Meet The New Town Car, Same As The Old… No, Wait

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
meet the new town car same as the old no wait

Let’s face it: the Lincoln Town Car is the best car in the world, and that’s why at least two TTAC staffers are Panther owners. Unfortunately for Ford, however, production of new Town Cars is completely dependent on a rare earth. Well, it’s actually dependent upon Rare Earth, the band, which generates a mineral known as “awesomtonium” every time they play “I Just Wanna Celebrate” in public. A dearth of recent appearances by the band, the members of which are now all over one hundred and ten years old, means that Ford has been forced to schedule the end of Town Car production for this fall.

What can Lincoln do in a circumstance like that? The honorable thing to do would be for every employee of the brand to publicly apologize to America right before committing ritual suicide. I’m told, however, that an internal vote regarding that topic ended up strongly on the side of “seeing our children again”. In that case, the only thing left to do is to make a new Town Car, lest the Manhattanite Masters of the Universe be forced to ride the subway.

To no one’s particular surprise, the new Town Car is a variant of the MKT crossover. TTAC opinions regarding the MKT range from “stellar” (yours truly) to “abysmal” (our august, departed Dear Leader, Robert Farago). While the outgoing Panther Town Car served all niches from taxi to hot-tub-carrying super-limo, Ford is offering two MKT variants for the commercial-car market.

The MKT Livery model is basically an MKT with a heavy dose of standard features, in-car Wi-Fi, and a rear seat which is moved 1.5 inches rearward. There’s also a “sultan switch” which allows the right-seat rear passenger to move the front seat forward, just like in various Maybachs, Lexi, and Hyundais. It’s available with front-wheel-drive or AWD.

For the stretch market, there’s a reinforced model called the “MKT Limousine”. Quoth Ford,

The MKT Town Car Limousine chassis incorporates several heavy-duty components, such as upgraded suspension, electric power-assisted steering system (EPAS) and transmission. Along with standard All-Wheel Drive, the MKT Town Car Limousine chassis also offers unique wheels and tires, unique wheel bearings and an upsized brake system.

Take my advice, guys: put all that stuff on the Livery model as well. The abuse which Panthers can aborb without complaint borders on the legendary. Hell, I jump mine over a set of railroad tracks near my house at least once a day, getting at least the rear wheels off the ground at speeds in the neighborhood of seventy miles per hour. “Black car” drivers are far tougher on their vehicles than I am. If you want the MKT to have a solid reputation in the market from Day One, it would be better to over-specify, even at the cost of some profit.

Fleet buyers are encouraged to speak with their local representative to arrange an orderly transition from the TC to the MKT-TC. In real-world terms, that may translate to “panic-buy as many 2011 Townies as your credit line can stand”. Pricing hasn’t yet been announced, but the outgoing Signature L livery model Panther rings the cash register for $52,000 MSRP, with actual transaction prices at most black-car shops running about $44-47K depending on volume.

I’ve put plenty of miles on both the MKT and the outgoing Town Car. Make no mistake, the MKT is quieter, faster, more spacious, and possessed of a vastly superior level of interior technology. If you told me that I would need to run one up a curb at sixty miles per hour for the purpose of avoiding a wandering falafel vendor across 110th Street, however, I wouldn’t think twice before reaching for the old-style keys. Ford has their work cut out for them.

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  • Forty2 Forty2 on Feb 16, 2011

    Good riddance. I picked up a two-week rental at PHL from Avis. Being so-called "Avis First" I was entitled to an upgrade. In spot #C-whatever stood a Grand Marquis*. "Oh no, you have got to be shitting me." There was a surfeit of Grand Marqs around the lot; apparently Avis got a good deal on the last of the fucking things. I opened the door and heard that mid-90s BONG BONG BONG, saw the column shift and broadcast-only head unit (no CD slot, no aux input; AM/FM only. Who the hell even makes those anymore?) and made a beeline to the Preferred desk and begged for an Altima, which I get most of the time simply because I know where all the doodads and gizmos are, not because I particularly like them, but it has the benefit of not being designed in 1988 and lets me plug in an iPod. And that RWD boat would have been deadly in the ensuing ice storm that week. Even in the denouement edition, they still couldn't bother with a de Sade package... morons.

  • Armadamaster Armadamaster on Feb 24, 2011

    MKT Town Car....if you say it enough times, you can almost get the vomit taste out of your mouth: I thought the D3 offerings were the second coming of Christ....why would you saddle it with the name Town Car which is synonymous with the Panthers, Ford's equivalent to the devil? I've noticed this year that the higher end livery companies here have already started the switch from real Town Cars to Chrysler 300s and a few Navigators. I am assuming that something similiar is taking place in most other major cities' as well.

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  • Alan I would think Ford would beef up the drive line considering the torque increase, horse power isn't a factor here. I looked at a Harrop supercharger for my vehicle. Harrop offered two stages of performance. The first was a paltry 100hp to the wheels (12 000AUD)and the second was 250hp to the wheels ($20 000 (engine didn't rev harder so torque was significantly increased)). The Stage One had no drive line changes, but the Stage Two had drive line modifications. My vehicle weighs roughly the same as a full size pickup and the 400'ish hp I have is sufficient, I had little use for another 100 let alone 250hp. I couldn't see much difference in the actual supercharger setup other than a ratio change for the drive of the supercharger, so that extra $8 000 went into the drive line.
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