The new range-topping powerplant, thus far otherwise unavailable in the Blue Oval kingdom, will net a healthy 285 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 305 pound-feet of torque from 2,750 revs. Those figures represent gains of 10 hp and 5 lb-ft over earlier estimates, putting the handsome new compact CUV in the hunt with up-engined rivals from Audi and BMW. (A variant of the 2.3L will shortly find its way into the engine bay of the 2015 Ford Mustang, albeit with a number of key changes, including north-south orientation.)
In the MKC, the new engine will net 18 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway with standard all-wheel drive, meaning it only loses a single mile per gallon in the city cycle versus the 240-hp, 270-lb-ft 2.0L EcoBoost model when fitted with all-wheel drive. Both engines rely on the same six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission.
For comparison's sake, the MKC's 2.3L EcoBoost engine stacks up favorably against the all-wheel-drive Audi Q5's larger 3.0-liter V6, which musters 272 hp and 295 lb-ft (18 mpg city, 26 highway), but falls short of the BMW X3 xDrive35i and its 3.0L I6's 300/300 ratings (19 city, 26 highway). The 2.3's power ratings give Lincoln power-density bragging rights for the segment, but somewhat disappointingly, its lower engine displacement doesn't yield class-leading economy figures.
The first Louisville-built MKCs are trickling into showrooms as you read this, and Autoblog will have a drive impressions from this week's California launch event early next week, so stay tuned.
All-new 2015 Lincoln MKC small premium utility vehicle delivers spirited performance, elegant design, impeccable craftsmanship and customer-focused technologies for an engaging driving experience
All-EcoBoost® engine lineup, including an available all-new 2.3-liter achieving 285 horsepower and 305 lb.-ft. of torque, delivers performance and refinement to rival larger-capacity engines while offering competitive fuel economy
Available Lincoln Drive Control orchestrates continuously controlled damping, electric power-assisted steering and active noise control to achieve a smooth, precise and quiet ride
The all-new 2015 Lincoln MKC, due in showrooms this month, is performance-minded, luxuriously crafted and technologically savvy to meet the needs of luxury buyers who want a more personal car-owning experience.
Priced from just $33,995 – the lowest entry price in the segment – the Lincoln MKC offers customers the ultimate no-compromise small premium utility vehicle. It is the second of four all-new Lincoln vehicles due by 2016, and will go on sale in China, along with the MKZ sedan, when the Lincoln brand debuts there later this year.
"The Lincoln MKC was designed to capture the attention of a worldwide audience," said Matt Van Dyke, director, Global Lincoln. "Spirited, stylish and smart, it truly is one of the most exciting new products from Lincoln in years."
With a powerful, fuel-efficient all-EcoBoost® engine lineup, complemented by an array of premium amenities and technologies that prioritize comfort and convenience, MKC targets a growing audience of luxury consumers who want a vehicle that meets their unique needs.
Spirit defined by an athletically graceful exterior
As the first vehicle designed from the ground up in a dedicated Lincoln Design Studio, the Lincoln MKC strikes a sporty yet elegant pose. Its sleek, sculpted body, high beltline and low shoulders create a sturdy, athletic presence, enhanced by a low center of gravity for responsive handling and cornering stability.
The pedestal sideview mirrors improve visibility and an available panoramic Vista Roof® lets natural light fill the cabin, creating a feeling of openness.
At the rear, a distinctive wraparound liftgate combines form with function in a fluid design. Created by a hydroforming process, the result is a clean appearance, free of typical lines and joints, with a wide opening for easy access to the cargo area.
An optional hands-free feature opens the liftgate with a kicking motion below the rear bumper.
To complement full-width LED taillamps, longer-lasting and energy-efficient HID headlamps are integrated within the Lincoln signature split-wing grille to give the front end a distinctive look.
Luxury materials and fine craftsmanship shape the interior
The evolution of Lincoln design carries through to the interior, where craftsmanship, luxury materials and a high-tech environment offer a warm, inviting space.
