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This paper focuses on emulation of the link-level processing for efficient system-level simulations of MIMO-OFDM based mobile communication systems. While the downlink of 3GPP's long term evolution (LTE) and the various MIMO transmission modes used therein stand in the focus of our considerations, the proposed techniques can be applied to other MIMO-OFDM based communication systems such as WiMAX. In particular, we compute effective fading gains and interference levels that allow us to very accurately emulate the signal processing at link-level, i.e. channel en-/decoding, (de-)modulation, layer (de-)mapping, preceding and equalization, with minimal complexity during system-level simulations.