By on October 5, 2009


Automobile Magazine, Motor Trend and Ford’s Advertising Department bring you If you were waiting for a last straw to cancel your subscription, this should just about do the trick.

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32 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose Edition...”

  • avatar

    A fair challenge: the Lincoln VS BMW 535xi. Turbo 6 awd vs turbo 6 awd. Elevation gives forced induction a big help.

  • avatar

    Everyone wants to see Ford do well of course, but this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. First of all, who cares about a test done at 12,000 feet? BMW took 1st place followed by the Lincoln? And the Lincoln bested the Mercedes, Maserati, and the Jag? Anyone who doesn’t know that Auto magazines are weighted by advertising dollars is fooling themselves, but this is over the top.

  • avatar

    A once reputable publication, down on its luck, turns to prostitution – now there is a sad story.

  • avatar

    They should pit these against the s55 that a certain TTAC comentator drives, they wouldn’t stand a chance.

  • avatar

    Actually I thought it was interesting – particularly in the marketing message and what this tells of Ford’s handling of Lincoln. I don’t think the point of Lincoln is to be a Sport Luxury brand, as the vehicles they lined up to compete were. I think the point is to try and make Lincoln out to be a viable alternative to Sport Luxury buyers who might not really need the sport branding but don’t want to feel as if they are buying out of that segment either.

    I’d be the last to say Lincoln is a Sport Lux competitor but imagine the same test with cars vehicles in its class – like the Saab 9-5 or Lexus GS (I’ll admit, in my mind the MKS is somewhere between competing with Lexus down to Hyundai’s lux models – and this may not be something anyone will agree with me on). But I can say GM must be kicking themselves they never showed the G8 in such a light.

  • avatar

    Less than 5% difference across the different models, in the mountains, with one test per car… Anyone who doesn’t yell “driver effect” should be banned from all future comparos.

    Based on the propaganda accompanying this “test”, the hypothesis is that a boosted engine will make up the difference in power at high altitude. So why, pray tell, are they zipping around curves and using total time as their point of comparison?

    The logical thing to do is to eliminate the driver, the handling characteristics, and the road itself. Take these cars to a high-altitude location, strap them to a chassis dyno, and make numerous runs. Compare all of the relevant engine performance data, and show a detailed report to justify the conclusion of which engine is “best”. Handling questions can be addressed elsewhere.

    This kind of “test” would be rejected from most high school science fairs as an improper design for answering the question at hand. As they say in certain circles when absurd results are used improperly, “not even wrong”.

  • avatar

    Don’t go comparing your products to the likes of Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar and Maserati because you just don’t measure up! The average consumer knows this because your products aren’t built as well (bar the Maserati) and more importantly don’t cost as much! Not only that, but an utter failure of a car company has recently tried to compare it’s vehicles to everything else and utterly failed.
    Ford – you can do MUCH better advertising than this without making yourself look like a laughing stock.

  • avatar

    MarkySparky: They wouldn’t have needed a helicopter for that.

    This kind of thing may work for store brand vs. name brand window cleaner or diapers, but even then people know they’re not necessarily getting the same quality. To put Lincoln into the same type of comparison just makes it look bad.

    “Smart shoppers know that they can save $20k and get the same 12,000 foot hill-climbing performance. Why pay more?”


  • avatar

    I think everyone is missing the point. No serious car guy is going to confuse a Lincoln with a 535xi, they’re very different animals.

    This sort of advertising works when the target market is those who have no real idea of what a 535xi is about. Shorthand: we’re not the target demographic.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    What you say? A forced-induction V6 with AWD can beat a normally-aspirated V8 with RWD up a mountain climb track? I wonder what the result would have been if the Lincoln had been compared to an A6 3.0T. Probably not so good.

  • avatar
    Ryan Knuckles

    the last few comments beat me to it. This is just a cheap ploy to give their car (brand) a a halo. Any real comparison would be drastically different, but that’s not the point. Joe Paycheck will see this ad, think a bit more highly of Lincoln because it is compared to exotic brands, and hop on down to his FLM dealer for a test drive. Has he ever been in a BMW or Maserati? No. Thus he has nothing to compare it to and th ad served its purpose.

  • avatar

    ” I wonder what the result would have been if the Lincoln had been compared to an A6 3.0T. Probably not so good. ”

    A6 3.0T = 13.74 lbs/hp
    MKS 3.5TT = 12.04 lbs/hp

    I’m sure the A6 3.0T would not do better than 172 seconds.

  • avatar

    Well, so much for the credibility of two magazines…bleach. At least you don’t see C/D and R/T doing this kind of shit.

    Can’t blame Ford – they’re just buying advertising. It’s not their fault that these mags sold their credibility out to them.

