The sophisticated 2010 Lincoln MKZ 3.5-Liter V6 Engine

Published: 14th June 2010
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The MKZ, Lincoln's entry-level luxury sedan, returns for 2010 with no changes to its standard V6 engine.

The MKZ is powered by a 3.5-liter, 24-valve V6. Called the Duratec 35, this 24-valve, DOHC engine was the first of Ford's award-winning new Cyclone engine family, which Ford says will eventually power around 25% of its vehicles. The Duratec 35 is all-aluminum, with a forged steel crankshaft. Instead of iron cylinder liners, the cylinder bores are hardened with Plasma Transferred Wire Arc (PTWA) thermal spray coating, for reduced weight and great durability. Variable intake valve timing improves power at all engine speeds, and the camshaft lobes actuate the valves through direct-acting mechanical bucket (DAMB) tappets, rather than cam followers, to reduce friction. Despite the lack of hydraulic valve lash adjusters, Ford claims the Duratec 35 requires no periodic valve adjustments.

In the MKZ, the Duratec 35 engine makes 263 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. That puts it even with the 3.6-liter V6 in the Cadillac CTS, but slightly behind the Lexus ES350, which has 272 horsepower. The MKZ has strong acceleration and passing power, but it is let down by its six-speed automatic transmission, which sometimes hunts annoying between gears, despite modifications for 2010 that were supposed to improve its behavior. Some critics feel the Duratec 35 also falls short of key rivals in smoothness and refinement. It is not excessively noisy, but it does not match the polish of Lexus's 3.5-liter V6 or the 3.6-liter engines in the Cadillac CTS and Buick LaCrosse.

With an EPA-estimated 18/27 city/highway for FWD models, 17/24 with the optional AWD, the MKZ's fuel economy is as good as or better than most rivals. The Lexus ES350 edges it out with a 19/27 EPA rating, but the Lincoln uses regular gasoline, while Lexus recommends premium.

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