Great attention was paid to ensuring the high quality of all customer interface points, from rich materials and exquisite detailing on the door panels and seats, to the clean, uncluttered one-piece center console that helps to create a calm and open environment. A sweeping, full-width instrument panel, complete with the Lincoln signature push-button gear shift, contributes to a sense of spaciousness and creates storage space in the center console where a traditional gear shift would be.
An all-new Lincoln steering wheel debuts on the MKC. The highly tactile, Wollsdorf leather-wrapped wheel is optional and offers a better feel and improved control, putting Lincoln luxury in the driver's hands.
Throughout the cabin, available open-pore wood trim, door-panel stitching, and exclusive Bridge of Weir® Deepsoft leather-trimmed seats accentuate Lincoln MKC's elegance and grace. Deepsoft leather is a non-embossed, chromium-free leather that undergoes a 16-hour softening process to give it a supple, natural feel.
Available trims include Sonata Spin appliqués, and natural, responsibly harvested Zebrano and Santos Rosewood.
Introducing the 2.3-liter: The newest EcoBoost engine
The Lincoln MKC features an all-EcoBoost engine lineup, including the available 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. A combination of turbocharging, direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing delivers performance and refinement that rival bigger engines but with the fuel-economy benefits of downsizing.
Tested with 93-octane fuel, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost achieves 285 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 305 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,750 rpm, the most horsepower per liter in its class.
"It was important the performance of the Lincoln MKC delivered the on-road sportiness expressed in the vehicle's exterior design," said John Jraiche, Lincoln MKC chief engineer. "The all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost certainly achieves that and more."
The newest engine in the EcoBoost lineup was specifically engineered for higher performance and tuned for a luxury application. Engineers optimized the calibration, changed the final drive and added a new torque convertor. Its unique features include a twin-scroll, low-inertia turbocharger, piston cooling jets for fuel economy and durability, polished valve-train tappets, and a 9.5:1 compression ratio.
The twin-scroll turbocharger and a three-port integrated exhaust manifold cylinder head are two factors pivotal to the engine's success. Turbo lag is virtually eliminated, giving the driver more power for passing while maintaining excellent fuel efficiency. Aided by class-exclusive Active Grille Shutters, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost has an EPA-estimated rating of 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway/21 mpg combined that is competitive with segment leaders.
The integrated exhaust manifold enhances exhaust flow for improved efficiency and durability, and reduces vehicle weight.
The standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost turbocharged engine delivers a competitive 240 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 270 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm, the most torque per liter in its class. The front-wheel-drive, 2.0-liter EcoBoost-equipped MKC has an EPA-estimated rating of 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway/23 mpg combined, while the 2.0-liter with Intelligent All-Wheel Drive has an EPA-estimated rating of 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined.
Available Intelligent All-Wheel Drive evaluates road conditions in milliseconds, compensating for and transferring power between the wheels to provide a confident grip and solid response on varying surfaces through differing weather conditions. It modulates the torque to manage understeer and oversteer situations and provides a dynamic and sporty feel that more closely resembles a rear-wheel-drive experience.
Torque Vectoring Control, standard across all models, increases the fun-to-drive factor, balancing the distribution of engine torque to the front wheels for greater stability in cornering situations.
Both powertrains are mated to a smooth-shifting, six-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
Lincoln Drive Control enhances the drive experience
Lincoln Drive Control is an optional suite of ride-enhancing technologies designed to customize the driving experience and deliver an exhilarating ride. Lincoln Drive Control consists of continuously controlled damping, electric power-assisted steering and active noise control.
Continuously controlled damping – standard with all-wheel-drive and optional on front-wheel-drive models – uses a suite of sensors to constantly monitor the vehicle's suspension motion. Every two milliseconds, the system reads 46 inputs to assess body movement, steering and braking, and adjusts to maintain a smooth, comfortable, connected ride.
Drivers can choose any of three drive modes: sport, comfort and normal. In sport mode, automatic downshifting provides more torque and increased performance. The chosen setting displays on the vehicle's advanced LED instrument panel, blue for comfort mode and red for sport mode. This allows drivers to select the handling and responsiveness that best suits their driving preference.
