This is the new direction of Lincoln. What say ye?

2012 Lincoln MKZ Concept

While I have no budget to cover the Detroit show (or time to even fake it) this caught my eye. The new Lincoln MKZ Concept is a whole new direction for the brand and it couldn’t come soon enough.  I have provided a photo gallery, look through it then read the press release.  Afterwards speak your mind, let us know what you think.  Personally I like what I see.

Lincoln MKZ Concept Gallery

LINCOLN PRESS RELEASE BELOW

DETROIT, Jan. 10, 2012 – The new Lincoln MKZ Concept, revealed today at the North American International Auto Show, signals a significant step in Lincoln’s reinvention, providing a clear vision of its next-generation vehicles.

“With the Lincoln MKZ Concept, we are not introducing a new car. We are essentially introducing a new brand,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford Motor Company group vice president for Global Product Development. “The MKZ Concept is the next step in the reinvention of Lincoln, something we’ve been quietly but aggressively pursuing.”

Lincoln MKZ Concept: Exterior

The MKZ Concept strongly hints at the production model arriving in dealerships later this year, as well as Lincoln’s design future.

“The MKZ Concept’s shape is a vision of simplicity completed with just a few strokes,” said Max Wolff, Lincoln design director. “Our movement as a brand is toward something we call elegant simplicity. It’s something warmer and more restrained, which is moving away from complex designs and traditional luxury.”

Warm hues are evident in every aspect of the new vehicle’s Cognac-colored exterior. The deep finish is achieved with a rich base coat covered in multiple layers of tinted clear-coat finishes.

By retaining key, recognizable brand design elements, the MKZ Concept remains clearly identifiable as a Lincoln. One example is the more refined interpretation of the split-wing grille, introduced on the 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr.

The sedan’s profile is dominated by a long, sleek and sweeping roofline that allows the design to break away from the traditional sedan three-box shape. The lengthening of the roofline enables a more flowing, elegant and more naturally aerodynamic appearance.

A panoramic glass roof spans uninterrupted from the windshield to the top of the backlight. Integrated into the sedan’s aluminum and boron steel superstructure, the fixed-glass expanse extends to the side roof rails of the cabin, creating an airy, open interior.

LED technology enabled an extremely thin and distinctive full-width taillamp graphic. Exhaust tips are cleanly integrated into the rear fascia.

Lincoln MKZ Concept: Interior

The Lincoln MKZ Concept’s four-seat interior is open, warm and inviting. “The front graphic is repeated in the dramatic sweep of the instrument panel, helping tie the interior to the exterior. These flowing forms create a comfortable and functional interior that particularly appeals to the younger, more diverse customers we are targeting,” said Wolff.

Innovative interior features include push-button transmission gear selection, an open, tiered center console and liquid crystal instrumentation. The reconfigurable 10.1-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD positioned ahead of the driver operates with the latest version of MyLincoln Touch™ as does the nearly flush-mounted center 8-inch LCD touch screen.

Responsibly harvested poplar wood, aluminum in bright and satin finishes as well as leather help create a sculptural, luxurious and comfortable interior space. Champagne-colored leather seats with dark taupe accents feature a champagne perforation pattern, so-called because the perforations on the seat backs conjure the image of champagne bubbles rising from the bottom of a glass.

Lincoln MKZ Concept: Engineering

The Lincoln MKZ Concept is a styling study that rides on an all-new midsize platform. The sedan is capable of utilizing multiple powertrain options in front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations.

Like the recently introduced MKS and MKT with EcoBoost™, the Lincoln MKZ Concept features Lincoln Drive Control and the sophisticated Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) adjustable suspension. (Click here for information on these Lincoln technologies and here for background on the Lane Keeping System, another feature integrated into the MKZ Concept.)

The Business of Lincoln

“Lincoln is an important part of our company’s success,” said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company president of The Americas. “The luxury piece of the industry is significant. In any given year in the U.S., the luxury segment is 11 to 13 percent of overall sales, and it is important for us to win customers in the luxury market with strong new vehicles. That is a key reason we have invested so heavily in Lincoln.”

