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Detroit show: Lincoln unveils MKZ luxury sedan concept

Wolff at the doors: Former Holden designer Max Wolff presents his Lincoln MKZ Concept at the Detroit motor show.

Ford breathes life into Lincoln luxury brand with polarising MKZ sedan concept

12 Jan 2012

THE Lincoln MKZ luxury sedan concept – designed by an Australian and revealed this week at the Detroit motor show – is the first step in Ford’s plan to reinvigorate its stuttering premium brand.

Ford Motor Company group vice-president for global product development, Derrick Kuzak, said the concept marks a turning point for the marque, which has struggled to gain traction with US buyers in recent years.

“With the Lincoln MKZ Concept, we are not introducing a new car,” said Mr Kuzak. “We are essentially introducing a new brand.

“The MKZ Concept is the next step in the reinvention of Lincoln, something we’ve been quietly but aggressively pursuing.”

While nominally a design exercise, the car is said to strongly preview the final production model due to replace the current MKZ sedan in the US later this year.

The MKZ Concept is said to be based on an all-new mid-sized vehicle platform which can accommodate multiple powertrain options in either front- or all-wheel-drive configurations.

Lincoln recently implanted a range of Ford EcoBoost V6 engines into its MKS sedan and MKT wagon, giving a hint at what could propel the production MKZ.

94 center imageA hybrid version is also likely as the current model features a petrol-electric drivetrain as part of the line-up.

The concept – penned by former Holden designer Max Wolff – features a swooping, coupe-like roofline, muscular shoulder lines and a polarising chrome grille.

As we have previously reported (see separate story linked below), Mr Wolff left his post at Cadillac to become Lincoln design director at the end of 2010.

The rear of the car features slimline LED wraparound tail-lights, while the bodyshell employs lightweight aluminium and boron, and includes an integrated full-length panoramic glass roof.

The cabin is swathed in beige leather and inserts made of aluminium and “responsibly harvested” poplar wood.

It includes a push-button gear selector, an eight-inch LCD touchscreen in the fascia and a 10-inch ‘Thin Film Transistor’ screen positioned behind the steering wheel.

The car’s seats also feature a “champagne perforation pattern”, so-called because the perforations on the seat backs are said to conjure the image of “champagne bubbles rising from the bottom of a glass”.

“Our movement as a brand is toward something we call elegant simplicity,” said Mr Wolff.

“It’s something warmer and more restrained, which is moving away from complex designs and traditional luxury.”

The MKZ also features Lincoln’s ‘Drive Control’ system that features three driving modes – sport, comfort and normal – as well as adjustable dampers and lane assist.

Ford Motor Company claims to have thrown the kitchen sink at its in-house rival for GM-owned Cadillac, investing in an all-new design studio for the brand in Dearborn and filling it with new designers, engineers and manufacturing experts.

“This is the first time Lincoln has had its own studio since the 1970s,” said Mr 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.”

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