Electric power-assisted steering works in tandem with continuously controlled damping to deliver responsive and agile steering assistance for every driving situation. This sophisticated electric speed-sensitive steering assist system constantly measures steering inputs, adapts to changing road conditions and helps compensate for slight directional shifts, aiding maneuverability. The electric motor operates only when steering assistance is required, which is a more efficient way of managing energy than traditional hydraulic systems.
The Lincoln MKC's active noise control system consists of a control unit and a series of speakers and microphones that capture, analyze and refine or cancel sound waves to enhance overall sound quality in the cabin and provide a pleasant driving environment.
Other elements meant to ensure Lincoln MKC passengers enjoy a comfortable, quiet ride include thick, acoustic-laminate windshield glass and felted wheel wells that help limit road noise.
Using technology to create a new luxury experience
Lincoln MKC uses advanced technologies to offer a luxuriously personalized driving experience.
Driver and passengers are treated to the sound-system excellence of an available enhanced THX® II Certified Audio System. The system – the result of a 10-year collaboration between Lincoln and THX – offers THX-distributed bass technology, 14 speakers and three two-way front slot speaker assemblies to deliver a rich surround-sound experience.
Lincoln's first-ever small utility vehicle will be its first to offer always-on, built-in connectivity through an available embedded modem. Via a smartphone app that communicates with the vehicle, the available MyLincoln Mobile™ app gives Lincoln MKC owners the ability to start, lock, unlock and locate their vehicle, as well as schedule a remote start. Vehicle owners can also use the app to access important vehicle status information such as fuel level, battery charge status and tire pressure.
The SYNC® with MyLincoln Touch™ driver connectivity system enables control of phone, entertainment, climate and optional navigation by means of voice-activated commands or simple touch controls on an 8-inch screen. Knobs and buttons on the center console provide additional access to easily adjust air conditioning and sound system settings.
The Lincoln MKC will greet owners with approach detection, an intuitive feature that senses when an owner is within a range of up to 8 feet, at which point the vehicle comes to life with a soft glow.
Helping ensure passenger safety on the road
From its computer-optimized crumple zones and rigid body architecture made of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel, to its seven standard airbags including a driver's knee airbag, the Lincoln MKC makes the safety of its occupants a top priority.
The Lincoln MKC also provides AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, traction control and electronic brakeforce distribution.
Vehicle prototypes were crash-tested 5,000 times in combined virtual and real-world tests to ensure it performs remarkably under a variety of circumstances.
Intuitive technologies assist the driver
Driver-assist technologies help define Lincoln MKC as the ultimate small premium utility vehicle. The following smart features are available.
Park out assist uses sensors to guide drivers out of tight parallel parking spots, an addition to active park assist that helps locate a parallel parking space and guide the driver into it
Adaptive cruise control uses sensors to detect when traffic in front of the vehicle slows. The vehicle automatically slows down, and resumes cruising speed when the sensors detect traffic has cleared
A collision warning system alerts the driver if it detects a potential front-end crash
Lane-Keeping System includes Lane-Keeping Alert and Lane-Keeping Aid. With Lane Keeping Alert, the steering wheel vibrates when drivers are straying from their lane. Lane-Keeping Aid provides a mild steering input to encourage drivers to steer toward the center of the lane
Blind Spot Information System, or BLIS, signals the driver when a vehicle enters one of its blind spots by displaying an indicator in the sideview mirror
Cross-traffic alert detects traffic approaching from either side as the vehicle backs out of a parking space and warns the driver when another vehicle is present
Rearview camera displays image on the center console-mounted 8-inch screen
New entry in a fast-growing segment
The Lincoln MKC gives Lincoln a compelling entry in the small premium utility market, the fastest-growing segment in the luxury automotive market. The segment has grown in the United States by more than 600 percent since 2008, and is projected to grow an additional 288 percent by 2018, according to IHS. By 2015, the small premium utility segment – driven by new luxury buyers and current luxury owners looking to downsize – is projected to account for 6 percent of luxury automotive sales.
Production of the all-new 2015 Lincoln MKC is under way at Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky.