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Although nearly 50 years have passed since Lincoln first introduced the Mark series, its mission remains the same: To attain the perfect balance between luxury-line comfort levels, under-the-hood power and sport-coupe handling.
The Mark VIII LSC is a proud inheritor of that legacy. It comes with elegant styling, a refined interior, a muscular 290-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 engine and a taut suspension that does a marvelous job of taming this beast of a coupe.
Last year, Lincoln redesigned the Mark VIII with fresh styling, a new interior and major technological advances in the lighting department. The new styling brought smartly rounded corners and gently sloping lines that are sleek and elegant.
High intensity discharge headlamps deliver nearly three times as much reflective light as standard halogen lamps. That translates into much greater nighttime visibility. At the same time, they control the output to prevent glare from blinding other drivers. We applaud this improvement as most vehicles offer poor lighting performance with headlamps being designed more for style than their ability to light up the road.
At the rear, a unique new neon taillamp with big brake lights, and mirror-mounted turn signals were designed to enhance safety by making it easier for other drivers to see and react to dynamic driving situations.
Lincoln's big coupe comes in two trim levels: Mark VIII and the sportier LSC. LSC stands for Luxury Sport Coupe.
We drove an LSC in the popular white pearl color. Its base price was $39,990 and came equipped with three options: that rich metallic paint ($365), heated seats ($290) and the trunk-mounted CD changer ($670). It also came with electronic traction control that was a no-cost option. The total cost of the package was $41,315. (All prices include destination charge.)
The Mark VIII is quiet. To reduce engine noise, Lincoln's engineers positioned the air-intake system away from the passenger cabin. They also used generous amounts of body insulation and sealing.
The 4.6-liter V8 engine on the standard Mark VIII delivers 280 horsepower and 285 pound-feet of torque. It comes with four valves per cylinder (32 valves) and double overhead-cams (four cams).
A slightly more powerful version of the same engine is used in the LSC that puts out 290 horsepower. That power provided a burly burst of acceleration in all situations, from standing starts to critical highway-passing scenarios. In cruise mode, it was smooth and quiet.
Lincoln's engineers extended tune-up intervals to 100,000 miles with a coil-on-plug ignition system; each spark plug has its own coil.
When tackling sharp corners or freeway on-ramps, the Mark VIII provided impressive handling capabilities for such a large car. The speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering offered precise control. A four-wheel independent suspension with computer-controlled air springs automatically adjust for changes in the load, while gas-pressurized shocks with integral rebound springs help keep the car taut. Large front and rear anti-roll bars reduce body lean in corners.
The LSC comes with even larger front and rear anti-roll bars for flatter cornering response. We found our LSC impressively nimble when along the twisty roads in Detroit's fittingly tony northern suburbs.
Lincoln's Mark VIII uses a rear-wheel-drive layout, and the all-speed electronic traction control system reduces wheelspin in slippery conditions.
The Mark VIII competes in a luxury sport-coupe market that includes the Cadillac Eldorado and the Lexus SC 400. It's a niche where designers are always on the lookout to steal customers away from one another with a synergy of elegant styling, graceful luxury and sport-performance engine muscle.