By David Undercoffler
5:06 PM PST, December 17, 2012
Automotive website Edmunds.com on Monday excoriated Lincoln for lending it a car that had high performance tires, which Lincoln acknowledged almost none of its buyers will select.
The tires in question are Michelin Pilot Super Sports. They're found on much more exotic cars like BMW's M5 and Ferrari's F12 Berlinetta. The tires are available as part of a $1,565 package on Lincoln MKZ sedans with optional all-wheel-drive.
But a Lincoln spokesman confirmed that the company only expects less than 1 percent of MKZ buyers to take home a car with these tires. Lincoln says AWD models will account for a quarter of all MKZ sales. Of those AWD sales, 1% to 2% will go home with these Michelins.
The impact tires have on a car's performance cannot be overstated. Because they're the only point of contact between a vehicle and the road, a good tire can yield significant gains in traction, acceleration, braking, and cornering.
In its review of the MKZ, Santa Monica-based Edmunds.com takes Lincoln to task for including on a car for media tires that don't accurately reflect what buyers will take home. After noting that the MKZ completed Edmunds' slalom course faster than a BMW M5, author Erin Riches says this information is misleading and masks the car's many shortcomings.
"That's exactly the kind of data point those tricky tire-switching Lincoln engineers were hoping for. Foolish. Instead of trying to game the media, Lincoln should have designed and engineered a better car," Riches' review states.
Edmunds also faulted the MKZ for having less interior space than the Ford Fusion on which it's based, a low-rent interior construction and a forgettable V-6 engine. Riches concluded by saying: "Lincoln's future is on the line, and this redesigned 2013 Lincoln MKZ won't be enough to reverse its downward spiral."
The Times is currently testing a different Lincoln MKZ. Though the car has the smaller base engine -- a turbocharged four-cylinder -- it also came with AWD and the optional Michelin tires.
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