2014 Lincoln MKZ 3.7 AWD First Test
Nothing More to Say
We've already tested the 2013 Lincoln MKZ lineup (Hybrid, 2.0 EcoBoost AWD, and 3.7 AWD), so it comes as no surprise that a mechanically unchanged 2014 Lincoln MKZ 3.7 AWD would put down similar numbers to the last car we tested. The first MKZ we tested was a 2.0 AWD model fitted with the Summer Handling Tire Package ($1565) -- an option not available until we called the automaker out for sending us a car with high-performance Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires (245/40 R19). Why we haven't seen an MKZ 3.7 AWD with the Summer Tire Handling Package remains a mystery.
On the MKZ 2.0 EcoBoost AWD, those tires contributed to a significant improvement in acceleration (0-60: 7.2 seconds vs. 6.6 seconds; quarter-mile: 15.5 seconds at 89.4 mph vs. 15.0 seconds at 91.2 mph), handling (figure-eight: 27.3 seconds at 0.63 g vs. 26.5 seconds at 0.63 g; skidpad: 0.85 g vs. 0.91 g), and braking (60-0: 115 feet vs. 106 feet). In addition to the upgraded tires, the Summer Tire Handling Package includes "unique sport tuning for Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) suspension and Electric Power Assist Steering)." Our 2014 Lincoln MKZ 3.7 AWD tester was fitted with the standard all-season Pirelli P Zero Nero tires (245/40 R19).
With the performance gains made on the MKZ with the 240-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 with 270 lb-ft of torque, we would have liked seeing what the Michelin Pilot Super Sports could do for the MKZ with the 300-hp, 277 lb-ft 3.7-liter V-6. Alas, we can only give you numbers for the 2014 MKZ 3.7 AWD with the standard all-season tires, which are essentially the same as the 2013 version.
At the drag strip, the 2014 model hit 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and finished the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 94.5 mph. While acceleration was down slightly from the 2013 model (6.4 seconds, 14.7 seconds at 95.9 mph), handling and braking have improved. The 2014 MKZ 3.7 AWD lapped the figure-eight in 26.7 seconds at 0.67 g average (vs. 27.4 seconds at 0.63 g) and pulled 0.86 g around the skid pad (vs. 0.83 g). Braking from 60 mph took 112 feet (vs. 115 feet).
The last time we tested the MKZ 3.7 AWD, we compared it to the front-drive Lexus ES350 ($37,530), which was faster in a straight line (0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds; quarter-mile: 14.4 seconds at 99.3 mph), but didn't handle (figure-eight: 28.0 seconds at 0.62 g; skid pad: 0.76 g) or stop (60-0 mph: 125 feet) as well as the Lincoln. There are, however, other similarly configured competitors. With a base price of $40,205 for the MKZ 3.7 AWD, its competitors include the redesigned 2015 Acura TLX (price TBD), 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD ($40,195) and LaCrosse V6 AWD ($41,210), 2014 Chrysler 300C V6 AWD ($40,775), and the 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 AWD ($41,450).
Although we haven't tested the 2015 TLX, its 290-hp, 267 lb-ft 3.5-liter V-6 is competitive to the MKZ's 3.7-liter V-6. And like the MKZ, front-drive is standard, while all-wheel-drive optional. The TLX offers a nine-speed automatic to the Lincoln's six-speed auto. We've driven the 2015 Genesis sedan with the 311-hp, 293 lb-ft 3.8-liter V-6, though we haven't tested it yet.
In testing, the Regal GS AWD, with a 259-hp, 295 lb-ft 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 and six-speed auto, bested the MKZ 3.7 AWD in acceleration (0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds; quarter-mile: 14.6 seconds at 93.5 mph), handling (figure-eight: 26.0 seconds at 0.72 g; skid pad: 0.90 g), and braking (60-0: 105 feet). The MKZ barely outperformed the larger LaCrosse with its 304-hp, 264 lb-ft 3.6-liter V-6, six-speed auto, and all-wheel-drive (0-60 mph: 6.6 seconds; quarter-mile: 15.1 seconds at 93.6 mph; figure-eight: 27.1 seconds at 0.66 g: skidpad: 0.83 g; 60-0 mph: 113 feet).
Although we haven't tested an all-wheel-drive Chrysler 300, we do have performance numbers for our previous long-term rear-drive 2013 Chrysler 300S with the 300-hp, 264 lb-ft 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. And the numbers are nearly on top of the 2014 MKZ 3.7 AWD. The 300S V6 ran to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and onto the quarter-mile in 14.9 seconds at 97.1 mph and went around the figure-eight in 26.7 seconds at 0.66 g and pulled 0.85 g around the skid pad. Braking from 60 mph took 115 feet.
