Autoblogger John whipped me out of a sound sleep on this one. I barely complained, though: I've had a keen interest in this vehicle for some time.

Ford released pics and specs of the MKX ahead of its debut, although the dynamic duo of John and Chris are likely sitting in the Lincoln press conference right now. The MKX is Lincoln's first-ever crossover that features adaptive front lighting to see around bends, a Vista Roof just like the one on the Ford Edge, heated and cooled front seats (also heated rear seats, and a 14-speaker THX-certified sound system with DVD nav. Oh yeah, motivation comes courtesy of Ford's new 3.5L V6 combined with the company's new six-speed auto.

More pics and the official press release after the jump. We'll hopefully have some live shots and more official pics aftern John and Chris get back from the press conference. 

DETROIT, Jan. 9, 2006 – The new Lincoln MKX is loaded with comfort and convenience as a modern new choice in the luxury crossover utility vehicle ( CUV) market.

Lincoln MKX’s elegant design is combined with a sporty stance, powerful engine and quiet interior. It also boasts such technological advances as adaptive headlamps that move with the steering wheel, a panoramic glass roof, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, 14-speaker THX II audio system and DVD-based navigation.

Lincoln MKX is a five-passenger CUV powered by a fuel-efficient 3.5-liter engine with a class-leading 6-speed transmission and fully independent suspension. On sale in late 2006, the new Lincoln MKX builds on the success of the Lincoln Zephyr in appealing to a new generation of luxury buyers and defining a modern vision for Lincoln.

“Lincoln MKX appeals to new luxury buyers who express their success through understated gestures,” says Peter Horbury, executive director, North America Design. “Lincoln MKX achieves modern luxury with its confident stance, elegant shape and luxurious, comfortable interior.”

Modern Lincoln Design
Lincoln MKX’s confident exterior and luxurious, quiet interior signal Lincoln’s modern design vision.
The high beltline is defined by a stroke of chromed trim that caps broad shoulders, pronounced wheel lips and short overhangs that give Lincoln MKX its wide, athletic stance. A chromed cap on each side-view mirror adds the finishing touch.

Black rocker panels plant the vehicle to the ground, accentuating the standard 18-inch wheels and tires. Side marker lights cut into the simple, clean fascia and bend around to the side of the vehicle. Chrome-ringed fog lamps integrated into the lower fascia echo the chrome-tipped dual exhausts.

“The new Lincoln MKX crossover and Zephyr sedan give Lincoln strong products in two of the hottest luxury segments in the market," says Darryl Hazel, vice president, Marketing.  "We want people to know Lincoln is giving buyers fresh luxury choices."

New Lincolns for New Luxury Customers
Today’s luxury CUV buyers want the same style, refinement, fuel economy and carlike ride and handling that they experienced in luxury sedans. While they like the style of the CUV, they don’t need all of the extra space and towing capability of traditional SUVs.

“Luxury CUVs are popular because they combine the style and efficiency of luxury sedans with most of the capability and flexibility of larger utility vehicles,” says Al Giombetti, vice president, Sales. “Lincoln MKX addresses the luxury car buyer’s demands with style, spirit, comfort and efficiency.”

Lincoln MKX will advance Lincoln’s lineup, joining Zephyr in moving into new markets and reaching out to a new generation of Lincoln customers. Lincoln MKX further demonstrates how Lincoln will differentiate itself with design.

“Lincoln is the luxury of the future,” says Horbury. “People’s attitudes about luxury are shifting, and Lincoln is leading the charge. This is an opportunity for Lincoln to reclaim its rightful place in the American luxury market.”

Lincoln Lighting
Distinctive lighting is a hallmark of modern Lincoln design, offering the perfect balance between art and functionality.

An available adaptive front lighting system in the headlamps consists of motor-driven halogen low beams that swivel around curves based on steering-wheel input. When cornering, the headlamps can illuminate a stretch of road up to 36 feet longer than conventional headlights.

“New light-source and headlamp design technologies allow us to create more interesting lighting solutions that look better and help customers see more clearly at night,” says Sudhir Sahay, manager, Lincoln SUV and Truck Marketing.

Functional elegance is also the theme for Lincoln MKX’s liftgate lighting. The system uses 16 light-emitting diodes (LEDs), eight outboard and eight inboard, flanking the Lincoln star. The result is an edge-to-edge band of illumination across the width of the liftgate.

Quiet, Comfortable Interior
Lincoln’s modern identity is evident in Lincoln MKX’s comfortable, elegant interior. 

Lincoln MKX boasts the quietest Lincoln interior yet. In addition to conventional sound-absorbing techniques such as a thicker dash pad, laminated windshield and thicker side glass, Lincoln MKX blends unique materials for further reduction in road noise. A constrained-layer barrier is fused to the rear wheel houses, and sound-deadening material is welded behind exterior trim panels.

The interior design is defined by a sweeping instrument panel flowing into a clean, well-organized center stack. Wood and satin nickel accents are carried to the door panels. Interior controls are bathed in Lincoln’s cool-white light for a pleasing nighttime cabin experience.

