It appears the Town Car’s days are numbered, which leaves only the MKZ, MKX crossover and upcoming MKS sedan in the brand’s car lineup. It also means that once the Town Car rolls off into that big retirement community in the sky, Lincoln may be left without a V-8 powered passenger car in its lineup.
Is this such a big deal? Maybe, maybe not. In all fairness, Ford’s domestic flagship division still offers the Navigator and Mark LT, both of which are supposedly slated for a major injection of horsepower within the next few years, courtesy of Ford’s upcoming "Boss" line of high-performance V-8 engines, possibly even including turbocharging.
But the fact remains that nearly all of Lincoln’s logical competitors offer V-8 passenger car models. Lexus: Yep, Infiniti: Uh-huh, Cadillac: You betcha. I could go on and on. The only premium brand that doesn’t offer V-8s is Acura, and with a V-10-powered NSX replacement supposedly on the way, don’t expect Honda’s voluntary moratorium on eight-pot powerplants to last forever.
Supposedly, the new TwinForce turbocharged V-6s will offer close to if not upward of 400 horsepower, certainly enough to put them in the same league as most of the V-8s of the luxury sedan segment. But do customers look at sheer power, or are they still fixated on the cylinder count?
Certainly the more sophisticated consumers can appreciate the efficiency gains realized by a smaller-displacement engine with power on an "as needed" basis from turbocharging. But for customers coming into a Lincoln showroom saying "So-and-so offers a V-8 in their model," what’s the salesman supposed to counter? "Well, our engine actually has more power than their V-8."
With the looming revised CAFE standards, perhaps Lincoln is simply way ahead of the curve of where most luxury brands will be in 5 years, when forced-induction, smaller-displacement motors will be the norm. So this could potentially be a smart move. But until gas prices get to the point of being intolerable, I’d venture to say that more likely than not, many potential Lincoln shoppers will say, "I could have a V-8" and buy elsewhere.
Maybe Mulally and friends have a few more tricks up their sleeves they’re not talking about. Namely, some Aussie Falcon RWD derivatives that feature V-8 power. If Lincoln is intent on being a major player in the luxury sphere, a V-8 powered flagship should be considered mandatory.