Home » The Lincoln MKZ 3.0T AWD Might Just Be The Cheapest Way To Get A Sedan With 400 Horsepower And Apple CarPlay

The Lincoln MKZ 3.0T AWD Might Just Be The Cheapest Way To Get A Sedan With 400 Horsepower And Apple CarPlay

Lincoln Mkz Slept On Ts
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Clear your head for a second. I want you to imagine a 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged sedan with a fancy rear differential, Michelin summer tires, and a tremendous sound system. What image pops into your head? Perhaps you’re imagining some permutation of BMW 5 Series, or a moderately spicy Cadillac, or even a fast Audi. All of those are plausible contenders, but what I really want you to focus on is the Lincoln MKZ 3.0T AWD.

This American midsize luxury sedan may be a fancy Ford Fusion, but with the right mix of options, it offers serious shove and modern amenities while completely flying under the radar of, well, everyone. It even flies under the radar of resale value. In fact, it might be the cheapest way to get four doors, 400 horsepower, and factory Apple CarPlay, a possibility that seems rather tantalizing. So how did we get here?

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Welcome back to Beige Cars You’re Sleeping On, a weekly series in which we raise the profile of some quiet greats. We’re talking vehicles that are secretly awesome, but go unsung because of either a boring image or the lack of an image altogether.

When the second-generation Lincoln MKZ launched in 2013, there wasn’t much indication that it would grow to be a proper sleeper. Sure, it was comfortable and reasonably practical, but it didn’t have much sportiness to its step. However, thanks to a bit of tricky options list chicanery, an early sign of life appeared. When Edmunds took delivery of a 2013 MKZ 3.7-liter V6 test car, the organization found it was running on Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer tires available as part of the 19-Inch Summer Tire Handling Package. Given the low take rate of this option, some drama happened, with Edmunds writing:

Red flag. We contacted Lincoln and the response smacked of desperation. Seems the Lincoln engineers insisted on mounting these tires on all of the MKZs earmarked for media testing on the West Coast. They know us car tester types like impressive track numbers to bloviate about, and being in California means cold weather isn’t an issue.

I reckon the drama was all for nothing. In new car evaluation, anything on the options list is fair game, and the effects of the Michelin summer tires seem tremendous. As Edmunds reported:

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Because of those tires, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ went through our slalom at 69.2 mph. That’s just 1 mph slower than the last 911 we tested, and a couple tenths quicker than the BMW M5. We repeat, the Lincoln MKZ beat the M5.

Somewhere underneath the slightly odd styling was a car that could put up some impressive numbers. In 2017, the list of impressive numbers grew when Lincoln downloaded the three-liter twin-turbocharged V6 from the Continental to its entry-level sedan. In front-wheel-drive MKZs, this engine put out 350 horsepower, but if you ticked the box for all-wheel-drive, output climbed to an even 400. That’s E39 BMW M5 power stuffed into an unassuming Lincoln sedan. Helped by an even 400 lb.-ft. of torque, the result was a zero-to-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds in Car And Driver instrumented testing, and that’s quick by any standards.

Lincoln Mkz 1

Tick the box for the Driver’s Package on the 3.0T AWD model, and you didn’t just get summer tires, you also got an electromechanical torque-vectoring rear differential, unique suspension tuning, and seat bolsters that hugged you in the corners. The end result is a surprisingly capable sleeper that simply looks like it’s on the way to the golf course. Oh, and in 2019, that fancy torque-vectoring differential and sport-tuned suspension became standard on all 3.0T AWD models. Score.

So, does playing the options sheet transform the Lincoln MKZ into a sports sedan? Not really. It’s fast, and it’ll properly bewilder on-ramp tailgaters, but it’s still comfort-oriented, and therein lies the appeal. Vast stretches of North America are flat, open, and connected by arrow-straight highways and interstates. On long, routine highway slogs, razor-sharp handling is wasted and firm suspension can grow tiresome. At that point, why not set the cruise control to 70 mph and marvel at the amenities of the MKZ?