During the past 14 months, Lincoln has built a dedicated team – including designers, engineers, quality and manufacturing experts as well as marketing and sales leaders. The team includes people from luxury brands, some outside of automotive.

“This team wakes up every morning thinking about Lincoln – and only Lincoln,” Fields said. “These are the people committed to delivering world-class vehicles with a customer experience to match.”

Many of the new team members begin working this year in the all-new Lincoln Design Studio in Dearborn, Mich.

Under Wolff’s direction, construction of the 40,000-square-foot studio began in early 2011 and ultimately will house more than 180 modelers, engineers, stylists and designers in a space that encourages creativity and collaboration.

“This is the first time Lincoln has had its own studio since the 1970s,” said Wolff. “Having our own space is critical to the continued development of the brand. We are passionate about creating beautiful, even seductive, vehicles – and the MKZ Concept marks just the beginning.”

25 Comments

  1. jgentes says:

    After seeing the production version at NY show, I like the exterior – swept back look is much nicer than 2012 and older upright look. Interior looks good, but need to know the seats won’t be as narrow as the current model. My wife and I had a chance to sit in and drive a 2007 MKZ. The seats were a deal breaker for my wife. Competition for us will be 2013 Lexus ES hybrid. Looking for comfortable highway cruiser with great mileage!

  2. fatbaldandhappy says:

    If this car were selling today in the form shown I’d throw $20 on the side of the bet that it would do very well. Realistically by the time it makes it to production and goes through a beating from the ugly stick the accountants call profitability- that $20 would likely be better invested in my 5 year old’s mid January attempt at a lemonade stand.

    Cool looking car and that sinister grill is starting to grow on me, but I’m afraid it’ll probably be a day late and $20 short.

  3. 68mlo says:

    Tom, I love the design…with a few exceptions. First, the rump is way too big/thick/tall…whatever. Second, the interior isn’t visually distanced enough from the 2013 Fusion. I’m not saying it’s identical to the Ford, but the Lincoln’s cabin should be more than just a variation on a theme.

    As for those that gripe about the front end…well…I can only say I like it. The nose gives Lincoln an identity, something it has lacked for many years. Cadillac took a risk with their Art & Science theme…Lincoln’s taking a gamble with this new “flying wings” look (for lack of a better term). I think it will pay off for Lincoln.

  4. crash says:

    The front is way over done on this…the rear is nice and the interior is sweet.

    However, I can’t see how this will be able to remotely compete with the Fusion…easily the best looking midsized sedan on the market; by a lot.

    Tom – any idea on when it’s launching? Also – have you seen it in person? Is it as awesome live as it is in pictures?

    • motorstreet says:

      I saw it at the Detroit Auto Show today. I have changed my mind from my earlier post. I think it looks much better in person than it does in pictures. I still prefer the Fusion, but this is actually a great looking car in the metal.

  5. augaug says:

    All this talk of killing Lincoln? You don’t hear people dreaming of owning a Toyota. They want a Lexus. While Volkswagen’s are nice, if you win the lottery, you’ll take the Audi. There’s still a place for Lincoln, they just have to make better cars, that differentiate themselves from Fords.

    • raschmidt says:

      I’d take a Lincoln, if it was better than a Ford. Right now the only Lincoln I’d take is an MKS, and I really was not impressed with that car, it had some really cheap surfaces on the interior and the back seat was kind of hard to get into. I had a 99 Taurus SHO and a 95 Lincoln Mark VIII, as bad as 90′s cars were for cheap interiors, the Mark VIII was light years ahead of the SHO in terms of interior build quality. The Lincoln’s shifter didn’t jiggle in my hand, the surfaces for the most part were nicer to touch, the leather steering wheel was much softer, and the paint was somewhat better – I also have never seen a Mark VIII with rust.

      Today, that just isn’t the case, I can’t tell much of a difference between the two, though that MKZ concept interior definitely changes my mind about it. I’d take a Lincoln over a Ford if I thought it was a better car, but I can get a Taurus SHO for not much more than a MKZ AWD, I’ll take the SHO.

  6. FinalBlue says:

    It’s a shame you can’t do more Auto Show posts, Tom. Oh well, maybe the community could start some in the forums! (please DCR community?)

