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Wednesday, April 22, 2009


metro drive33

Lincoln MKS tries younger look ROB BEINTEMA for Metro Canada

After almost a hundred years of automotive history, it’s easy to equate Lincoln with luxury. Which carries its own dangers of design inertia and hidebound tradition. But Lincoln designers seem to be aware that “tradition should be a guide, not a jailer.” Especially in the face of increased competition in the premium class. Lincoln continues to try to reinvent itself to appeal to a younger audience and a wider swath of the marketplace. It’s not an easy process. It requires the compromise of pleasing your regular fans with the familiar, while simultaneously trying to attract new buyers with novelty and innovation. The latest end result of that blended process — the 2009 Lincoln MKS. Central to the design, a striking double-wing grille, playing on Lincoln’s traditional waterfall grille motif, angles to the jewel-

2009 Lincoln MKS Type: Full-size premium sedan Price: from $47,799 Engine: 3.7-litre Duratec V6 (273 hp, 270 lb/ft)

The 2009 Lincoln MKS is taking the brand’s design DNA into a new era.

A palette of available interior colours and a long list of standard equipment are all found inside the 2009 Lincoln MKS.

Highlights • Full suite of modern gadgetry • Luxurious but trendy

styled headlamps that wrap around the vented front fascia and flow into a sharp crease along the high beltline. That high beltline is emphasized by the sweep of windshield, the elevated rear deck, and the deep seating and high console inside the car. In a new age of tall wagons, CUVs and other crossover hybrid styles, the MKS sits and feels very much like a traditional car, still typically North American in style and spirit. But, then again, this ain’t exactly Grandpa’s Lincoln. A full suite of very modern available technologies includes:

• SYNC, a hands-free, voiceactivated hands-free in-car communication and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft. The system integrates Bluetooth-enabled cellphones, your iPod, or other digital media players. • Intelligent Access with Push Button Start — a first for Lincoln — allows the driver to unlock the vehicle with the fob or touch the heat-sensitive keyless entry pad on the B-Pillar and start the engine with a push-button on the instrument panel. As tested, my frontwheel-drive model behaved civilly enough, wrig-

gling with a little torque steer only under the hardest acceleration, pulling the MKS’ somewhat porky


Business, not bombs, is booming at Baghdad car dealerships, as well-heeled Iraqis are indulging in a passion long out of reach — spiffy, new cars. BMWs, Nissans, Hyundais and even military-style Hummers are now weaving around the shabby, smokebelching wrecks and donkey carts that have clogged the streets over two decades of sanctions and war. That may make Baghdad one of the few cities worldwide where the auto industry is doing relatively well — at least compared to the worst of the war, when sales were stagnant. With its limited banking system, Iraq has largely avoided the global financial meltdown. And unlike elsewhere in the world, gas prices aren’t much of a deterrent to those Iraqis eager and able to catch up with the good life behind the wheel of a new car. Not so long ago, cruising the capital in a new car was asking for trouble. Carjackers were seemingly everywhere — either envious militiamen or kidnappers on the lookout for victims with enough cash to pay fat ransoms. Those bad days are not entirely over. But with vio-

Iraqi women walk past new cars at a dealership in Baghdad.

“Nowadays, most people are not afraid of driving fancy new cars.” Car dealer Hassan Saleh lence ebbing, Iraqis who can afford it are eager to live large and bask in the status that only a nice new car can bring. “Despite the high price, driving a new car gives me a great sense of happiness and comfort,” said Muhannad Khazim as he cruised an upscale neighbourhood with three friends in a 2007 Hyundai Elantra he’d bought two days earlier. The city traffic depart-

ment refused to say how many new cars were registered over the last year. But showrooms are popping up in safer neighbourhoods around town to meet the demand. Hassan Saleh, who sells Japanese and South Korean four-wheel-drive vehicles and American-made Hummers at an east Baghdad dealership, attributes the boom to better security, which has given Iraqis the confidence to treat themselves to luxuries. “Nowadays, most people are not afraid of driving fancy new cars in the streets. Two years ago, that meant imminent danger of being kidnapped for ransom,” said Saleh. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

1872 kg (4127 lbs) of curb weight satisfactorily up to speed with a burly background roar. Fuel economy

numbers vary according to sources but we’ll go with the optimistic Canadian Energuide ratings of 12.9/8.8L/100km (city/hwy).

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