Ford Motor Co. took a page from German design manuals when it loaded the new Lincoln LS6 and LS8 with sophisticated hardware.
Like the BMW and Mercedes-Benz models it will compete against, the LS cars use longitudinal front engines to drive rear wheels. Ford wanted an even weight distribution badly enough to locate the LS' batteries in the trunk. Weight balance improves handling.
Behind the signature Lincoln vertical grille is a choice of two all-aluminum engines.
The LS6 uses a higher performance variant of the Ford Taurus 3.0-liter, 24-valve V-6. It was re-engineered for the Lincolns with stronger crankshaft and connecting-rod components and a new intake manifold. The engine produces 200hp.
The LS8 uses a 3.9-liter, 32-valve V-8 based on the 4.0-liter V-8 in the Jaguar XK8 coupe. The engine produces 250hp.
Both engines come with a choice of two all-new five-speed automatic transmissions, including a semi automatic gearbox Ford calls SelectShift. Drivers can leave it in automatic or manually shift gears by toggling the gear selector. Thinking of Europe, Ford engineers gave the LS6 the first manual transmission offered in a Lincoln in more than 30 years.
The LS cars have an independent multilink rear suspension tuned to prevent the nose from diving during heavy braking.
In front is an independent short-arm, long-arm suspension. Aluminum control arms reduce unsprung weight, which aids handling.
Ford equipped the LS with antilock brakes and an optional electronic yaw control that modulates the throttle and brakes to prevent skids.
The Lincoln shares a platform with the Jaguar S-Type, but it will be positioned below it. Ford has not decided whether to sell the Lincolns through Ford dealers or through a new franchise. European sales start in 1999.