I'll admit I was caught flat-footed on this one. I had heard about a new sedan for Lincoln but no other details.

So when I saw the pics and specs on the MKS, I was completely caught off guard. May have to revise my new-car "want" list for this one. The MKS also gets Ford's VistaRoof, which seems to be a ubiquitous item on future Ford products. Like the MKX, the MKS also gets adaptive headlights, although this time they are concept-like LEDs. Unlike the MKX, this big sedan gets a big engine in the form of a 315-hp V8 paired with Ford's new six-speed auto. All that power is channeled to all four wheels, which adds extra weight for sure, but is a better option that trying to steer with all that oomph going to the front wheels only.

The MKS is a clear indication of what Lincoln's next big sedan will look like, which we think is a very good thing for the brand. It's almost, dare we say, Acura-like in its design.

More pics and the official press release after jump, with live shots of the press conference on their way.

DETROIT, Jan. 9, 2006 – The Lincoln MKS strongly hints at the design direction for Lincoln and its upcoming new flagship sedan.  Lincoln MKS' expressive design is defined by sculpted, fluid surfacing that conveys an athletic nature and performance.

A clean, contemporary interior includes the comfort and convenience hallmarks that will define Lincoln vehicles going forward.  The Lincoln MKS features heated and cooled seats with 14-way power adjustments, a panoramic glass roof, adaptive LED head lights, advanced navigation system, Bluetooth and DVD-audio surround sound. A powerful 315-horsepower V-8 engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, intelligent all-wheel drive and Lincoln’s first sedan with 20-inch wheels.

“Attitudes about luxury are changing, and Lincoln is at the forefront of the shift,” says Peter Horbury, executive director, North American Design. “People want refinement, rather than ostentation. Lincoln MKS is a luxury car that doesn’t need to shout - it captivates with a whisper.”

Exterior Design
Expressive, refined styling defines the exterior. The Lincoln MKS is a luxury vehicle that has elegance and composure and is at home in any setting. Its face is a modern interpretation of the classic Lincoln grille, combining the waterfall and the brand’s signature crosshatch star. 

“Everything about the design of the Lincoln MKS flows from the star and then directs the eye back to it,” explains Patrick Schiavone, design director, North America Car. “It’s like an abstract arrow that points you to the star and breaks up the weight of the hood.” 

The confident stance and clean front of the Lincoln MKS signal an understated strength, while the vehicle’s surface communicates motion. As the sculpted hood travels back to the cowling, it curves upward to greet the A-pillars. The eye is pulled up and around the car’s silhouette and over its dynamic shoulder line to its powerful haunches. 

“Lincoln MKS communicates power, motion and speed,” says Schiavone. “It’s athletic and muscular, yet elegant.”

A Footprint for Style, Speed
With substantial 20-inch wheels – the largest ever on a Lincoln sedan – the Lincoln MKS belongs to the serious drivers. Designed with five main spokes and five offset spokes in contrasting polished and vapor-blasted alloy, the wheels reflect light at varying angles to convey a sense of speed.

“Traditionally in the design vocabulary, a sport wheel has five spokes, while luxury wheels are multispoked,” says Schiavone. “The Lincoln MKS is both sporting and luxurious, so we combined the two aesthetics in our ‘five/five’ wheel.”

The Lincoln MKS exquisite exterior color is called Juniper Frost offset by a lower body
color of Celadon Green. Side vents are accented by the Lincoln star.

A dramatic panoramic glass Vista Roof™ is set between polished alloy finishing rails. The same polished alloy highlights the roof ditch molding and distinguishes the bold rear fenders with dual exhaust tips. 

Clean, Modern Interior Makes Every Occupant a VIP
Inside, the Lincoln MKS is a treat for the senses, offering occupants the ultimate in craftsmanship and comfort. The instrument panel features a slender ribbon of Silvered Birdseye maple framed by a polished alloy band. The Vista Roof™ emphasizes the sense of space, while inviting the outdoors into the cabin.       

The seats, with supple, full-grain Aniline leather, adjust 14 ways – with individual power controls for driver and passenger. These seats are not only heated, they’re cooled. The lower cushions extend, and the lumbar area offers additional support.

Suede plays a role in the vehicle’s interior elegance. The console is covered in Oxford Grey suede; doors are offset by pearl white suede. 

Open-loop Wind Loom carpeting adds texture and warmth. Signature Lincoln Cool White lighting illuminates the cabin in soft hues.

The Lincoln MKS' instrument cluster features gauges inspired by precision sports watches – large, easy to read, and well placed for maximum visibility. The gauge needles have flush-fit hubs that contribute to a clean, streamlined look; the readings are marked by subtle raised chaplets, giving the cluster a dash of brightness. 
Innovative Technologies Anticipate Driver’s Needs 
The Lincoln MKS presents a suite of features designed to make life more convenient:  Bluetooth, 14-speaker, 500-watt DVD surround-sound audio system, a passive entry system that automatically identifies the driver, push-start ignition, onboard navigation and next-generation headlights that improve nighttime vision around curves in the road.

The adaptive front lighting system improves on current "cornering" lighting technologies by using two light sources working in tandem to help drivers to see better around curves.  A high-output halogen projection main beam is assisted by a secondary row of light emitting diodes (LEDs) that illuminate as needed. Driven by electronic sensors rather than mechanical motors - used in current cornering systems - a row of instantaneous LEDs switch on sequentially as the vehicle rounds the bend.

Navigation systems are not new to the luxury market. But intuitive, easy-to-use navigation systems that put the customer first are. With the Lincoln Mobile Media System there is no complicated, frustrating, endless list of drop-down menus. Here, occupants select a function on an eight-inch LCD touch screen. The functions include navigation, tri-zone climate control, audio entertainment system, connectivity and vehicle information. Then occupants modify directions, temperature, volume, etc., through rotary controls.

The Lincoln Mobile Media System allows the driver to download the latest information from information channels such as the National Weather Center or view the major points of interest along his drive route. 

Other advanced adaptive technologies featured in the Lincoln MKS were developed to anticipate the occupants’ needs while helping them stay connected. A passive entry system recognizes the driver and automatically unlocks the vehicle and adjusts to his or her personal settings for mirrors, seats, radio dials and temperature. Cell phone calls are transmitted through the 14-speaker surround-sound system, utilizing Blue Tooth technology. The Lincoln MKS's Intelligent AWD System will help ensure confident performance, while the vehicle’s adaptive lighting system instantly adjusts to help improve nighttime driving visibility.   

Engaging Driving Dynamics
Under the hood, an all-aluminum 4.4-liter V-8 engine pumps out 315 horsepower. This engine is paired with Ford Motor Company’s smooth-shifting, 6-speed automatic transmission, giving the Lincoln MKS outstanding performance, fuel efficiency and emissions improvements.

Surefooted power is delivered to all four wheels. The active AWD system provides performance and all-weather traction. A preemptive-slip system reads key parameters that automatically transfers torque to the wheels before they begin to slip.

Lincoln MKS also is equipped with industry-leading safety features. It offers dual front air bags, driver and passenger side air bags and a side air curtain for rollover protection.  The steering column tailors its rate of collapse to the driver’s size and safety-belt use. A cross-car side impact protection beam under the front seats reinforces the structure between the B-pillars while directing energy away from passengers.

“Lincoln has historically excelled at full-size luxury sedans – it’s been our hallmark,” says Darryl Hazel, vice president, Marketing, North America. “With the Lincoln MKS, we’re reaffirming what we stand for and signaling our intent to introduce a new generation of consumers to full-size performance luxury in the very near future.”  

[Source: Ford]

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