In the 40-odd years since its inception, Lincoln's Mark series has come to represent the marriage of driver-pampering luxury and potent sport coupe road prowess. When it was introduced in 1993, Lincoln's current incarnation, the Mark VIII, continued that tradition--from the plush, landed-gentry refinement of its cabin to its highway-gobbling 280-hp V8 engine. Now, with a host of new features, restyled body panels, a new interior and some technological advances, the Mark VIII has once again topped itself. Where do we begin? Let's start with the Mark's innovative new lighting system, including High-Density Discharge headlamps that deliver 2.7 times more reflective light than standard lamps--meaning the driver sees things easier and sooner. And the Mark VIII's use of a neon tube taillamp system--an industry first that was pioneered in the Ford Explorer--allows following drivers to significantly reduce their stopping distance. In addition, Lincoln designers have replaced the Mark's plastic hood with an aluminum one, enlarged the grille, modified the exhaust tips, and added new front and rear fascias, along with new quarter panels. There's more. The trademark rear-end tire hump, recalling the first Continental of 1940, is now more subtle, and six new hues have been added to the color chart. The Mark's interior has also been redesigned, with several new touches--a power-tilt steering column with memory, burled-walnut door trim, power-adjusted lumbar-support, luxury instrument panel, and leather-trimmed armrests. Two trim levels are offered--the standard Mark VIII and the sportier LSC (Luxury Sport Coupe). The hue of our LSC test model was dubbed Opal Opalascent. In less poetic English, it was a handsomely creamy off-white. Our LSC tester's base price was $38,880. It came equipped with several options: A $1515 power moonroof, a $670 trunk-mounted CD changer, a $300 tri-coat paint treatment, $290 heated seats and two no-charge options--front floor mats and electronic traction assist. The $670 destination charge boosted the total cost to $42,325.