LOS ANGELES, CA – Those who have written off Lincoln had better give it a second thought. Ford’s luxury brand and its dealers may have been through a rough patch, but things are definitely looking up!
On the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show, Lincoln executives took a small group of Canadians to an off-site sneak peak at the 2017 MKZ sedan, due to be revealed the following day at the show and to arrive in Lincoln stores next summer.
It’s a 400-horsepower stunner!
From the bold new grille that will henceforth grace all Lincolns to the truncated rear end, this is an all-new car. That grille, to these eyes, is a pleasant departure from those gracing Lincolns lately. There is a more cohesive look to this car, a more refined and upscale appearance befitting a luxury car.
Growth for brand
It also befits a company that is enjoying tremendous growth, here at home in North America and in China. Lincoln sales in Canada are up 17% so far in 2015; MKZ sales are up by 14% and MKX by 64%.
The average luxury car buyer in America is 54 years old. Not too long ago, the age of Lincoln buyers averaged 67! That is now down to 58 and continuing in the “right” direction.
As if that is not good news enough, consider the situation in China where 24 new Lincoln dealerships have been opened in the last year, one every other week. And that still is not enough to keep up with demand, so plans call for a new Lincoln store to open every 10 days next year!
Developed from the inside out
Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln, told us the new MKZ was developed from the inside out based on consumer expectations, with the goal of an enhanced driving experience; “something we are calling quiet luxury,” he said.
“Lincoln customers are looking for three attributes,” he said – technology that makes everyday driving easier, a design that is both good looking and riddled with attention to detail, and impressive power. “The new MKZ elevates all of these,” Kalhotra said.
The 2017 MKZ will b available with a new, exclusive to Lincoln, twin-turbo V-6 producing 400-horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. A hybrid will also be available, with a 2.0-litre , 245-horsepower, four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor.
While the new MKZ will be available with front or all-wheel-drive in the U.S., all those that come to Canada will be AWD, except for the hybrid. As part of the drive to make the driving experience special, the new car will have Lincoln Drive Control, allowing the driver to alter steering effort and suspension compliance
A Driver’s Package will include Dynamic Torque Vectoring which will send additional power to the outside wheels in corners to enhance that experience. When is the last time you heard the words “cornering” and “Lincoln” in the same sentence?
The latest technologies
A number of driver assist technologies expected in this class, will be standard or available, including adaptive cruise control with full-stop capabilities, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection and an enhanced park assist system that allows the MKZ to steer, unaided, into or out of parallel or perpendicular parking spots.
The car displayed here had the optional adaptive LED headlights, adding to the cleanliness of the new design. Lighting plays a significant role throughout, with subtle “welcoming” lighting inside and out as you approach and get into the vehicle.
The interior is worth of any luxury vehicle with subtle tones and textures, beautifully crafted materials and a classy overall feeling. There are carefully finished storage spots and a massive sunroof with a single piece of glass that slides back over the rear window.
Two Revel audio systems will be available with a minimum of 12 channels and 20 speakers. A brief demo showed this to be a world-class setup with crisp, clean lows and great surround-sound definition.
Little touches abound, like smart-charge USB outlets that supply the correct amount of power whether you are charging a phone or a tablet. And there's an app for your smart phone that will let you remotely unlock the vehicle and start the engine, even schedule a start time in the future, like the following morning. It will also help you locate the vehicle in a crowded parking lot, check the fuel level, and advise when service is due.
Lincoln’s rebirth continues!