On the street, the 3.7-liter V-6 has plenty power to move the 4129-pound sedan through traffic and up on-ramps. Despite lacking a performance package, the MKZ tackles curved roads confidently at reasonable speeds with a neutral feel.
While performance specs are important to bench racers and internet commenters, most non-sporty entry-level luxury sedan buyers care more about interior features and ride comfort. Fitted with nearly every factory option (except the Summer Handling Tire Package), the MKZ doesn't disappoint. In addition to the standard features, our Smoke Quartz Tricoat ($485) tester included Equipment Group 103A ($5375: rearview camera, rear park sensors, daytime running lights, ambient interior lighting, navigation system, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Blind Spot Monitoring System with Cross-Traffic Alert, power trunk lid, 700-watt, 14-speaker THX II Premium audio system, heated steering wheel, cooled front seats, heated rear seats, floor mats, 110-volt outlet, 19-inch alloys, and more), Technology Package ($2250: Active Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping System), Multi Contour Seats ($595: front massage seats), rear inflatable seat belts ($195), and large panoramic roof ($2995). As configured, our tester rang the register at $52,110.
With 10-way adjustability, the Charcoal leather seats are comfortable even during my 2-4 hour daily commute. During my time in the MKZ, I ran the seat massager continually, while switching between the heating and cooling functions. Although early versions of Sync with MyLincoln Touch were problematic, the system in our car worked flawlessly and the voice command function allowed address input into the navigation system while driving – a function not available from the touchscreen when the car is in motion. Center stack mounted transmission gear select buttons free up space on the center console and give the MKZ's interior an open and spacious feel. The MKZ can comfortably fit four average-size adults and a fifth passenger on shorter trips, though the driveshaft tunnel encroaches some on the center rear seat legroom.
The MKZ's most unique feature is its trick panoramic moonroof. Unlike other panoramic roofs where the center section lifts up and slides over the back half, the MKZ's entire one-piece glass roof lifts up and slides over the front section of the rear seat area and covers the top half of the rear window. The roof is big enough for rear seat passengers to stand up through the opening. Visibility out the rear window is only slightly affected. A retractable soft shade can block light and heat when the glass roof is closed.
While the MKZ 3.7 AWD is a competitively priced to other non-sporty entry-level premium sedans, one can get into a comparably equipped BMW 328i xDrive sedan – a car oft considered the standard for sporty entry-level premium sedans. The 328i xDrive sedan starts at $40,225 (compared to the MKZ 3.7 AWD's $40,205 base price). Adding genuine leather seats ($1450), Cold Weather Package ($950: heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, retractable headlight washers), Lighting Package ($900: HID headlights, adaptive light control), Technology Package ($3150: enhanced Bluetooth/USB smartphone integration, navigation with real-time traffic, head-up display, BMW apps), Driver Assistance ($950: Park Distance Control, rearview camera), Driver Assistance Plus ($1950: Active Driving Assistance, Active Blind Spot Detection, side and top view cameras, speed limit info), Premium Package ($3100: lumbar support, satellite radio, keyless entry, moonroof), and Active Cruise Control ($1200) brings the 328i xDrive up to $52,375 – just $265 more than our MKZ 3.7 AWD tester. Although similarly equipped, the BMW lacks cooled and massaging front seats and substitutes a standard moonroof for the MKZ's large panoramic moonroof.
Although the BMW 328i sedan's 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 gives up 60 hp and 22 lb-ft (240 hp, 255 lb-ft total) to the MKZ's 3.7-liter V-6, the Bimmer trumps the MKZ in all performance metrics. Our previous long-term rear-drive 328i Sport with six-speed manual hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and finished the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds at 98.2 mph and lapped the figure-eight in 26.3 seconds at 0.70 g and pulled 0.89 g around the skid pad. The 328i stopped from 60 mph in 113 feet. We expect the all-wheel-drive model with the eight-speed automatic to put down similar numbers.
Admittedly, the Lincoln MKZ and BMW 3 Series appeal to a different buyer and wouldn't likely be directly cross-shopped, but you could. Without comparing every model at the same time and same place makes it impossible to name a winner that is based on more than just performance stats.
For those not looking for a sport sedan, the 2014 Lincoln MKZ 3.7 AWD offers the latest technology in a love it or hate it package with enough performance to get the job done. Still, we wouldn't mind knowing how much closer the Summer Handling Tire Package could take the V-6 powered MKZ to the 328i.
|2014 Lincoln MKZ 3.7 AWD|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$51,215|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||3.7L/300-hp/277-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4129 lb (59/41%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||194.1 x 73.4 x 58.2 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.5 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.8 sec @ 94.5 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||112 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.86 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.7 sec @ 0.67 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||18/26/21 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||187/130 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||0.93 lb/mile|