The Lost Potential of the Lincoln LS
2007.02.28: We’ve written many times before about the unfortunate fate of the Lincoln LS, but of course with the end of production last year it is now too late. The car is gone, but enthusiast clubs remain. Following are two sites of interest:
- Lincoln Luxury Sport Owner’s Club: http://www.llsoc.com/
- Lincoln vs. Cadillac forum: Supercharged LS thread
Ford Motor Company blew it here. The LS had great potential – most of it unrealized. The engineers did a great job, technically state-of-the-art. All aluminum suspension and crossmembers, double A-arms all around. A very sophisticated and expensive build process. The platform was also used for the Thunderbird and Jag S-Type (where it is still in use, and being enhanced for the upcoming replacement) and was originally supposed to be used for the new Mustang – where it’s high volume would have brought costs down across the board. Instead, we got the dumbed-down S197 Mustang. The original design allowed for stretching the platform too.
But, as is usual in Ford Motor Company there wasn’t any serious follow-up (planned updates of a sport suspension and supercharged engine with manual transmission were cancelled) and the dealers blew it as well. The dealers didn’t understand what they, much less the benefits to driving enthusiasts of a well-balanced rear-wheel drive car with sporting suspension tuning. Lincoln product planners also failed by letting the car lanquish.
The LS (“DEW-98″” platform could have been Ford’s own ”FM” platform (the codename of the extremely successful Nissan/Infiniti “Front-Mid” platform that flexibly underpins the 350Z, G, and M products). How many years will have to go by before we again see a flexible and sophisticated rear wheel drive platform from Ford Motor Company?
- The upcoming Australian Falcon replacement might or might not count – it depends on North American production plans and not on North American import plans. It would have to be built here, in quantity, and used underneath at least three products to generate mainstream numbers and economy of scale.
- The S197 Mustang certainly doesn’t count - it’s dumbed-down stone-age suspension ruins any applicability for sophisticated products. Yes, the basic platform was used under the MKR and Interceptor concepts, but you’ll also notice that a double A-arm front suspension as well as an independent rear was added (a typical Ford after-the-fact band-aid approach). Both were inherently a part of DEW-98 platform – designed in from the very start.
We also have to wonder how the Lincoln dealers will explain the benefits to potential buyers of the upcoming twin-turbo V-6 AWD MKS. We’d hate to be in a position where we had to try to sell that against the STS or the newly reworked CTS. Cadillac has it’s act together, and their products get better and better thru constant refinement. Cadillac had lost their way for several years, but recovered and are better than ever. Can Lincoln do the same?