Ford insiders said that this January at the 2012 Detroit auto show, Lincoln will debut its replacement for the current MKZ in concept form. Lincoln’s new design director Max Wolff, who transferred from Cadillac, was able to influence the MKZ’s styling. Instead of a dramatic departure, the model could be described as an evolution of the present design language.
A new platform will be used on the 2013 MKZ. This platform is also set to be used for the next Ford Fusion and the Mondeo, its European counterpart. The next MKZ will retain a front-wheel-drive platform, and will probably still offer optional all-wheel drive.
A hybrid version may be offered again to supplement a lineup of V-6 and turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The termination of Mercury in 2010 had allowed Ford to commit more resources to Lincoln.
Before Lincoln could be given multi-billion-dollar development budgets by Ford, it will have to release solid base hits. It’s probably what Lincoln is hoping to achieve with the 2013 MKZ. The production-version Mk2 of the MKZ is slated to debut in 2012 during a spring show in either Chicago or New York, or maybe even at the L.A. extravaganza in November.
The Lincoln MKZ Concept gives you a preview of the production model that is set to arrive at your favorite dealerships later in 2012. It also gives you a preview of the brand’s design in the future.
Lincoln design director Max Wolff says that the MKZ Concept has a shape that is simple and has only a few strokes, signifying the brand's push for “elegant simplicity.” Wolff explains that the new design style will be more restrained and warmer, veering away from traditional luxury and complex looks.
The warm hues are seen in all aspects of the MKZ Concept where you have a Cognac colored exterior with a deep finish brought about by a rich base coat over several layers of tinted clear finishes.
Even with the move, the Lincoln MKZ Concept retains the brand’s more recognizable design factors, still making it identifiable as a Lincoln. For instance, you have the redesigned split-wing grille that was first seen on the 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr.
Looking at the car sideways, you will notice the long, sweeping and sleek roofline that eschews the traditional three box shape that the Lincoln is known for. The roofline is now longer, giving it a more elegant and flowing aerodynamic look.
The panoramic glass roof blends seamlessly with the windshield and the backlight top. The fixed glass roof is integrated flawlessly into the boron and aluminum steel body, helping it extend to the cabin’s side roof rails. What you get is a feeling of an open and spacious interior.
The taillamp now has LED lights, making it more distinctive and thinner, while the exhaust tips are seamlessly integrated into the rear fascia.
The interior of the Lincoln MKZ Concept
The interior has four seats and a warm, inviting and open feeling. Wolff says that the front’s design is seen here with the instrument panel’s dynamic sweep, helping match the interior design with that of the exterior. Wolff adds that the flowing lines produce a functional and comfortable feel that would attract the diverse and younger customers that the company is targeting.
Cutting edge interior features include the tiered center console, the liquid crystal instrumentation, and the push-button transmission gear selection. You also have the reprogrammable 10.1-inch TFT LCD found in front of the driver. The system uses the latest version of MyLincoln Touch. You also have the flush-mounted 8-inch LCD touch screen.
Aluminum, satin finishes and poplar wood trims and the leather used in the interior further give it a luxurious, comfortable and sculptural feel. The leather seats are champagne-colored featuring dark taupe accents. Looking at the seats, it will instantly remind you of champagne bubbles that rise from the bottom of the glass.