- Handsome, non-controversial styling.
- Interior volume more than larger, more expensive cars.
- Confidence-inspiring handling.
- Smooth V8 engine with more power.
- A lot of car for the price.
- Some may find the non-controversial styling boring.
- Interior room not utilized efficiently, along with a small trunk.
- Suspension has been softened - now more luxury than sport.
- Questionable build quality.
- Too heavy for spirited driving.
Press Coverage :
The LS 3.9-liter DOHC V8 engine, which now incorporates variable intake valve timing, produces 28 more horsepower for a total of 280 hp, and 21 lbs.-ft. more torque for a total of 286 lb-ft. Some 250 lb-ft of torque is available at only 2,000 rpm.
The engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Sport models can be ordered with SelectShift, which allows the driver to manually control up- and downshifts. SelectShift has been improved to allow the driver to manually select first gear at launch. The previous generation system required a wide-open throttle launch to engage first gear.
Combined city/highway fuel economy for the V-8 LS is expected to improve by as much as one mile per gallon, subject to final certification testing.
The LS suspension has new 16-inch aluminum wheels and wider P225/55VR16 Continental ContiTouring Contact all-season tires, which replace the previous carís standard P215/60R16 tires. Other changes include larger diameter shock absorbers with greater tuning flexibility, lower front spring rates for improved ride and retuned stabilizer bars. The front bars have "grippy" bushings for reduced lateral compliance. The rear shocks now include rebound springs, which improve body control and handling stability. The lower control arm bushings and subframe mounts also are new for improved NVH.
The LS Sport suspension features new 17-inch aluminum wheels and P235/50VR17 Michelin MXM4 all-season tires. Sport models have higher damping rate shock absorbers and larger stabilizer bars to provide a more controlled ride and less body roll. In addition, the new ZF steering system is tuned for higher efforts for a more direct and sporty feel.
The software governing Lincolnís AdvanceTrac traction and stability enhancement system now incorporates understeer control. Understeer control provides improved steering control and maneuverability on snow and ice and also in dry road emergency situations where high lateral accelerations are induced.
New adjustable pedals, revised brake boosters and a retuned pedal return spring provide lower brake efforts, improved pedal feel and better control of braking power. Sport models have aluminum rear calipers to reduce unsprung weight.
Ford Motor Company
Meting out the power is a carryover five-speed automatic transmission; the V8 still gets an automanual function called SelectShift. This year, drivers will be able to select first gear manually in the SelectShift mode when accelerating from a stop (before now, only a full-throttle launch allowed you to go into first). Beyond that, we're hoping that Lincoln has finally worked out all of this transmission's kinks, including hesitation between shifts and occasional freewheeling, that plagued previous test cars. Our brief test drive revealed crisp, timely shifts.
Of course, the proportion of driving enthusiasts to those who drive because they need to drive are skewed toward the latter; to that end, Lincoln has softened up the ride of the LS, in response to complaints that the sport suspension-equipped versions rode too harshly. However, the company maintains that handling levels are just as good, with no increases in body roll due to larger shock absorbers and a stiffer front crossmember. Our drive revealed terrific road manners on the well-paved roads on and around the Blue Ridge Parkway of the Appalachians, with little body roll when tossed into the twisties and a more compliant ride over some of the rough roads.
From its inception, the LS has shared its chassis with the upscale Jaguar S-Type, and currently, the toothsome Ford Thunderbird. All three receive similar changes to their engines and suspensions for '03. Eight-cylinder LS models also boast higher shock-absorber damping rates, larger stabilizer bars and quicker steering ratio. The V8s also ride on 17-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot P235/50VR17 tires, an upgrade from the 16-inch Continental ContiTouringContacts on the nonsport V6s.
Steering feel has already been a forte of the LS, and this year Lincoln goes one better with a ZF Servotronic II rack and pinion steering system. While it emits just as much road feel as the previous LS, turning effort has been lightened up a bit. Only enthusiasts are bound to notice and complain; most others will likely appreciate the decreased resistance.
Braking is enhanced with the addition of BrakeAssist, a system that kicks in the ABS even when the driver doesn't apply enough force. Lincoln's stability control system, dubbed AdvanceTrac, is an option for all models except for the V8 with the Premium package, which has it standard. Also, power-adjustable pedals help you achieve the perfect driving position so as to avoid unseemly situations in the first place.
Although there was no opportunity to square-off against any Bavarian metal, my ability to give the four-door American icon a good workout wasnt impeded. One stab of the gas pedal confirmed that this is not your fathers Lincoln, nor your uncles or anyone elses that might prefer comfort over performance. This is a purpose-built performance sedan designed for the exec that has outgrown his 5-liter Mustang and now seeks prestige, comfort and get-up-and-go in a four-door package.
"Swooping through hairpins," in a Lincoln you ask? You bet I confidently reply. The LS was recognized as a superb handling sports sedan from day one. Fast forward to the 2003 LS V8, Sport or Premium Sport model, and youll have seated yourself in the cockpit of a razor-sharp handling sedan that attaches itself to the roadway like the painted center-line.
Acceleration and tenacious handling are the two main attributes to this hot rod Lincoln. The 280-horses generated by the potent V8 come to work early and stay late, meaning the torque is there whenever required. This isnt an engine that only puts out when nearing redline or runs out of breath in the same zone. Its powerband is very flat and linear. Acceleration doesnt peak and valley as it does in many cars that claim lots of horsepower.
Also if not properly transmitted to the wheels through the well spaced gear ratios, the engines power and torque can be severely compromised. Not so in the LS. The engineers have found gear-ratio nirvana, with first arriving and departing in a blur, at which point second gear kicks in and maintains the thrill-ride briefly before third gear takes the reins without missing a beat. As a general observation, I would say the LS gear ratios feel on the low side; when most cars are still winding out first gear, the Lincoln is likely well into second gear and on its way to third. Such gear ratio manipulation is one of the benefits of a five-speed transmission. The extra gear or two enable engineers to maximize acceleration without compromising highway fuel efficiency.
American Auto Press
2000-2002 Lincoln LS V8
3,933 cc / 252 hp / 261 lb-ft / 3728 lbs / 0-60 mph 7.2 sec.