Lincoln MkZ Interior

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We’re talking about available luxuries like cooled all-day-comfortable front seats, a household outlet for charging your laptop, a solidly toasty heated steering wheel, a panoramic moonroof that slides over the rear window, a 10.1-inch screen in the instrument cluster, and dashes of metallic finishes about the interior. The top-spec stereo is a thumping 20-speaker Revel Ultima system, and given this car’s recent nature, there’s even wired Apple CarPlay for your iPhone. The cabin is genuinely library quiet, the rear seat legroom is huge, and almost everything has its own proper button. Admittedly, all of this sounds expensive, but because few people are looking at powerful Lincoln sedans, it really isn’t.

2020 Lincoln Mkz 1

Sure, the top-spec 3.0T AWD MKZ with the diff and all may be a rare bird, but here’s a 2020 model with 51,000 miles on the clock up for sale at a Wisconsin Ford dealer for just $26,438. That’s a gently-used 400-horsepower luxury sedan without hideous Germanic complexity for less than the price of a new base-model Toyota Camry. Sure, it might not be as efficient as or pack the warranty of a new Camry, but it’s not a shed either.

2017 Lincoln Mkz

Let’s say you’re into straight-line speed but are more focused on the luxury side of the equation than sportiness. Well, good news. The richly appointed Black Label models are out there, and they can be had cheap as well. Here’s a burgundy-on-burgundy 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T AWD Black Label for sale in Connecticut for $19,953. Sure, it may have 75,452 miles on the clock, but name a newer, cheaper sedan with 400 horsepower and Apple CarPlay.

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Lincoln Mkz 3

For a car that started off life as a Ford Fusion, the Lincoln MKZ blossomed into a criminally underrated highway crusher, a 400-horsepower lounge of leather and podcasts that, with the right tires, offers unexpected grip in the corners. These days, it’s a bargain, cloaked in beige to hide its sleeper appeal. If you’re looking for a comfortable, pragmatic, well-equipped, fast daily driver for sensible scratch, put the MKZ 3.0T AWD on your shortlist.

(Photo credits: Lincoln, Cars.com)

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The World of Vee
The World of Vee
1 month ago

You could get an MKZ with the 400hp turbo, or you could get a Continental with the same engine and Black Label trim for about 2-3k more and yes that’s the correct choice.

Myk El
Myk El
1 month ago

If I knew about these, I forgot. Should have looked for one when I got my current DD a couple of years ago.

Eric Smith
Eric Smith
1 month ago

Those wheels though…
I’d hope maybe there is an opportunity to make some money back on the purchase by selling those ugly things to some one and replace with something less ugly(?)

Thirdmort
Thirdmort
1 month ago

I drove one of these for an employee drive event. It was definitely powerful, but you could tell there was more power than the chassis could handle. It couldn’t handle any turns with all that power going through mostly the front wheels. It was fun for the drive, but a sport sedan it was not. Crazy how cheap they are now!

rctothefuture
rctothefuture
1 month ago

So would you get this or a Taurus SHO?

LarsVargas
LarsVargas
1 month ago
Reply to  rctothefuture

Personally, I’d got with the Lincoln over the Ford. I like the styling better. And it’s got more power. Not to mention more comfy.

M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
1 month ago
Reply to  rctothefuture

So are we going to get an article in the future about the Fusion Sport with AWD and Ecoboost 2.7 V6 as a cheap thrill? I know it has some electronic nannies but it seems like a cheap platform for modding.

rctothefuture
rctothefuture
1 month ago
Reply to  M0L0TOV

I’ve always heard they were incredibly underwhelming. While the 3.5 in the SHO is a much more powerful platform, the SHO seems to handle slightly better and offers a more competent ride. It seems that the Taurus was built for the 3.5T and the Fusion had it hamfisted in.

Kevin Herm
Kevin Herm
1 month ago

this feature was a throwaway line in the article, but, correct me if I’m wrong, but the MKZ is the only sedan ever sold with a single pane solid glass roof that OPENS nearly the full length and slides over the rear glass, it’s really beautiful to look at. I have the 300HP MKZ 3.7 AWD and it’s also a fantastic car.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago

If only it had a name…
…like Zephyr.

Handlebar
Handlebar
1 month ago

4300 lbs and an automatic. Throw in a purser, Julie the Cruise Director,, and maybe couple large anchors to throw overboard if you need to stop this barge, and I can see cruising in a straight line or on a highway.

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