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mustang84

2001 Lincoln LS

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Review: 2001 Lincoln LS V8

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The Lowdown

*81,600 miles

*3.9L Jaguar-derived V8

*DEW98 Platform shared with the Jaguar S-Type and the 2002-2005 Ford Thunderbird

*5-speed automatic transmission (standard, not SelectShift equipped)

*252 hp @ 6100 RPM / 267 lb*ft @ 4300 rpm

*114.5" wheelbase / 193.5" long / 73.2" wide

*3692 lb curb weight

*Features: glove box 6 CD changer, power seats, power tilt & telescoping steering wheel, memory seating, heated mirrors, automatic headlights, instant fuel economy gauge, auto-dimming rearview mirror, folding rear seat, front valet key system

*Safety features: traction control, rain-sensing wipers, front and side airbags, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS

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This Lincoln LS was born at the height of the DotCom boom, a time when Ford was poised to become the largest automaker in the world and Lincoln had become the best-selling luxury marquee just two years earlier. Part of the Premier Auto Group, the swanky California studio brought car enthusiasts a credible American sport sedan after decades of retreat into ill-handling mediocrity. Originally to be named LS6 and LS8, Lexus threw a fit. Ford threw a fit back concerning Toyota's T-150 concept, so a mutual agreement was made that the new Lincoln would simply be called LS and Toyota agreed to call its new truck Tundra instead.

The engine under the hood of my LS is a 3.9L V8 making 252 hp and 267 lb*ft of torque. When it first went on sale, reviews complained that the LS was underpowered compared to some of the competition at the time. Despite that, it still pulls 0-60 in 6.8 seconds with the standard 5-speed auto. My car is not equipped with the 5-speed SelectShift auto that allows you to manually choose your gear and may be able to squeak out a slightly better 0-60. This brings me to my first negative; the transmission is a little goofy at times. The first three gears have a narrow range and shifts happen at 15 mph, 28 mph, and 38 mph, which is somewhat annoying if you're just driving around town at low speeds. There is a TSB that came out in 2001 to reprogram the shift intervals which apparently helps this issue and I plan on having it done sometime in the near future, so I'll update at a later time. Also, the shifter is a little looser than I would like it to be.

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The engine is by no means loud. When you romp on it, the V8 is fairly muted but does emit enough of a growl to let you know there are eight cylinders firing under the hood. While the engine is quiet, one annoying nuance is that the classic Ford power steering whine is present. For fuel economy, hard city driving yields between 17.5 and 18.5 mpg, while gentler city driving can yield 19 or 20 mpg. On the highway with cruise set at 75, it will easily get 26-27 mpg with 28-29 possible at lower speeds. The best I have achieved so far is 29.6 mpg. The engine bay is very tight, which is why the Ford modular 4.6L was never used in this car. In fact, it's so tight that the battery is in the trunk and also helps with the near 50/50 weight balance ratio. The 2000-2002 Lincoln LS's had a hydraulic radiator fan which has its own reservoir that one fills with transmission fluid. It is a little on the loud side, which is why they went to an electric fan for the 2003-2006 models.

The platform is the expensive but agile DEW98, shared with the Jaguar S-Type and Ford Thunderbird. What this car lacks in power, it makes up for in handling. The only other American car at the time that could touch the LS in handling would have been the Corvette and Viper. Cornering is tight with no body roll and the LS stays level and composed under hard acceleration or braking. Steering is crisp and the car is very composed under high speeds. It's really a shame Ford abandoned this platform for non-Jaguar cars, because this one one of the best handling sedans on the road at the time and helped inspire development of the Cadillac CTS.

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Inside the cabin, the materials are high quality considering what was being placed in American cars around the dawn of the new Millennium. The dash and door plastics are slightly spongy, with harder plastic being located on the underside of the dash. The glove box is fairly solid and heavy. The storage compartment and arm rest has real leather padding on top, and the seats are also a very high quality leather (nicer than most modern leather seats I have sat in such as the BMW 5-series and Lexus GS). The shifter and steering wheel have real burled walnut wood, while the rest of the trim is plood. The burled walnut shifter was an option. There are no rattles and squeaks after 80,000 miles, and the cabin is very quiet inside. The doors are heavy and close with a solid thud. The cheapness shines through with the instrument cluster and center console radio, both which feature old Ford tech and 80's era green lighting. But overall, the interior is solid and well put-together with decent quality materials.

