The New Lincoln LS
The original Lincoln LS brought world-class driving dynamics in a modern American luxury sedan when it was introduced in 1999 as a 2000 model. Combined with the Lincoln Navigator, the LS succeeded in attracting a new generation of affluent consumers to the Lincoln brand. Approximately 70 percent of LS customers and 60 percent of Navigator customers are new to Lincoln, and the average customer age for both vehicles is in the early 50s.
For the 2003 model year, more than 500 LS parts are new or redesigned for more horsepower and torque, improved refinement and greater comfort and convenience.
The 2003 LS is one of four new Lincolns for the 2003 model year. A new Town Car and Navigator were introduced in the spring; the all-new Aviator will debut in early fall.
The well-received exterior design of the first LS has been refined with improved attention to detail, more accurate fit and more refined finish and new front and rear treatments. The headlamps, grille and fascia are all new and form a more modern face.High-intensity-discharge headlamps are optional.
The rear deck lid, taillamps, license plate surround and rear fascia are significantly cleaner in appearance. All LS models now have dual chrome exhaust tips.
Lincoln designers devoted most of their efforts on the exterior to a number of details. The windshield-washer jets, for example, have been moved from atop the hood to the leaf screen below its rearward edge. New folding exterior mirrors have built-in puddle lamps, while bodyside moldings now are made of fewer pieces for a better fit. All LS wheels are new for 2003, and the 17-inch alloy uses inner-wheel-mounted weights for a smooth outer wheel lip.
A new palette of materials, textures and colors upgrades the interior this year. Like the new interiors in the Aviator and Navigator, the LS features real American burl walnut, satin nickel accents and rich leather seating. Tactile quality is greatly improved: A soft-touch instrument panel with seamless air-bag door, a new headliner with damped grab handles and rubberized vent wheels are just a few such improvements.
Heated and cooled front seats now are available, as are heated rear seats. For maximum comfort, the heated/cooled seats are linked to the dual-zone automatic climate control and can be controlled in concert with or independent of the cabin ventilation. Also newly available is a touch-screen DVD navigation system that lifts electrically to expose a six-disc in-dash CD changer. The 2003 LS also is available with Lucasfilm THXTM certified premium car audio, the first automaker to offer such a system. The audiophile-quality THXTM sound system significantly advances car audio the same way that THXTM has revolutionized sound in commercial theaters, home theaters and multimedia products. The audio system is designed to provide outstanding performance by improving imaging and timbral balance for all seating positions and road conditions.
An electronic parking brake replaces the traditional hand brake lever with a smaller tab, freeing console space for a deep storage bin, an adjustable sliding center armrest, two power points and improved cup holders.
New features include power one-touch up and down front windows, rear reading lamps with integrated coat hooks, dual-panel sun visors, an overhead console, dual front-door map pockets, rear-door map pockets and larger rear cup holders.
The driver's seat offers eight-way power adjustment; the front passenger seat has six-way power adjustment. Both front seats feature head restraints that are larger this year. The LS has a memory driver's seat feature that can be set for three different seating, steering wheel and mirror positions. The 60/40 split fold-down rear seat backs offer cargo-carrying versatility. New power-adjustable pedals are standard on all models.
Both LS powertrains are more powerful and refined for 2003.
The standard 3.0-liter V-6 produces 232 horsepower and 220 foot-pounds of torque - an increase of 12 horsepower and five foot-pounds on a significantly broader torque curve. Variable valve timing, improved variable-length intake runners and electronic throttle control are the primary new features.
With 280 horsepower and 286 foot-pounds of torque, the 3.9-liter V-8 produces smooth peak power and excellent midrange torque. Its intake has been revised for a Lincoln-specific sound quality, and variable valve timing has increased the engine's output.
Electronic throttle control (ETC), complete with throttle pedal position sensor and an electronic control algorithm, replaces the traditional cable system for smooth and accurate power delivery. The Lincoln system is noteworthy in that the driver's pedal request is processed in conjunction with the transmission electronic control such that the accelerator controls torque at the drive wheels. This results in quicker response than other electronic throttle systems and more uniform acceleration from gear to gear.
Fuel economy is improved on both engines. Fuel tank capacity is 18 gallons.
Ride and Handling
The LS has improved ride quality and more precise steering. New ZF speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering is significantly stiffer and provides better feel, and the pump is quieter and more efficient for improved fuel economy.
The suspension dampers are larger for better control of body motion, the front cross member is stiffer and the forward lower control arm bushings at the front suspension have been retuned for dynamics and refinement. Each bushing in the rear suspension also has been improved.
The optional AdvanceTracTM active vehicle dynamics system enhances LS's dynamics at the limits of tire adhesion, providing driver assistance for improved control of understeer and oversteer. Vehicles with AdvanceTracTM also feature emergency brake assist that can detect sudden braking and shorten stopping distances in some situations. Non-AdvanceTracTM vehicles utilize a dual-mode mechanical system. On all models, pedal feel is improved, and efforts are reduced for increased braking confidence.
The LS has near 50/50 weight distribution. Weight is distributed evenly over all four tires for more balanced and effective braking. This design contributes to sure-footed ride and handling. The battery is mounted in the rear, which helps equalize weight.
Anti-lift/anti-dive front and rear suspension geometry limits uncomfortable pitching backward and forward during acceleration or breaking.
Improvements in noise, vibration and harshness for 2003 include new window surrounds, improved carpeting, a more effective acoustic instrument panel mat, body fillers in the A- and C-pillars, a top engine cover, a new fine-pitch timing chain and cast exhaust manifolds. Quality measures on body sealing have also reduced air leakage for less cabin noise. These improvements have come without a weight penalty.
Safety and Security
The sophisticated chassis of the LS provides the first measure of safety Đ controllability. In emergency situations, electronic systems such as AdvanceTracTM and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist help maintain control.
Comprehensive safety equipment now includes an optional Safety CanopyTM side-curtain air-bag system in addition to the standard dual front and side-impact air bags. These new generation air bags take into account seating position to offer optimal protection. Rear-seating positions have three upper and two lower child-safety seat tether anchors.
For enhanced visibility in bad weather, windshield wipers activate automatically when they detect moisture on the windshield. A glow-in-the-dark manual trunk release offers protection against entrapment. The SecuriLockTM passive anti-theft system and perimeter alarm are standard on all LS models.