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2003 Lincoln LS V8

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San Francisco: Let's be blunt. Lincoln exists because it knows how to satisfy geezers. Its flagship luxury sedan, the Town Car, is a highway barge that aims to float across potholes and glide over bumps without letting its Ensure-sipping driver notice any imperfections in the road. Only problem is that its super-soft suspension makes it handle like a drunk hippo.

A new generation of Americans, however, wants to buy American luxury cars that don't feel American. Rather than the marshmallowy, boat-like feel of big Lincolns and Cadillacs, they want cars that feel European - tight, fast and precise - which is exactly what the new Lincoln LS offers. It's the Town Car's polar opposite.

Think of the big, classic Town Car as a fat couch potato and the lean LS as a wide receiver in the NFL - or at least a pro golfer. It's certainly not your grandpa's Lincoln, and it's helping to redefine American luxury in a new century.

Younger Lincoln buyers, many of whom previously worshipped at the altar of BMW and Lexus, like the LS because it has the look and feel of a high-end import with a pleasingly American price, a combination that spells a full frontal assault on the dominance of Europe and Japan in the sports-sedan arena. It's no pretender.

Starting around $33,000 for a well-equipped V6 model, the LS offers a terrific mix of luxury and excitement with swift acceleration, confident braking, sports-car-like steering, and inspirational handling. Its performance closely matches that of the BMW 5-series and exceeds that of the Mercedes-Benz E-class, both of which cost thousands more than a similarly equipped LS. Watch out for pricey options, though, which can easily push its price to $45,000 or higher.

While the 2003 LS isn't an entirely new car, more than 500 of its parts were changed since last year, Lincoln claims. The result is a car that is not just a second-rate contender, as was the 2002 model, but a truly world-class sports sedan that can compete with the big boys.

One of the most noticeable changes is variable valve timing for both the V6 and V8 engines, making them smoother and more powerful than last year's merely competent powerplants. A 3.0-liter V6 makes 232 horsepower (17 more than last year), and the more popular 3.9-liter V8 cranks out a buttery 280 horses (28 more than in 2002). Both are good choices.

Despite the higher power output, interior noise is improved with extra insulation and more refined engineering, making the LS cabin surprisingly quiet without adding weight. Leather seats are standard on all models, dash materials are top-notch, driving controls are well placed, and gauges have a classy, stylish look. Interior construction seems solid around the front seats and on the dash, but some trim around the back-seat roof feels cheap and flimsy.

Exterior styling is understated and elegant, with clear influence from BMW in its front end. A classy split grille with taut, creasing lines looks blatantly European to mirror the car's handling and performance.

Why buy it? It's a legitimate alternative to the high-priced European and Japanese sports sedans that are crowding the streets of suburban America. From a performance perspective, it's breathtaking. Overall, it's encouraging to see Lincoln make such a sporty, well-executed sedan that's not stodgy like the Town Car. Finally, there's a new "Hot Rod Lincoln." By Derek Price AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  Sporty LS is not your Grandpa's Lincoln
Topic:  2003 Lincoln LS V8
Word Count:   628
Photo Caption:  2003 Lincoln LS V8
Photo Credits:  Lincoln Internet Media
Series #:   2003 - 40

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2003 Lincoln LS V8

Download the original image file here:  2003 Lincoln LS V8 28k

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Publisher - Editor:   Tony Leopardo
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