    Having said that, though, this is an interesting challenge. Clearly, the MKS turbo is a darned fast car – it must be, because if it handles anything like the normally aspirated version I drove, it ain’t gonna get second place based on its chassis.

  • avatar

    The next time I live at 11k feet, I might consider it. If I don’t commit suicide up there first…

  • avatar

    dasko :
    October 5th, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    A fair challenge: the Lincoln VS BMW 535xi. Turbo 6 awd vs turbo 6 awd. Elevation gives forced induction a big help.

    I think the 550’s a better bet in this particular test. The 535 would give up about 50 horsepower to the Lincoln, forced induction or not.

    Now, put the M Sport package on the 535, and do the test DOWNHILL, and you’ve got a race. I guarantee you the BMW will outhandle the Lincoln.

    But, hey, props to Lincoln.

  • avatar

    Ajax :
    October 5th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    The next time I live at 11k feet, I might consider it. If I don’t commit suicide up there first…

    Loveland Pass is a great road to drive fast…done so quite a few times.

  • avatar

    Ha! I just saw this from another source and was coming onto TTAC to submit it… I apologize for doubting that TTAC would have already been on it!

    What a preposterous advertorial. Looks like FoMoCo has a new lineup of outlandish pseudo-ads like this, considering the earlier Taurus vs. Acura RL near-a-jet-engine test.

    Now I know Motor Trend had sold out long ago, but I didn’t think AutomobileMag was as far up the manufacturers a$$ as MT.

    bunkie, yes, your point is valid that we may not be the target demographic… however, the effectively almost-lie of this ad makes the target demographic that of The Moron.

    As I mentioned in my post on the aforementioned RL-vs-Taurus article, this falls under that (il)logic often used by political campaigners: it’s not quite a lie, but it is not being truthful.


    While we’re at it, the name “EcoBoost” is in that same vein of deception. When I first heard the term, I reasonably expected some kind of highly efficient 1.4L turbo-direct-super thing; instead we have a 355hp/350lbs-ft power monster. I commend it for its power, but it is an effective lie in its name. Its fuel consumption figures are the same or worse than equivalent V8 engines; where’s the “Eco” in that? Again, not quite a lie, but far from the truth.

    I had some respect for “new Ford” in these times, but this is chipping away chopping away at it.

  • avatar

    When Ford Australia first introduced the turbocharged version of its 6 cylinder Falcon it was demonstrably faster than the V8 hero car and also handled better due to having less weight on the front wheels and better balance overall. However, years later, the V8 is still the bigger seller because your average revhead wants to hear the burble of a V8 and feel the inherent imbalance of the cylinder configuration rocking him at idle. To a larrikin jackeroo it’s V8 only. Whackers!!

  • avatar

    Heck, I rode my bicycle over that pass, and 4 others of similar elevation in Colorado during a week long cycling vacation.

  • avatar

    Okay I don’t get all of the surprise. As someone who appreciates a good car no matter who makes it, can someone tell me why this ad is untrue and why the Magazine sold out? All magazines live on ads. Why is this one so different? What did Ford do that was so wrong? There job is to sell cars. Is there anything that is not true in the ad. I actually don’t get it. Anybody want to explain all of the consternation. Thanks

  • avatar

    Did Ford lobby to have the specifics of the challenge be beneficial to the Lincoln? Of couse, but is that inherently wrong? In the end, the test was done fairly, with all cars being given the same shot. In the end the Lincoln didn’t even win, but I don’t think it had to to prove the point.

    To too many people the image of Lincoln is still the Town Car and perhaps the Navigator. People associate Lincoln with big floaty cars for old people. This test which shows that the MKS can run with the big dogs, and do so at a price point at least $10,000 less than any of them, could be an eye opener for a lot of people.

    People still aren’t going to buy the Lincoln if they are looking for the best sports sedan, because it isn’t the best sports sedan, it isn’t even a sports sedan period. However, those looking for a luxury car who want something that has some sporty capabilities can now know Lincoln is a brand worth checking out.

    Kman – The fuel economy of the Lincoln MKS EcoBoost is 17/25, better than every single other car in the comparo, better even comparing the only AWD Lincoln to the RWD versions of the other V8 cars.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    I really don’t see the problem with Ford doing this ad series. Isn’t the job of their marketing firm to improve the perception of the brand? The concept of creating challenges that they don’t win but show well is interesting to me. Maybe the idea is long-term. They aren’t looking for a sales boost for the current MKS. Perhaps what they want is to get the idea in your head that the MKS is somewhere in the same league as these premium sedans. And then in a few years the brand new MKS comes out and the question is “does this new MKS go from mid-pack to class-leader?” instead of “does this new MKS deserve to be compared against the leaders?”

