With the new 2013 Lincoln MKZ, Lincoln has avoided the usual concept trend of making concepts look nothing like the norm.
The exterior styling of this new MKZ, unveiled earlier this month at the New York Auto Show, is nearly identical to the MKZ concept Lincoln showed back in January at the Detroit auto show. Heck, even the massive, 15.2 square-foot retractable glass sunroof made the production cut! (And, believe me, if back in January you had bet it would, you’d now be collecting a lot of winnings from the assembled auto scribes.)
But there’s more than a humongous glass top to the 2013 MKZ’s remarkable look — the first vehicle, by the way, entirely drawn by new Lincoln design chief Max Wolff and his crew at equally new Lincoln design studios.
Perhaps most notable, beyond that smoked lid — which, we should note, is rated 100 SPF to ensure passengers won’t get toasted — is MKZ’s grille. It remains split, but now it’s narrower than before while boasting chrome bars that run horizontally rather than vertically. The result is a far more sophisticated look — like spread wings rather than a toothy dental appliance.
It all meshes quite nicely, indeed, with MKZ’s far more aerodynamic profile.
Inside, Lincoln has loaded MKZ with technology, in part hoping that all the gizmos, much like the exterior styling, will lure well-heeled younger buyers to a brand many now consider about as hip as accordion music.
For example, positioned ahead of the driver, in lieu of traditional analog dials, is a 10-inch LCD instrument cluster. In its center is a reconfigurable Thin Film Transistor (TFT) screen. Furthermore, in the center console is an 8-inch LCD touch screen featuring Ford Motor Co.’s well-received SYNC infotainment interface and the latest version of the company’s much maligned — and now much improved — MyLincoln Touch multi-function control system.
Also, sure to wow those too young to remember the push-button TorqueFlite transmission of the 1956 Chrysler Imperial, is MKZ’s “five-button shift interface” — a, you guessed it, push-button gear selector that replaces a shift lever. That feature also freed up floor-console space, allowing interior designers to create a unique, multi-level center console with more storage areas.
This MKZ will debut with three drivetrain options: 2.0-liter, 240-hp, EcoBoost turbo four-cylinder that mates to a six-speed automatic with a paddle-shift manual mode; a 3.7-liter, 300-hp, naturally aspirated V-6, which buttons to the same transmission; and a hybrid model with a gas I-4, electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack.
The turbo-four and V-6 can be had with front- or all-wheel drive. The hybrid is front-drive only.
It’s no secret that Lincoln has long been an also-ran in the luxury segment, lagging behind not only import luxury brands but, also, getting its lunch handed to it by Detroit rival Cadillac. In fact, it’s gotten so bad there was even scuttlebutt that Ford might euthanize the brand, as it did with Mercury.
Ain’t gonna happen, said Jim Farley, Ford vice president of global marketing.
“The new Lincoln MKZ represents the future of Lincoln in both style and substance,” Farley said. “It is proof of our commitment to deliver a new breed of Lincolns for a new generation of Lincoln clients — motor cars that are distinctive, elegant, full of technology and a delight to own.”
Look for the new MKZ to arrive later this year. No prices yet, but a base price in the low 40s is a pretty good guess.