Having undergone a major revamp in 2003, the Lincoln LS enters 2005 with relatively few changes. Curtain airbags, heated rear seats and extended rear park assist are now standard on the V8 Ultimate model; the transmission has been improved for smoother shifts; and there are new exterior and interior colours.

The smaller of the company’s two passenger cars, the “baby Lincoln” comes with a choice of V6 or V8 engine, in four trim lines. A regular five-speed automatic transmission is included on the V6 Luxury; all other models add SelectShift manual shift mode.

All models include fog lamps, automatic headlamps, remote keyless entry with driver’s door keypad, power heated mirrors with puddle lamps and auto-dimming on the driver’s side, speed-sensitive windshield wipers with heated park position, dual-zone electronic climate control, HomeLink garage door opener, heated and cooled leather bucket seats with eight-way power driver’s seat and six-way power passenger seat, power-adjustable pedals, driver’s position memory, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, cruise control, power windows and power tilt and telescopic steering wheel.

The V6 Luxury adds 16-inch polished aluminum wheels, CD/cassette with four speakers, and leather-wrapped wheel and shifter knob.

The V6 Sport adds a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch machined aluminum wheels, six-CD Audiophile stereo with 12 speakers and subwoofer, aluminum interior accents, and leather-wrapped wheel and shifter knob.

The V8 Sport includes the V6 Sport’s features, but with the larger engine. The LS Ultimate adds sport-tuned suspension, electronic stability control, 17-inch chromed aluminum wheels, high intensity discharge headlamps, extended rear parking assist, curtain airbags, six-CD Audiophile stereo with 12 speakers and subwoofer, burled walnut interior trim, walnut-and-leather steering wheel, heated rear seats and power moonroof.

Although it never became a threat to BMW, the Lincoln LS is a very worthy road car, sharing its platform with the Jaguar S-Type and Ford Thunderbird. With rear-wheel-drive, a near 50/50 weight distribution, and speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering, it’s great fun to drive, tackling hard turns and twisting roads while still coddling driver and passengers in traditional North American luxury. The V6 is a good choice, although the $3,500 difference between the V6 and V8 Sport is money well spent if you like to put your foot into it and just feel the power. Cadillac skirts it on either side of the price range with the six-cylinder versions of its new CTS and STS, but prices well above it when you get into the eight-cylinder models.

The LS is built in Wixom, Michigan.

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