    But isn’t it the job of the magazine editors to say “no” to things like this? It’s a huge reputation killer.

  • avatar
    Eric Bryant

    The fuel economy of the Lincoln MKS EcoBoost is 17/25, better than every single other car in the comparo

    And the fuel economy of a Chrysler 300C AWD with the 5.7 Hemi (360 HP, 390 lb-ft) is 16/23 – and I don’t think anyone would believe that only 1-2 MPG better in a car of similar size is anything near “eco”.

    I like the whole concept of downsized direct-injection forced-induction engines, but it seems as if they have yet to prove any sort of significant advantage.

    Getting back to the main thrust of this post – so what we have here is another American luxury wannabe attempting to show a favorable comparison to the Euro-snob brands by virtue of superior power under the hood. I don’t seem to recall that tactic providing great results before, but maybe this time it’s different.

  • avatar

    V8 > V6 Always…no matter what.

    Even if that V8 is an anemic boat anchor (4.6) and the V6 is a high-strung TT/DI.

    And yes Eric…ECO-boost is a blatant lie. There is NOTHING eco about it…unless you are comparing it to Ford’s thirsty V6s. Hyundai can build a bigger, more powerful V8 that gets Ford V6 mileage.

  • avatar

    One of the aims of marketing is to have your product in the conversation.

    Mentioning the Ford product in the lofty air of BMW 5s, Mausers, Mercedes and Jaguar (!!! knifing them – interesting) is the only way to get in the minds of the buyers of such product. I’m fairly sure it’s called targetting your demographic.

    Whether they have a valid claim is a different question.

    As to the surprise expressed by some that any form of commercial media serves anything but it’s advertisers then you haven’t been paying attention for the last 20 years (or longer).

  • avatar

    Sounds like “May the Best Car Win” from GM.

    What is a Lincoln MKS anyway, but an overpriced Taurus SHO with 10 fewer HP?

    Yes, the Lincoln is impressive, but the premeditated bias has to go.

  • avatar

    I just read Jean Jenning’s column in the back of the latest Automobile this morning. She states plainly that the test was inspired by comments from Ford engineers about the Ecoboost engine, and that they were upfront about the potential advantages in a high altitude situation. She also states that they wanted the test done by an impartial team, and that three runs were done per car, not one as someone mentioned earlier.

    If nothing else, there was full disclosure made, and it’s not as if BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar and Maserati don’t advertise in Automobile and MotorTrend as well.

    Lincoln went with the controversial decision to go all V6 with the full size flagship, and they need to prove to the V8 snobs that you don’t lose anything by going with the V6, and in fact you gain somewhere between a 5% – 10% boost in fuel economy. This goes a long way towards helping with that goal.

    gslippy – Considering the MKS offers all of the luxury features, and now the performance, of any competing luxury brand’s car, and for thousands less, it’s hardly overpriced. If anything, the new Taurus SHO, which offers most of the features available on the MKS, just without the badge or some of the interior niceties, and for thousands less than its Lincoln brother, is on of the best bargains to be had right now.

  • avatar

    I agree that Lincoln gunning for the big dogs may be a little much. But after this comparo, I see even less reason to buy an Acura RL.

  • avatar

    Ford has two ugly dogs with silly, practically meaningless alphanumeric names (MKZ, MKS, MKX or whatever) and 6s instead of 8s,

    with utterly ugly, insanely large grilles resembling cow-catchers on locomotives,

    and is trying to justify asking consumers to pay $40k and $50k or more for the ugly, obese POSs.

    It has its work cut out for it..LOL.

  • avatar

    MAke the above three ugly dawgs.. two if you eliminate the MKZ which I am told stands for “MarK Zephyr”…how informative and consistent, which is just a lowly Fusion in Lincoln Badge and sheetmetal.

    (I bet the idiot who came up with that name was also paid millions, as are those who choose Brilliant Names for cars?)

  • avatar

    99% of the posters in this thread don’t factor in power/weight ratio.

    The few that do factor that in don’t calculate handling dynamics and suspension tuning.

    In other words, none of you have any clue what you’re talking about.

    But that doesn’t do anything about the fact that this is blatant prostitution and fuzzy advertising.

  • avatar

    @NulloModo: That was my point, in a way. The Taurus SHO might have done just as well, or even topped the list, basically nullifying the reason for the MKS’ existence.

    @cretinx: I think most posters here understand power/weight ratio and chassis tuning. Lotus has those factors honed to a much sharper edge than any of these cars demonstrate.
    But this thread is more about market positioning of a Lincoln MKS against some classic performance marques, not just numbers.

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