Removable dividers in the center console let customers adapt their storage space for anything from laptop computers to handbags and CDs. The center console also features an available concealed power point – for four in total throughout the interior – and an MP3 audio jack. Phone and MP3 player cords can be neatly organized, as a slot molded into the console provides power-point access.

The interior is surprisingly spaciousness, defying the sleek exterior shape. Front seats have eight-way power adjustment, power lumbar for both driver and passenger, and available heated and cooled features. The second row is sure to make all occupants comfortable with available heated seats, impressive headroom and best-in-class legroom.

In addition, the 60/40-split second row features impressive reclining angles of up to 15 degrees. It also folds and pivots in one fluid movement, either by the seat-mounted lever or a unique Easy Fold%uF0E4 remote switch accessible from the liftgate. Lincoln MKX offers 68.7 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats folded.

Vista Roof%uF0E4 Lets in Mother Nature
As drivers face more congested roads, Lincoln MKX’s available all-glass Vista Roof%uF0E4 brings stress relief through its unique outward view and open-air freedom.

Vista Roof%uF0E4 features a large 27.3- by 29.4-inch forward sunroof with a one-touch-open switch for vent and tilt-and-slide operations. Dual power sunshades operate concurrently when the driver wants to block out glare. Meanwhile, the fixed 15.75- by 31.3-inch rear moon roof gives rear-seat viewers an outside view, too.

DVD and THX Innovation
Lincoln’s newest available DVD-based navigation system features a 6.5-inch-wide screen and text-to-speech technology that recites travel directions in English, Spanish or French.

Rear passengers can enjoy the available DVD entertainment system with a drop-down 8-inch screen. The available THX II-Certified® surround-sound audio system has 14 speakers, including two subwoofers with 600 watts of power and a sophisticated processor that inputs bandwidth, peak audio levels and coverage uniformity. Lincoln MKX also features an optional integrated MP3-audio input jack and power point conveniently concealed in the center console.  Lincoln also offers optional factory-installed Sirius satellite radio.

Powerful, Refined and Efficient
The all-new 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 and 6-speed automatic transmission debut on Lincoln MKX, specifically tuned for effortless performance as needed on long drives or city driving. The powerpack was designed as a cohesive unit for refined performance, enhanced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics and good fuel economy.

A strong, lightweight, die-cast aluminum block and lightweight four-valve direct-acting, mechanical-bucket valvetrain provide smooth, refined operation at high engine speeds. The intake was designed as a system all the way from the throttle body to the intake valves. This incorporates a dual-plenum intake manifold and intake variable cam timing to ensure a smooth idle and broad torque curve for improved power. A 10.3: 1 compression ratio and improved close-coupled catalysts reduce emissions.

The advanced 6-speed automatic transmission uses a wide 6.04:1 gear ratio, helping deliver 7 percent better fuel economy on the highway than a four-speed automatic. Multiple clutches are used for smoother, refined shifts.

Tuned for Corners and Comfort
Lincoln MKX is Lincoln’s best example yet of effortless driving performance thanks to its wide stance, four-wheel independent suspension and the brand’s well-honed driving dynamics DNA.

Lincoln MKX’s unibody construction provides a strong foundation for the four-wheel independent suspension. The MacPherson-strut front suspension is mounted to an isolated subframe that uses hydro-bushings to reduce unwanted steering wheel vibration.

An four-link independent rear suspension uses stamped steel control blades and monotube shocks for precise suspension tuning. The rear shocks are mounted outboard and behind the wheel center to enhance ride and handling. Lincoln MKX comes standard with four-wheel disc brakes and an anti-lock braking system (ABS).

"Lincoln MKX has an available intelligent all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that we tuned with an emphasis on luxury performance and confident all-weather driving," Marcos Oliveira, executive director, Unibody Vehicles. The system actively and seamlessly delivers torque to all four wheels, even before wheel slippage occurs. An active on-demand coupler delivers the precise amount of torque needed to the rear wheels. Paired with available traction control, intelligent AWD can transfer torque front-to-rear and side-to-side.

Accident Avoidance and Protection
The Lincoln MKX offers exclusive AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control (RSC®) active safety system. The system provides better control as the crossover is driven in a spirited manor. Decoupling RSC from traditional yaw control allows each system to work most efficiently, providing improved side-slip control and enhanced roll stability control.
“Lincoln MKX’s confident handling helps drivers avoid accidents, especially when paired with our innovative active-safety technology," says Stephen Kozak, Ford Safety chief engineer. “If an accident should occur, Lincoln MKX also has Ford's comprehensive set of passive safety features.”

Lincoln MKX has six standard air bags, including front, side-impact front and side-curtain air bags. The steering wheel, knee bolster and glove box are all energy-absorbing components. The driver seat uses a seat position sensor while the passenger seat uses an occupant classification sensor – both are equipped with load-limiting safety belts and pretensioners.

Multiple layers of protection for occupants in side impacts include solid unibody construction with crossmember ladder frames, a reinforced greenhouse, energy-absorbing side door trim, seat-mounted side air bags and Safety Canopy%uF0E4 system with rollover detection and extended-duration side curtain air bags. 

Lincoln MKX goes on sale in late 2006. It will be manufactured at Ford’s Oakville Assembly Complex in Ontario, Canada.

[Source: Ford]

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