Lincoln today officially introduce the MKS, the sorta full-size luxury sedan which, according to Lincoln, will be the flagship for the brand, taking over that role from the Town Car.
And who, exactly, are they kidding?
It is a V-6.
Worse, that’s all it’s ever going to be. Word is that the V-8 planned for later is no longer planned for ever. It’s been cancelled. That, despite the fact that the concept car was a V-8, based on an engine currently offered by Volvo.
It is hard to understand the reasoning at Ford that’s led to this decision. Acura has been hobbled by the absence of a V-8 from their line-up. Buick tried for many years to pretend that a V-6 was an adequate powerplant, until GM finally gave up and allowed them to use Cadillac’s Northstar. Granted, the CTS is offered as a V-6 only, but that also seems likely to ultimately turn out to be a mistake. Moreover, there’s no intention at Cadillac of letting the V-6 be the top-line offering.
The decision is all the more peculiar because Ford had the engine in hand. Sure, it’s a Volvo engine and they’re maybe going to sell Volvo. But the MKS is a Volvo, too. It’s based on the Volvo platform. So, what’s the big deal about using the engine in the Lincoln version?
It is just a fact that Americans tend to prefer V-8’s. Of all the car companies in the world, Ford should best understand that. It was Ford that brought the V-8 to the mass-market automobile and it was Ford that made the advantages of a V-8 – torque and smoothness – obvious to everyone.
The thinking these days in Detroit and elsewhere appears to be that the car that will be manufactured is the car that you should have, not necessarily the car that’s good for you. Call it the Hillary Clinton theory of automotive sales. Want a V-8? No, that’s not good for you. You should have a V-6. And you should be happy about it.
Acura has established that lots of people won’t be happy about it, and they won’t by the car because of it.
Indeed, introducing the car with a V-6 is a stupid decision. It’s not merely that no V-8 is offered. It is that any V-6 is offered. If Ford wanted the Lincoln name to stand for quality, and value, it needed only to produce the car with a small-bore V-8 as standard equipment.
That would have been something the market segment does not have. It would have been something that could have distinguished the car, particularly because a V-6 has no real inherent economy advantage over a V-8.
But, they missed the opportunity.
They coulda had a V-8.
Even the guys selling vegetable juice know the power of a V-8.