The failed attempt.
(Photo cred Lincoln)
(Full disclosure: Lincoln wanted me to drive this so bad that they sold this to some distant relative who took perfect care of it and then sold it to me for a really good price. They also gave me a futon.)
What is the LS? The LS is basically a Jaguar S-Type, or the S-Type is basically a LS. I would say it's a good 50/50 split between the two companies; some parts even have a Jag logo stamped on it. This is the DEW98 platform, why should you care? Well the Ford GT is on this platform, it was very expensive to develop and very good. So it failed. The Jaguar XF still uses this platform so it's still relevant 16 years later.
Think BMW fighter only with zero prestige, a crappy interior, and British blood. What you're left with is a decent driver with horrendous reliability. I'm sold!
Looks are subjective, but I think the Gen2 LS has aged very well. It has a strong presence. It has a nice low stance that is raked with a very short front overhang. Sue me but I think this is more attractive than an E39. The bodylines look very modern. Nice dual exhaust cutouts and a C pillar that flows well. The front grille really shows its age as well as the ugly license plate surround. It would take very little to make this a very nice looking modern car.
It's typical Ford, but not terrible. Dash is soft touch. It has real perforated leather seats that are really comfortable. The silver plastic is glaringly terrible. The steering wheel feels nice but is a little big. The cabin is cramped. Visibility is good. It really isn't that bad of a place. You sink back in the rear seats mostly to compensate for the little legroom. The center of gravity is pretty low in this car, it's apparent in the passenger seat where you feel like you're sitting on the floor. Not BMW quality, or Lexus, but maybe better than the first gen CTS.
From the AJV8 you get 280hp/286 lb-ft which are respectable numbers, remember this is a tiny V8 and 2003. Once you get over the terrible throttle response from what must be Ford's first attempt at drive by wire, it surges to life. Off the line it's a little boggy, torque really comes on at about 3200 rpms. From there on it pulls pretty hard. Manufacturer's 0-60 time is 6.42 sec. I would say pretty damn quick for a 4-door luxury car that keeps your ass heated and cooled.
Does Ford ever have good brakes despite some exceptions? Initial bite is null, probably could be fixed by some ss lines. I will give it to Lincoln for the brake balance in this car. The rear definitely does some work, instead of the typical nosedive; the car evenly squats to a stop. Stops are reassuring; ABS can be triggered in the dry. I just wish the pedal had more feel and earlier engagement.
Anyone that says this has a floating ride like a Town Car is an idiot. The V8 sports are on the firm side. Not uncomfortably firm, but you find yourself feeling every road imperfection and trying to avoid them. I would say an E39 is the closest resemblance. It feels solid.
Really the best part about the LS. Steering is perfectly weighted for being a 4 door luxury car. Once you get going you feel like a homing missile weaving through traffic. It's near 50/50 weight distribution is apparent. It grips well. By default it favors a hint of understeer but all in all it feels very neutral. It's reassuring and direct. One look at the suspension and you will understand why. It's not what you normally see, especially on anything American. Double wishbone front and rear.
It's garbage. Ford put this crap 5-speed in everything. It's not quick. The 2-3 upshift is synchronous, which means the pcm cuts power and makes some complex shift that feels like shit every time. Downshifts are occasionally jerky. After driving it a while you get used to it and your mind occasionally holds back the throttle to prevent slams and jerks. It has a learning curve to it. Probably doesn't help Ford put the wrong fluid in it from factory, which destroyed solenoid packs. Oh and should I mention servos? Also the select shift is useless.
Let me first say this is 2003. This car has a motorized adjustable steering wheel. The pedals are adjustable. You have memory seats that automatically move back the wheel and seat so you can get out easy. It has rain-sensing wipers that turn on once it senses rain. The windshield wipers are heated. The front seats are heated and cooled, yes actually cooled not ventilated garbage. They also have an auto function that will determine the temp of you taint and adjust accordingly. There's an available THX sound system with nav as well.
Find the rain sensor.
The V8 sounds nothing like any of Ford's V8s. It sounds sophisticated and European, and it's not bad. With my K&N intake it grunts and sucks once you tip the throttle scaring small children.
(not my pic)
I mean this is practically British what do you expect? These are picky cars, parts are expensive, systems are complex. The coil on plugs are the main weakness. They get marginal and should be replaced all at once with OEM along with the plugs, no one ever does this which leads to plugged up cats and an overall pile of misfiring British/American garbage. The cooling system is made of plastic using a design similar to BMW, it cracks letting air in leading to overheating. All the plastic needs to be replaced at the same time costing $2k+ .If you can find a one owner well cared for Gen 2, by all means go for it. All the problems are well documented. Don't touch a Gen 1 whatever you do!!
Engine: 3.9 liter VVT Jaguar AJ-V8
Power: 280 HP /286 lb-ft
Transmission: 5 speed automatic
0-60 Time: 6.42 seconds (mfr)
Drivetrain: Rear wheel drive
Seating: 5 people
Curb Weight: 3700 lbs (aprx)