2013 MKZ represents rebirth for Lincoln

  • 05-Apr-2012 03:04 EDT

MKZ has all-new styling that features flowing lines but an overall clean, uncomplicated look.

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ was introduced at the 2012 New York International Auto Show as the beginning of the brand’s future and the first of seven new or significantly refreshed vehicles coming from a dedicated product team. The exterior styling and interior show a clear attempt to hit all the key requirements for the entry luxury class, without a look that replicates competitive models in the class.

There’s a large retractable glass panel roof with an area of 15.2 ft² (1.41 m²) that will become a signature Lincoln feature. Despite the size of the glass, the panel as installed maintains the structural rigidity of a steel roof, Ford said.

The sedan’s exterior uses clean, flowing lines, particularly for the roofline, from a steeply angled windshield to the longer backlight, which also improves vehicle aerodynamics.

The 5.0 mm (0.2 in) thick glass roof panel is 4.1 ft (1250 mm) long, 3.7 ft (1127 mm) wide, and opens or closes in 10 s. When fully retracted, there’s a roof opening 2.0 ft (610 mm) long by more than 2.5 ft (762 mm) wide. A wind deflector automatically deploys when the roof is retracted, and at speeds over 40 mph (64 km/h), the glass moves 8.0 in (203 mm) forward to reduce wind noise.

The interior materials have a rich, soft-touch look, including leather seating surfaces, plus real wood trim, to meet the premium requirements for the class. However, the center stack and console provides the most distinctive touch: the transmission selector is push-button and all the  buttons (Park, Neutral, Reverse, Drive, and Sport) are in a simple vertical line at the left side of the stack, flush-mounted. Unlike the push-button Chrysler transmissions of a half-century ago, with their cable drives, the six-speed automatic’s shift selection is all-electronic. Eliminating the shift lever or large turn knob permitted Ford stylists to create an open look for the dashboard, with the center stack leading into a console with a large storage area in the bottom.

Although the MKZ is built on the same C/D platform as the Ford Fusion, its engine lineup is significantly different from the all-four-cylinder Fusion offerings (1.6-L EcoBoost, 2.0-L EcoBoost, and 2.5-L). Ther MKZ provides a choice of two four-cylinder engines for front-drive versions of the MKZ, the 2.0-L EcoBoost rated at 240 hp (179 kW), and the 2.0-L four with the new generation Ford hybrid system, rated at 188 hp (140 kW) total for engine and motor. The 3.7-L V6 is the high-output option, rated at 300 hp (224 kW) and is in a powertrain package with AWD.

Fuel economy numbers are competitive for the class. The 2.0-L EcoBoost is U.S EPA rated at 22 mpg city/33 highway. The 3.7-L V6 AWD numbers are 18/26. Hybrid numbers are not yet available.

Like other cars in the entry-luxury class, the MKZ offers a host of high-technology features. The instrument cluster is a full-color 10.1-in LCD panel and there is an 8.0-in center stack touch screen (My Lincoln Touch) with the recently reworked Sync system.

The Continuous Control Damping (CCD) system monitors shock absorber settings 500 times per second and can execute up to 50 changes per second, guided by driver-selectable ride character (sport, normal, comfort). The CCD system also is integrated with the electric power steering, transmission shift schedule, traction control, and stability systems in an electronic architecture called Lincoln Drive Control, which is programmed to smoothen the overall driving experience. Active noise control is included.

The Lane Keeping System monitors driver operation and will display the “coffee cup” symbol if there are signs of fatigue from driving patterns. It also is capable of inducing "rumble-strip-like" vibrations and finally can produce corrective force on the electric power steering if lane drift is detected.

Ford’s rear-seat inflatable seat belts are included in the vehicle safety package, along with eight airbags.

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