Mountain Wheels: Swank Black Label-edition Lincoln MKX loads up on class
2016 Lincoln MKX Black Label AWD
MSRP: $55,310; As tested, $65,270
Powertrain: 335-HP turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 engine; six-speed automatic transmission
EPA figures: 19 combined (17 city, 24 highway)
Just how McConaughey is the special Black Label edition of the Lincoln MKX, itself an almost Range Rover-level-of-fancy remake of the Ford Edge?
Well, a whole lot, especially when the whole package teeters just past $65,270, on a vehicle starting at $39,025. But that’s the price of admission to be lulled into a laconic and surreal series of journeys where you too may begin spewing zen-like aphorisms, like that Texan heartthrob.
You’ll also very much dig the noticeable job that Lincoln has done in prettying up and tech-loading the much-modified Ford that serves as the organ donor here. And in a sea of Lincoln models with mostly indistinguishable letter names, X certainly marks the spot, as absolutely lame as it is to say that.
The high-end Black Label model I tried featured the impressive new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, a new rendition of Ford’s turbo family that is good here for 335 horsepower and a very mountain-friendly 380 lb.-ft. of torque, returning 24 mpg on the highway. Debate among yourselves if 24 mpg is a good or a bad thing, as the mileage figures are nearly identical to the Subaru WRX STI race car I drove the week before.
Power and ride are quite sophisticated, and once you manage to actually get the car moving — the push-button transmission controls are hidden on the left side of the navigation screen cluster — the slight and occasional bumpiness of this luxury crossover package is about the only perceptible foible to an exceptionally solid, well-balanced and moderately imposing machine.
Should you also want to test your almost-Range Rover credentials, dial up the sport mode for the transmission and chassis settings and wring it out a bit, parked up on a highly polished set of 20-inch wheels.
The Black Label experience does considerably turn up the posh factor, even more notable if you take the $8,500-plus in options loaded into the MKX I drove. Twenty-two-way adjustable front seats offer electronically controlled adjustments to seat and even headrest components you’d never know could be adjusted, plus a massage function, of course.
And the Revel Ultima audio system, picked as the second best in the industry in a recent Automobile Magazine article, is indeed the real deal, with a bajillion (19, actually) speakers and authentically home-theater-quality sound, even as more and more manufacturers finally pay attention to their sound setups. This one is astounding, even down to the aluminum-styled patches on the doors, covering up some of those sound ports (again, think Range Rover, for that kind of thing).
Double-row pinstripe stitching, copious amounts of high-grade leather and lots of non-cheesy piano black gloss all work to class up the joint, as does the full-cabin “Vista Roof” sunroof.
That oversized, leather-wrapped and stitched steering wheel offers dual thumb controls that provide a surprising level of information and even on-the-fly adjustments to the entertainment, navigation and core automotive systems, all displayed on an almost entirely digital instrument cluster (only the bezels of the tachometer and speedometer are real).
This includes a bewildering array of adjustability that’s really only superceded by the menus on a new Corvette: Would you like to add a courtesy wipe to your window washing? Would you like to see the torque split on the optional AWD system, as that’s about the only visual proof you’ll have of one totally integrated and non-adjustable system?
More importantly, how intense do you want the lane departure warning and “aid” system to be, as it turns out it can be quite intense, more than subtly buzzing the wheel or actually micro-adjusting your steering to keep the MKX on perceived path? You may opt to simply shut that one off, using a switch at the end of the left-hand control stalk, if you like to do all the driving yourself.
Other technologies are less obvious, including a full electronic noise-cancelling system to help induce traditionally Lincoln-worthy levels of calm during your driving experience.
In addition to the fancy physical bits, the Black Label package also serves as a bit of a private members’ club for purchasers, with complimentary car washes, annual detailing, premium maintenance, concierge services and even special lifestyle events.
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