost too understated. A canopy shields the instruments from passengers. Sound system and climate controls are in a large centerpiece that is easily accessible by either driver or passenger. In effect the driver is cocooned in a cockpit, which adds to the sporty nature of the car.
Most controls work well, though I found the mirror adjustment switch hidden from view and awkward to use. There are several audio packages costing $565 to $695 including a six-disc CD changer placed conveniently in the glovebox.
All seats are finished in leather; realistic burled walnut trim is used on doors and around the controls. The driver and front passenger seat offer power adjustment controls. An optional package allows the driver's seat to automatically move back, which makes getting in and out easier. A memory function maintains seating positions for two people. The remote key fob can be used to open all windows for quick ventilation on hot days.
Rear-seat passengers are taken care of nicely. The seats have a slightly raised position for a better forward view. Yet rear-seat headroom is as good as any in this class, according to Lincoln. Legroom is reasonable as long as the front seats are not positioned too far back. The rear seat back can be folded down in a 60/40 split for access to the trunk; that's unusual for a luxury car, but a great convenience for carrying skis and bulky cargo. The trunk offers a reasonable amount of space.
The driving experience of the LS is its most exciting aspect. We purposely tested the V6 model with a manual transmission to see if a Lincoln could be fun to drive. It is. The German-made Getrag gearbox is very smooth and precise. Shifting gears is a joy, at least for those who want to do their own shifting. The benefit of the manual is that the straight-line acceleration of the car with a V6 is all but identical to that of the V8 with an automatic transmission.
The sport package comes with 17-inch wheels, low-profile tires and what Lincoln calls the European suspension. This $32,250 model offers excellent handling and a smooth ride. The steering is one of the nicest of any car on the road as it gets stiffer the faster one drives. It makes the car as much fun to drive on windy mountain roads as a sports car.
A sporty driving experience is also available by ordering the SelectShift automatic transmission with either with the V6 or V8 engine. This is the first time a Ford product has used this type of transmission: The driver can select either fully automatic or manual shifting. In the manual mode, the driver changes gears by pushing the gearshift lever forward to shift up or by pulling it back to shift down. (A computer makes sure that the driver does not try to shift down when the car is going too fast. And it will shift up automatically if the driver forgets to shift when the engine reaches the redline.) The SelectShift transmission is included when the sport suspension package is ordered.
In a brief drive in a V8 with the standard 5-speed automatic transmission, we found the steering was not as crisp and the car supplied a cushier ride. It was still a lot better than one would expect from a Lincoln but not as sporty as a BMW.
The dynamic handling of the LS is world class because the engineers spent considerable time developing a car with a nearly perfect 50/50-weight distribution -- half the weight is on the front wheels and half is over the rear wheels. Most cars have a definite weight bias toward the front end. Lincoln managed this balancing act by moving the battery to the trunk and making the hood and front fenders from lightweight aluminum.
Jaguar fans were concerned when Ford announced the new Jaguar S-Type would share the same platform as the new Lincoln LS. But the two cars arrived on the scene with different characters. What they do share is excellent handling and great acceleration performance.
With a pedigree as good as this, the LS should be world class -- and it is. In fact, with its competitive pricing the LS is a serious alternative to the traditional BMW for a driver who wants a luxury sedan that is fun to drive. The LS is the sort of car for the person who wants to be different from the others in the country club driving up in their Mercedes-Benz or BMW.
LS with V6 ($31,450), LS with V8 ($35,225).
Options As Tested
5-speed manual transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, European sport suspension.