It’s difficult to believe when looking at them, but these luxury cars were based upon the Ford Fox platform that started out underpinning the mundane Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr some six years prior.
Styling of these cars, described by Lincoln as being “contemporary size premium,” may have had some traditional Lincoln Mark cues, but the aerodynamic form was right up to date and easily comparable to high-premium cars such as the Mercedes 380SEC and BMW 630. Aero headlamps and a flowing shape allowed the marketers to accurately describe the car as “the most airflow-efficient luxury car built in America, with a drag coefficient of 0.38.” Weight was trimmed dramatically, which improved handling, performance and fuel economy, and the new car was only available as a two-door.
Standard equipment included luxuries such as an onboard trip computer and message center, digital instruments (except LSC after 1986), four-point electronic air suspension with automatic level control, gas-pressurized suspension damping, four-wheel power disc brakes, power rack and pinion steering, proven 140 hp 5.0-liter V-8 with electronic fuel injection and overdrive automatic or a BMW-supplied 2.5-liter turbodiesel six with ZF automatic optional at extra cost. The diesel was only available in 1984 and 1985 and few were sold. Overall sales started out well with over 33,000 in 1984, and stayed healthy through the life of the car.
Initially, there were four trim levels; base, Gianni Versace Designer, Bill Blass Designer and LSC. Other options included cruise control, keyless entry, anti-theft alarm, six-way power seats with dual recliners, front dual heated seats, vent windows, a portable CB, premium sound system, leather interior, forged aluminum wheels, puncture-sealant whitewall tires and a conventional spare tire. The 1985 LSC was the first American car with four-channel antilock brakes. That same year, rear-wheel anti-lock brakes became standard on the big Lincolns.
The 1986 LSC was on Car and Driver magazine’s 10 Best list, probably due to the new 200hp V-8 for that sub-series only. By that year, the Versace trim level had disappeared, and after 1987 the base trim level also was not offered. The 1987, non-LSC cars gained a power boost to 150 hp, and all 1988 cars were given a leg-up to 225 horsepower.