2001 LINCOLN LS V8
Used Car - 2001 Lincoln LS V8 in Hamilton, Oh
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2001 Lincoln LS ReviewThis car review is specific to this model, not the actual vehicle for sale.
A world-class luxury sports sedan from the USA.
The LS is a step away from the traditional Lincoln mold, and that's a good thing. The Lincoln LS offers sporty handling and crisp steering. On the road, it's smooth and sophisticated. Yet it doesn't float and bob around like older Lincolns did.
Indeed, the Lincoln LS compares favorably to some of the best luxury sports sedans, including those from Europe and Japan, yet it is priced far below them.
When selecting a Lincoln LS, the big choice to make is between the two engines: a 210-horsepower V6 and a 252-horsepower V8.
The luxurious V8 sedan includes seats with power lumbar support and memory, an electronic message center, automatic dimming inside mirror with compass, moisture-sensitive wipers, a garage-door opener and its own wheel-and-tire combination.
The V6 model comes with a choice of manual or automatic transmission. Lincoln treats the manual and automatic V6s as two separate models; the one with the manual transmission is tuned more as a sports sedan, with different suspension tuning, tires, road wheels, steering wheels, sound systems, and even bumpers (body-color for manual, chrome-accented for automatic).
For 2001, a Sport Package ($1,990) is available for models with automatics that includes the manual-shift car's more aggressive suspension, tires, and 17-inch wheels. The Sport Package also includes SelectShift, a manual-override system similar to Porsche's Tiptronic.
There are not a lot of other options. A $960 convenience package for the V6 adds a memory driver's seat, a universal garage door opener, and other luxury items found on the V8 model. AdvanceTrac anti-slip traction control system adds $735 to an automatic model (it's now standard on the manual V6), while a power moonroof costs $1,005.
Best of all, Lincoln has priced the LS as its entry-level series, which pegs it about $10,000 less than a Jaguar S-Type, and about $5,000 less than a BMW 530i.
With a long wheelbase and a fairly chunky rear end, the Lincoln LS presents a classy appearance. The somewhat angular lines are reminiscent of a cross between a BMW and a Mitsubishi Diamante. It is refined without being flamboyant. In appearance, the LS shares little in common with the rest of the Lincoln family, apart from the Lincoln badge and the trademark waterfall-style grille.
Lincoln LS shares its mechanical platform with the Jaguar S-Type; the two cars do not share body work, however, so they look completely different.
If you could be ushered into the Lincoln LS with your eyes shut, you might 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.
The driver is cocooned in a cockpit, which adds to the sporty flavor of the car. A canopy shields the instruments. Sound system and climate controls are in a large centerpiece that is easily accessible by either driver or passenger. Most controls work well, though we found the mirror adjustment switch hidden from view and awkward to use. The six-disc CD changer ($605) can be mounted in the dash or in the glovebox. Storage space in the center console is limited.
Realistic burled walnut trim is used on doors and around the controls. All seats are finished in leather. The driver and front passenger seat offer power adjustments. With the memory option, when the ignition is switched off, the driver's seat automatically moves to the back of its track, which makes getting in and out easier. The memory function also 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, according to Lincoln, is as good as any in this class. Legroom is reasonable as long as the front seats are not positioned too far back.
The rear seatback 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 longer items. The trunk offers a reasonable amount of space.
Driving the Lincoln LS is a joy. It feels smooth but connected to the road, with much of that handling tautness we love in the best Japanese and European luxury cars. Handling is excellent. The steering is among the nicest of any car on the road; it gets stiffer the faster one drives.
The world-class handling of the LS comes from engineers who spent considerable time developing a rear-drive chassis 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, among other things, moving the battery to the trunk and making the hood and front fenders from lightweight (and expensive) aluminum.
The V8 engines feels smooth and sophisticated. It communicates with the transmission for smooth shifts. Punch it and it delivers strong acceleration performance. The automatic is a bit slow to shift at times, a trade-off for its smoothness.
When the LS was launched, we tested the V6 model with a manual transmission to see whether a Lincoln could be fun to drive. It is. The German-made Getrag manual gearbox is smooth and precise. Shifting gears is a joy, and straight-line acceleration with the manually shifted V6 is nearly as quick as that of the V8 with automatic.
The manual V6 comes with 17-inch wheels, low-profile tires and Lincoln's sports suspension. The LS V6 is as much fun to drive on windy mountain roads as any sports sedan.
A sporty driving experience is also available from an automatic V6 or V8 with the Sport Package, which includes the SelectShift option for the transmission. This is the first time a Ford product has used this type of transmission control, where 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.)
Enthusiasts groaned when the joint-development program was announced a few years ago, fearing that the traditional Lincoln personality would overwhelm the Jaguar. Instead, the opposite seems to have happened, and the LS drives more like a Jag than a traditional Lincoln. The Lincoln folks, meanwhile, would rather you think of the LS as a competitor for the BMW 5-Series; and while the LS is a little softer than the Bimmer, that's not an unreasonable comparison, either.
For all of its superb suspension tuning, the LS does have a different character than the Jaguar S-Type. What the two cars do share, aside from mechanical and structural parts, is excellent handling and great acceleration.
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 a BMW for a driver who wants a luxury sedan that is fun to drive.
V6 automatic ($31,990); V6 manual ($33,445); V8 ($36,020).