Ford’s Lincoln division has updated its LS luxury sports sedan for 2003 with more powerful V6 and V8 engines, better fuel economy, new safety equipment and many detail changes. More than 500 components and systems have been redesigned, Ford claims.

The 2003 LS features the debut of the industry’s first THX Certified Ultra Premium car audio system.

All 2003 LS models have more horsepower and torque, better fuel economy and more seamless power delivery.

The 3.9-litre V8 engine, which now incorporates variable intake valve timing, produces 28 more horsepower for a total of 280 hp, and 21 lbs.-ft. more torque for a total of 286 lbs.-ft.

The three-litre DOHC V6 engine also adopts variable valve timing for a 12-horsepower increase to 232 hp and a 5 lbs.-ft. torque improvement to 220 lbs.-ft though total horsepower is up 22 hp and torque is up 15 lbs.-ft. compared with the 2000-2001-model year engine.

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The optional SelectShift has been improved to allow the driver to manually select first gear at launch. The previous generation system required a wide-open throttle launch to engage first gear.

For smoother power delivery, both LS engines adopt an advanced electronic throttle control that measures the degree and rate of pedal travel, vehicle and engine speed, transmission gear selection and other factors to deliver exactly the acceleration requested by the driver. The LS system is claimed to be far more precise and responsive than simple “pedal-follower” systems that electronically mimic a mechanical linkage, or systems that only modulate torque at the engine flywheel.

A new speed-sensitive, variable assist ZF Servotronic II rack-and-pinion steering system and a new stiffer intermediate steering shaft are now fitted. The combined unit is lighter, stiffer and has lower parasitic losses.

The LS has new 16-inch aluminum wheels and wider P225/55VR16 Continental ContiTouring Contact all-season tyres, which replace the previous car’s standard P215/60R16 tires. Other changes include larger diameter shock absorbers with greater tuning flexibility, lower front spring rates for improved ride and retuned stabiliser bars. The front bars have “grippy” bushings for reduced lateral compliance. The rear shocks now include rebound springs, which improve body control and handling stability. The lower control arm bushings and subframe mounts also are new for improved NVH.

The LS Sport suspension features new 17-inch aluminum wheels and P235/50VR17 Michelin MXM4 all-season tyres. Sport models have higher damping rate shock absorbers and larger stabiliser bars to provide a more controlled ride and less body roll. In addition, the new ZF steering system is tuned for higher efforts for a more direct and sporty feel.

The software governing Lincoln’s AdvanceTrac traction and stability enhancement system now incorporates understeer control for improved steering control and manoeuverability on snow and ice and also in dry road emergency situations where high lateral accelerations are induced.

New adjustable pedals, revised brake boosters and a retuned pedal return spring provide lower brake efforts, improved pedal feel and better control of braking power. Sport models have aluminium rear callipers to reduce unsprung weight.

Interior stowage is two-and-half times greater, thanks to a redesigned centre console, a new overhead console, larger in-door map pockets and other improvements. The centre console alone is twice as large as the previous design, thanks in part to the LS’s new electric parking brake (also adopted by the platform-sharing Jaguar S-type).

New, richer leathers are used for the seating surfaces and steering wheel, the carpeting is plusher and a new intricately textured fabric is used for the headliner.
Satin nickel accents and a choice of American walnut burl, aluminum or ebony-colored trim with a gloss finish bring three distinctive themes to the cabin décor.

Changes to the front of the LS include a new grille with chrome surround, simpler bumper fascia design and new lamps plus optional high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps.

At the rear of the car, the tail lamps and number plate surround have been redesigned and new chrome exhaust tips project through the bottom of the revised rear bumper.

Overall noise levels in the cabin at idle and during a 60 mph cruise are reduced by up to three decibels. Sound quality – particularly under acceleration – also is improved, thanks to refinements in the car’s sound package, powertrain systems and body sealing. Overall air leakage into the cabin has been reduced by 20%.
Powertrain NVH improvements include new intake and exhaust system tuning, a revised V-8 engine timing chain, new V6 and V8 engine mounts with improved damping characteristics, a new lightweight axle and axle mount and new tubular axle half shafts.

New standard equipment includes one-touch up/down power windows for the driver and front passenger, keyless entry keypad on the driver’s door, power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals and a sliding centre armrest that adjusts for different driver’s seat positions.

New options include heated and cooled driver and passenger seats linked to the climate control and heated rear seats, folding side mirrors that incorporate puddle lamps, one-touch open/close power moonroof, second generation rain-sensing wipers, an extended rear park assist system and touch-screen controlled DVD navigation system in conjunction with the THX audio system

New safety equipment including new brake assist systems and a side curtain air bag system that deploys from the headliner and covers the front and rear side window area, coupled with side chest-protection air bags that deploy from the driver and front passenger seats, will be introduced during the 2003 model year.
LATCH child seat anchors now are fitted to the outboard rear seating positions.
The Lincoln LS is built in Wixom, Michigan, and will be in showrooms in late 2002.