For 2003, Lincoln is improving the LS, its rear-wheel drive luxury sports sedan, with more powerful and fuel-efficient V-6 and V-8 engines, new safety technology, luxurious cabins and a host of unique comfort, convenience and entertainment features.
More than 500 components and systems have been redesigned, including:
The LS V-6 and V-8 engines – now with 232 horsepower and 280 hp respectively – adopt variable intake cam timing and "drive by wire" electronic throttle control
New interiors with twice as much stowage, sophisticated new trim materials and optional features, such as heated and cooled seats
Athletic, but quieter and smoother-riding suspensions
Numerous other chassis improvements, including a new speed-sensitive, variable ratio ZF Servotronic II steering system
Exterior design enhancements, including more refined head- and tail lamps, fascias, moldings and trim
"The LS has a well established reputation as a driver’s car, but competition in the luxury sports sedan market is intense. That’s why we enhanced nearly every major system of the car," says Al Kammerer, Lincoln Mercury product development director.
The 2003 LS also marks the debut of the industry’s first THX® Certified Ultra Premium Car Audio System program. Filmmaker George Lucas founded THX, now THX Ltd., in 1983 to ensure superior sound presentation quality in theaters. The company’s relationship with Lincoln is its first foray into car audio certification.
The optional THX-certified system includes an AM/FM receiver and in-dash six-disc CD changer. It has 10 speakers, including four high-sensitivity two-way speakers (one in each door) and two subwoofers in the rear package tray. A four-channel Class-H amplifier powers the door speakers.
The Class-H amplifier has a continuous power output rating of 265 watts (average) with virtually no distortion. Total uncompressed burst power is 345 watts (average) with no perceptible distortion. Each subwoofer is driven by a 32-watt amplifier for high output without audible distortion or compression. Maximum sound output is 107 decibels (dB), and undistorted output peaks are in excess of 120 dB.
The Beginning of Lincoln’s Modern Era
The original 2000 LS, unveiled at the 1998 New York International Auto Show, was the first modern Lincoln developed with an equal emphasis on athletic vehicle dynamics and passenger comfort. It earned a reputation as an exceptionally engaging luxury sports sedan.
The LS was named Motor Trend magazine’s 2000 "Car of the Year," the "Best Luxury Car" in Motor Week’s 2000 and 2001 Driver’s Choice Awards, one of www.edmunds.com’s
"Top Five Cars for a Long Commute to Work," and one of "America’s Best" by the readers of AutoWeek magazine. LS also inspired the formation of the Lincoln LS Owners Club, which has more than 1,000 members in the United States and Canada. The club’s website is www.llsoc.com.
For 2003, the LS V-8 is available in "Sport" and "Premium Sport" models that are positioned squarely against other rear-wheel drive luxury sports sedans including the BMW 5-Series, Lexus GS-series, and high-end versions of the six-cylinder-only Cadillac CTS.
Standard equipment on the LS V-8 Sport includes a five-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift™, Sport suspension with 17-inch wheels and tires, all-speed traction control, a 12-speaker, 180-watt audiophile sound system, power-adjustable pedals, heated and cooled seats with leather seating surfaces and aluminum interior accents. The LS V-8 Premium Sport adds high-intensity discharge headlamps, real American walnut burl accents, AdvanceTrac™ traction and stability enhancement system, a power moonroof and other features.
The LS V-6 will be offered in two equipment levels that will compete against both front- and rear-wheel-drive luxury cars, including the Lexus ES300, Cadillac CTS, Chrysler 300M and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Standard equipment includes a five-speed automatic transmission, 16-inch wheels and tires, all-speed traction control, power-adjustable pedals, black lacquer interior trim and leather seating surfaces. The V-6 Premium adds a power moonroof, the audiophile sound system, American walnut burl accents and other features.
The THX-certified audio system, which is coupled with a DVD navigation system, is optional on all V-8 models and the V-6 Premium model.
Lincoln Group Marketing Manager Mike Crowley says the revised model lineup is simpler and designed to draw clearer lines between the V-8 series cars, which have historically accounted for about two-thirds of LS sales, and the V-6 cars.
"The LS V-8 is designed for the enthusiast driver. It has the widest performance envelope, the sharpest reflexes and the most sophisticated comfort, convenience and entertainment features," Crowley says. "The LS V-6 is more plush but still very agile and technologically advanced."
The LS Advantage: More Performance, More Room, More Choice
The new Lincoln LS has a large number of competitive advantages among midsize luxury vehicles, particularly in performance, package and comfort features.
A V-8 engine is not available in the Cadillac CTS, Acura TL or Lexus ES. Many competitive vehicles that do offer a V-8, including the BMW 5-Series and Lexus GS, have base prices that will be $5,000 or more higher than the LS V-8 Sport.
The LS V-6 – with more than 77 hp and 73 lbs.-ft. of torque per liter of displacement – is among the most powerful normally aspirated 3.0-liter V-6 engines in the world. It not only produces more horsepower and torque than BMW’s 3.0-liter in-line six cylinder engine, it also is more powerful than some larger V-6 engines, including the 3.2-liter V-6 installed in Cadillac’s CTS.
The relatively long 114.5-inch wheelbase of the LS translates into 102 cubic feet of interior volume. Rear seat legroom is particularly generous. LS has more legroom than BMW 5-Series, Cadillac CTS, Lexus GS300/430 and the front-wheel-drive Lexus ES 300.
LS has 13.5 cubic feet of trunk capacity – 22 percent more than a BMW 5-Series and 5 percent more than a Cadillac CTS.
A DVD navigation system is not available on Cadillac CTS, which instead uses slower CD-ROM technology. The Cadillac also lacks an electric parking brake, power-adjustable pedals and a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, all of which are standard on LS. Nor does CTS offer optional comfort and convenience features available on LS, including heated/cooled front seats and heated rear seats.
Crowley expects the LS will continue to draw new customers to Lincoln – 70 percent of LS buyers are new to the brand – by intercepting domestic and import buyers moving up from mainstream sedans and SUVs into the luxury market. About one-third of customers are women, and the average age of all LS customers is 51 years.
Final pricing will be announced closer to launch. But the LS V-6 will begin in the mid-$30,000 range and the LS V-8 Sport is expected to begin at about $40,000.
The Lincoln Commitment
All Lincoln LS customers receive the Lincoln Commitment, which is one of the most comprehensive customer care and warranty packages available.
Four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty
Transportation assistance and 24-hour roadside assistance
Three-year/36,000 mile Lincoln Complimentary Maintenance
Emergency travel expense reimbursement
Destination assistance and trip planning services
A customer assistance center dedicated to Lincoln owners
The 2003 Lincoln LS is built in Wixom, Mich., and will be in showrooms in late 2002.