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Front legroom is ample for a 6'-4" driver like myself. Rear passengers also have a decent amount of legroom due to the opera style seating that raises them up a few inches above passengers in the front seats. Headroom is also abundant, and at 73.5 wide, it is only four inches short of a Crown Victoria so there is plenty of room to wiggle about. The LS also has a folding rear seat that allows for transportation of longer objects. in the trunk. The trunk is also fairly large.

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The LS V8 has all standard power features, plus a power tilting and telescoping steering wheel, and 8-way power seats. When the door is opened, the steering wheel automatically tilts up to the highest position to allow easy entry. The front seats also have a memory seating function, which includes two settings that can be saved and activated via buttons on the door. The LS has automatic headlights, heated side mirrors, a power dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, front and side airbags, and a valet key system that only works on the doors and ignition. The instrument cluster has a readout that displays instant fuel economy, miles left of fuel, and percentages for oil life, air filter life, and other statistics. The readout is activated with buttons located above the radio. In the glove box is a 6-disc CD changer that is about the size of a dual-album Led Zeppelin Greatest Hits CD case. It's easily removed with a push of a button and packs in six CD's (although it won't read CD-R's or MP3 CD's). The traction control button is located on the center console next to the cupholders, and is turned on automatically every time the car is started. The LS also has Ford's annoying "Belt-Minder" chime, but I always use a seat belt so this never a problem. One final downside is that storage is very limited in this car; the arm rest storage can only hold about 5 CD's, and there is not much space under the seats or in the glove box to store items.

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Top 5 Highs

1) Excellent handling; extremely composed and balanced

2) Bank vault quiet cabin

3) Solid construction inside and out with no rattles or squeaks

4) Peppy engine, if a little underpowered

5) Comfortable leather seats of high quality material

Top 5 Lows

1) Annoying shift timing

2) Lack of storage space

3) Power steering whine

4) Bean counter radio and instrument cluster

5) Low stance that is not fond of curbs or speed bumps

What has been replaced since purchase

Front passenger door lock mechanism - $262

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My CarDomain page with more pictures: http://www.cardomain.com/ride/3350456

Edited by mustang84
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I recall being impressed with the LS when it first came out. It was hot for its time, and Cadillac had nothing like it, that I knew of. Oh yeah, the Catera. Once again, nothing like it.

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I had an LS as a rental car once. I was quite surprised. Pretty nice car...reminded me a lot of my 5.

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I recall being impressed with the LS when it first came out. It was hot for its time, and Cadillac had nothing like it, that I knew of. Oh yeah, the Catera. Once again, nothing like it.

I had an '02 LS V8......and it was one of my most favorite and best cars I've ever owned. I had a dealer friend pick it up from an option....and I think I only paid $18K for it....

I was amazed how import-like it felt.....the engine was a revver, and was very smooth and quiet.....and the car really handled nicely....AND my car didn't even have the sport package with the sport suspension.....and it wasn't a bit floaty, either.

Loved the interior and fit-and-finish too......

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I had an '02 LS V8......and it was one of my most favorite and best cars I've ever owned. I had a dealer friend pick it up from an option....and I think I only paid $18K for it....

I was amazed how import-like it felt.....the engine was a revver, and was very smooth and quiet.....and the car really handled nicely....AND my car didn't even have the sport package with the sport suspension.....and it wasn't a bit floaty, either.

Loved the interior and fit-and-finish too......

I've talked with 3 other former LS owners and all of them gushed over their cars. One guy I saw at a Cadillac store looking over new CTS's and he said he would've had been looking at another LS if Lincoln was still making them.

Did you ever have any major mechanical issues or repairs? All three I talked to said their cars were reliable, but I've read some user reviews that makes it seem like reliability can be hit or miss with these cars.

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They were/are sharp cars..I was behind one in traffic this morning and noticed the taillights, plate surround, and back up lights were different than yours...narrower taillights...must have been an MCE at some point.

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They were/are sharp cars..I was behind one in traffic this morning and noticed the taillights, plate surround, and back up lights were different than yours...narrower taillights...must have been an MCE at some point.

Yep, 2003-2006 they looked like this. Personally I like the newer ones better too, but I got a better buy with the 2001.

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