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Ford's New Lincoln Exemplified In Presidential Style With the New MKZ Concept

Lincoln has long been Ford's luxury brand, whose checkered past success and failure has been as colorful as the president it was named after. Lately, the brand has been lackluster, stealing design elements from Ford's other products. Today, Ford is emphasizing Lincoln at the North American International Auto Show with a new flagship: the MKZ Concept.

This concept will hit showrooms as a 2013 model later this year and the final production prototype is expected to unveil at the New York International Auto Show in April. The concept is larger and more spacious than its 2012 predecessor, adding a full five inches to its wheelbase.

Exterior Style

Everything about the MKZ has been upgraded. It presents a clear vision of where the brand plans to go; and it's a good vision. The MKZ blends European styling with American luxury expectations, creating something beautiful. It starts with the split grille, creating the unique “bird beak” feel of older Lincolns without the pointed crease.

The car's shape is a simple stroke similar to designs from Audi and BMW. Lines on the hood break away at the windshield while the rear quarters hint at strength and stability without looking boxy. The roof itself is all glass, broken only by roll cage strips, giving the MKZ a convertible feel.

The paint is a deep, luxurious color Ford calls “Cognac” which makes use of heavy clear-coat finishes to create tint and depth.

Interior Blending

Inside, the MKZ is completely revamped. The expected rich tan of luxury is there, but the open feel of the glass rooftop and the soft lines make it more like sitting in an estate wagon than a car. The four seats are built for comfort and the integrated technologies for connectivity will definitely appeal to the younger demographic Ford is hoping to bring back to the brand.

Push-button gear selection (mounted as thumb controls on the wheel), liquid crystal instrumentation, a TFT LCD with MyLincoln Touch controls as the center LCD screen are the central controls for much of the vehicle's technology.

The entire interior is accented by poplar and aluminum while the seats are soft leather in Champagne.

Under the Hood

Ford didn't ignore the ride and drive with this upgrade. The powertrain remains the same as the current 2012 model, with the exception being the 8-speed transmission updating to electric shift with push-button control. The MKZ features Lincoln Drive Control using Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) on the suspension, allowing for complete ride control under any condition. This is coupled with Ford's latest technology, the Lane Keeping System, which alerts the driver when they're wandering out of lane – a key safety feature in top-end Ford cars.

Overall, this is a complete change for Lincoln, showing Ford's commitment to totally revamping the luxury brand.