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Is the 2020 Lincoln MKZ Actually Better Than the BMW 5 Series?

With SUVs dominating the market at the moment, sedan sales have lessened. Some automakers have halted the production of small sedans altogether. There are, however, car enthusiasts who still prefer the fuel economy and elegant grace of a classic midsize sedan. 

The 2020 Lincoln MKZ and the 2020 BMW 5 Series remain two of the better-known luxury sedans on the market. Which is the better sedan and why?

The 2020 BMW 5 Series

In model years past, the BMW 5 Series offered dynamic sports sedans with aggressive handling and great panache. These days, the BMW 5 Series is more about conservative comfort. The 2020 model can seat up to four or five adults in its roomy interior depending on the trim level. There’s a myriad of luxury options available here including seats that adjust in any way imaginable. They can even give you a massage.

The new BMW 5 Series offers a choice of powertrains including the standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a turbo V6, a twin-turbo V8, and a plug-in hybrid. While the V8 engine offers spirited performance, the 2020 models don’t have the athletic energy we’ve come to expect from BMW. The ride is a comfortable shadow of the driving pleasure the 5 Series used to be. 

There aren’t many changes in the 2020 models. The M550i models got a boost in horsepower from 456 to 523. A larger 12-kWh battery pack was added to the 530e plug-in hybrid models. While there are new standard features like a digital gauge display, keyless passive entry, and in-dash navigation, many of the good luxury options significantly jack up the price. 

The newer BMWs have lower-than-average reliability ratings. That, combined with the absence of standard lane-keeping assist and highway-speed automatic emergency braking, are potential deal breakers for many.

The 2020 Lincoln MKZ

Lincoln has quietly been producing upscale sedans alongside its electric vehicles and showy SUVs. The 2020 Lincoln MKZ is an elegant sedan with a quiet, comfortable ride and all the high-end features luxury fans seek. The MKZ has been around a while, sure. But Lincoln has breathed new life into it with a powerful twin-turbo V6, a decent hybrid model, and all-wheel drive.

The MKZ, based on the Ford Fusion, offers plenty of punch with the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine in tests held by Consumer Reports. It’s every bit as fast as the BMW. The hybrid version got 34 mpg in CR tests too, which is impressive.

The cabin of the 2020 Lincoln MKZ is comfortable, and there’s a wealth of driver-assist technologies. There are new paint colors with Empire Blue, Red Carpet, and a gorgeous Silver Radiance to take the place of Blue Diamond, Crystal Copper, Ingot Silver, and Ruby Red.

There are new 19-inch wheel designs in the Monochromatic package and an upper grille to match the body color. Lincoln added lane-keep assist to the MKZ’s impressive list of standard features.

While the back seat is a little tight, the seats are comfortable, and there’s plenty of cargo space in the trunk. The MKZ received an above-average reliability rating too.

Who does it better?

The Lincoln MKZ is the better choice for many reasons.

The MKZ is more fuel-efficient. Consumer Reports has the BMW 5 Series models at an overall 26 mpg combined with 16 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. When matched against the Lincoln with a combined 34 mpg, 29 mpg city, and 38 mpg highway? There’s no contest.

CR gave the BMW 5 Series a predicted reliability rating of two out of five. There are also two NHTSA recalls for the BMW 5 Series for the automatic transmission and the lack of an image in the back-up camera display. The Lincoln MKZ, on the other hand, earned a four-out-of-five rating in predicted reliability from CR. 

Finally, there’s the price. You can get a 2020 BMW 5 Series sedan from $53,900 up to $110,000. You can get the 2020 Lincoln MKZ for $36,750 up to $44,500.

Surprisingly, the new 2020 Lincoln MKZ seems to be a better buy than the 2020 BMW 5 Series. If you’re in the market for a midsize luxury sedan, the Lincoln MKZ is definitely worth a closer look.