The 2011 Lincoln MKX comes with a 3.7-liter V6. Based on the same architecture as the smaller 3.5-liter V6, the 3.7-liter V6 is rated at 305 horsepower and 285 foot-pounds of torque (an increase of 40 horsepower over the previous-generation). It uses twin independent variable camshaft timing on both intake and exhaust valves to provide low emissions and big torque at low rpm, and good highway fuel economy when the engine is cruising.
The 6-speed automatic transmission comes with a SelectShift manual-control shifter. Electronically controlled part-time all-wheel-drive, which adds torque to the rear tires as needed, is optional on all models.
We drove the all-wheel-drive version of the 2011 Lincoln MKX, a well-equipped, heavily optioned version. The additional horsepower and torque of the revised 3.7-liter V6 engine, and the speed of the 6-speed transmission's shifting show up from the first minute. The engine accelerates the Lincoln MKX very quickly, and the engine sounds strong for a V6.
While highway cruising, the cabin is very, very quiet, and speech intelligibility around the cabin is excellent. Lincoln engineers have used acoustic windshield glass, thick side glass, shapelier mirror housings, and lots of other measures to keep the Lincoln MKX as quiet as possible, and it certainly shows when carrying on a conversation with rear-seat passengers at 80 mph on an Interstate highway.
The steering is sharper and more communicative than before, and the combination of front struts and rear trailing arms in the suspension system impart a nice, smooth ride with good cornering behavior. Everything in the braking system has been replaced with heavier-duty and better quality components, and the pedal feel and pedal attack are greatly improved. Now deceleration starts much earlier in the pedal's travel, and the braking force is stronger and more linear. All models come with ABS, brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, traction control, yaw control, rollover mitigation software, and tire-pressure monitoring on top of the all-wheel-drive system.
Lincoln's standard front-drive and all-wheel-drive system has new control software for 2011, and now incorporates a Hill-Hold feature that allows the driver to push the foot brake down once and release it to keep from rolling backwards on a hill. Electronic trailer sway control is tied into the traction and yaw control systems, and the Lincoln MKX is rated for towing up to 3500 pounds when the trailer tow package is ordered.