    As for this Lincoln concept, though, I have to say…a resounding “meh”. To be honest, I think it’s extremely boring; the taillights and interior in particular really put me to sleep.

    I also agree with Rasch that Lincoln should be axed in exchanged for upping the luxury in Ford’s Titanium trims.

    • raschmidt says:

      To be fair, I don’t think it mattered how good the car was it probably wasn’t going to be well recieved from enthusiasts. I think a lot wanted Lincoln to do something radically different like go back to a RWD LS style sedan, which of course they won’t do. I think what disappoints me the most is that it is still clearly Mondeo based, and if Lincoln’s are going to be based on Ford’s then what is the point?

      In addition, every luxury maker out there except Acura and Audi) is still mostly RWD, so clearly their is something to be said about RWD in luxury cars, if Lincoln really wants to be considered luxury they need to consider this.

      This is a good looking car and will probably sell well, I don’t think Lincoln hit a home run but this is probably a solid single. I just wish they’d have gone for extra bases :(

      • TV says:

        Sadly, I don’t think Ford has the cash to start developing a new platform just for this car (though a rear drive platform would be valuable, especially to share with Mustang). I think everyone walks to the plate gunning to hit a grand slam but at this point a stand up double would be awfully nice for Lincoln.

        I see the MKZ much like the Lexus ES350. Most people buying it know there a Camry lurking within but at the end of the day it looks different and, well, it’s a Lexus.

        Lincoln certainly doesn’t have that brand cache but since Fusion is taking a substantial upgrade that should lift all boats. There are design cues that make me optimistic about this car butI always wait to see a car in the flesh before passing final judgement, photos never capture the complexity. Same for the interior. I felt the cabin of the MKT rivaled and in some cases beat Audi Q7. Too bad it was held hostage by the exterior.

        • motorstreet says:

          Ford has a RWD platform for the Falcon in Australia. I have read that it would require some modifications for left hand drive US cars. It would be great platform for the Mustang and a Lincoln Sport Sedan.

          • TV says:

            Yes, but the question is- is it modern enough for a world car? I’m not sure how old that architecture is but I believe it’s been around the block. Also, Falcon is a fairly large car, thirsty too. Not the direction Ford wants to go for so many reasons.

            • motorstreet says:

              They completely redesigned the Falcon in 2008. The current one is considered at least as good as if not better than the Holden Commodore, which was sold here as the Pontiac G8 and shares its platform with the Camaro. It has independent rear suspension and a 111 inch wheelbase (Mustang has a 107in wheelbase). The 261hp 4.0L I-6 Falcon is rated at 23.7mpg combined in Australia. The Falcon weighs about 3800lbs, so its fuel economy probably would’t be bad with the 3.5L EcoBoost engine or the Mustang’s 3.7L V6, which are more fuel efficient than the Falcon’s old 4.0L I-6. The pre-2008 Falcons certainly were not modern enough for a world car, but after the extremely modern Commodore/G8 came out Ford needed a great sport sedan. Ford introducing a 2.0L EcoBoost model of the Falcon soon, it’s expected to get 29mpg combined.

              • raschmidt says:

                The Zeta is extremely overweight and getting dated, that’s why GM is going to the Alpha platform for the ATS and next Camaro. I think the Falcon could probably use some updating, IRS doesn’t necessarily mean new, an 89 Thunderbird had IRS and a 113in wheelbase.

                I wonder if Ford could still use the DEW98 platform they developed with Jaguar? IIRC it was originally going to be used on the 05 Mustang but costs killed that idea. It wasn’t THAT heavy, I think the 06 LS V6 was only 200 pounds heavier than the 06 Zephyr and 100 pounds heavier than the current MKZ and Mustang. It’s about the right size for the Falcon and Mustang.

                I have one argument for keeping the Falcon around, and it would allow for the Taurus and Fusion/Mondeo to be sold alongside it. The Falcon can always be a niche car, advertise it as a 4 door Mustang, and don’t use it as a full size replacement for the Taurus. So shrink it a little and make it lighter, maybe Fusion size or even smaller like a Regal or A4. If you can get it around 3500-3600 pounds, it’d be alot of fun in the corners. Even at a $30,000 price tag it could still sell, that’s the same market as the Regal, Maxima, and TSX.

                Basically I’m saying Ford should make a BMW 3 series killer. While they’re at it, kill Lincoln too, replace it with a Titanium (luxury), Energi (fuel efficiency), and ST (sport) marques for the Ford brand.

                • motorstreet says:

                  I like the Sport Sedan idea. I think the Falcon platform would be good enough for a 3-Series fighter. It would have to be lighter and smaller, but at under 3800lbs the Falcon is already nearly 300lbs lighter than a BMW 535i and it’s the same size as the 535i. Dynamically the Falcon is considered good enough to rival the BMW 5-Series, some reviews said it was better to drive than the E60 5-Series. The Falcon platform is only 4 years old, but the DEW98 is 13 years old now. Ford will keep the Falcon around for a long time because of the Australian market.

        • kenwenzel says:

          Ford of Australia has a RWD platform Lincoln should probably use. It would save money for Ford and also be a car that wouldn’t/shouldn’t take much to convert from an Aussie Ford to a USA Lincoln. With the Mustang engines the thing would scream..

  7. Ken says:

    over all is very nice, much better than the current version, but sill hate the Dr. Hannibal Lecter grill…………=-D

  8. augaug says:

    It looks great! But so does the new Ford Fusion. With this Lincoln being a concept car, I question how much of the differentiating details will make it to production. Look at a Cadillac, and tell me that it looks like a Chevy. You can’t say that. That’s what Lincoln needs to do. Also, the all glass roof. Very cool, but do rich people really want a roof that doesn’t open? I’ve seen the same design on the Range Rover Evoque, and thought that there should be an option for an opening sunroof, as well as the full glass panoramic roof.

  9. motorstreet says:

    I love the new Fusion, but I don’t like the MKZ Concept. I think the updated grille on this concept car is uglier than the controversial one they brought out on the MKS. I like the 4 door Coupe shape and the interior. Overall it is an improvement on the current MKZ and every time I see this concept I think it looks slightly better than the last time I saw it. For me what will really determine whether or not I like the MKZ is what Ford does to differentiate it from the Fusion. A more powerful engine than the Fusion offers would be a good start.

    • raschmidt says:

      I heard the Fusion went all 4 cylinder to leave room for the Lincoln and a V6. I’m guessing the 1.6 EB will be offered as its a direct competitor to the Regal/Lacrosse E Assist, and of course the hybrid and plug in hybrid as well. So those two, plus maybe the 3.7 in a sport model?

      I saw Volvo released details on the XC60 plug in too, 280hp 2.0 EB with 70hp electric motor to the rear wheels. 0-60 in 5.8 seconds, would probably be 5 flat in a car like the MKZ. Ford should have killed Lincoln and kept Volvo.

      • motorstreet says:

        Putting a V6 in this makes sense, but I think a 290hp 3.5L V6 and maybe a Hybrid will be the only power train options.

        Hopefully Volvo will put that system in an S60. I am really hoping Volvo bring the beautiful V6 Plug-in Hybrid here. It has 285hp, AWD, and is rated at over 100mpg in Europe.

        • raschmidt says:

          they won’t be bringing that one here, the European PHEZ is a diesel but the US one is confirmed as a gasoline, I think it’s going to be the powerplant in the XC60 PHEZ they just released

  10. raschmidt says:

    It’s a good looking car, but I see a few problems. The interior looks straight out of the Fusion, the exterior has almost shape as the Fusion, just more creased lines and obviously completely different styling. I would say the MKZ is now what the ES is to the Camry, they’re still the same car, but if you didnt know that you may not notice. I was under the impression this would be an almost completely different vehicle, and seeing as this is a concept I would expect the interior to be toned down alot. Too bad the S60 concept beat this by 2 years, otherwise it might have looked pretty cool.

    I was expecting more, and Lincoln needed to deliver more, I’m sure this new MKZ will sell better than the old one but this isn’t a totally different Lincoln, maybe it’s just one step on the way to a totally new Lincoln? I am really starting to feel they should just do away with Lincoln and make the Titanium trim Ford’s even nicer.