LA 2007: 2009 Lincoln MKS brings new look to American luxury

UPDATE 2: Video of MKS in motion added after the jump
Many more high-res pics added to gallery

click above image to view high-res gallery of the 2009 Lincoln MKS

For the past two decades, the only thing consistent about Ford's Lincoln division has been its inconsistency. To put it lightly, the brand has struggled to find it's place in the automotive landscape. The vehicles from Ford's premium domestic division haven't had a coherent look since the early '80s. Several of its models, such as the LS and the Navigator, have sold well at times, but the absence of a Lincoln DNA hasn't helped. In 2006, North American Design chief Peter Horbury set about changing all that. He gave his team the task of examining past Lincolns to determine what set them apart.

The first new model intended to set Lincoln on it's path to rebirth is the 2009 MKS, which is making its debut in production form at the LA Auto Show later today. The MKS first appeared as a concept at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show. It's based on the same platform as the Ford 500/Taurus, which originated at Volvo under the S80/ XC90. When the concept first appeared it was reasonably well received as a pleasant if not daring design for the marque. Subsequently, Horbury's team began its quest for the soul of Lincoln and came up with a list of seven elements that would be part of future Lincoln designs. Most of these appeared on the 2007 MKR concept that we saw in Detroit. While most of the MKS was already locked in for production, after the show Ford management made the decision to adopt one of most prominent elements from the new MKR concept, its grille.

[Source: Lincoln]

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One of the keys to the brand's new look was to come up with something that was uniquely Lincoln and recalled the best days of the brand without in any way looking retro. The basic look of the grille dates back to the 1941 Lincoln Zephyr with its bow wave design. The design is unique to Lincoln and doesn't really borrow from any other brands of the moment. One of the advantages of this grille design is the space between the two halves that allows the Lincoln logo to stand on it's own without being lost in the chrome. Moving back from the nose, the basic look of the body remains very true to the original concept, although the larger fender vents that first appeared have now been replaced by smaller units that almost disappear within the Lincoln logos on the front fenders.

Along the sides, a sharp crease extends from the nose to the tail. On future Lincolns this look will be taken further with a chamfer along that character line similar to what was shown on the MKR. The MKS concept's taillights remain largely in tact, but they have been lengthened vertically a bit.

One of the driving forces in this design was to enhance this Lincoln's feeling of quality and fit and finish. To that end, conscious decisions were made to mitigate the impact of misaligned panels and trim pieces. One way this was done was to extend the door panels down under the rocker panels so that the lower edge and it's seam almost disappears. On the inside, a frequent problem is the glove box door. Again the door extends under the dash panel above and around the end of the dash so that there are no visible seams when sitting inside the car. The center console sweeps down from the top of the dash in one continuous surface reprising a look from the MKR but without the floating surface. The seats and dash are covered in leather that is chromium free and provided by the same supplier who that did the original Model T and the 1956 MK II. Overall the whole look is clean and uncluttered. We'll bring you some pics of the interior later today when the car officially debuts, but for now you'll have to use your imagination.

At launch the MKS gets a new 272-hp 3.7L version of the latest Ford V6 with 265 lb-ft of torque. About a year later, a new turbocharged, direct-injected V6 will be added to provide V8 power with lower emissions and fuel consumption. Although this matches the specs of the Twin-Force V6 in the MKR, Ford won't be using that nomenclature on the MKS. Filling the fuel tank will be accomplished using Ford's new Easy-Fill cap-less system that debuted on the 2008 Explorer. While this may seem like a silly luxury, the system actually helps to greatly reduce evaporative emissions during filling.

With the MKS, Lincoln hopes to attract loyal customers from the days of the Continental and LS. They also expect the MKS to have conquest sales ten percentage points higher than current models. Right now about 33 percent of Lincoln buyers are coming from other brands, and the brand expects that number to be 43 percent for this car. The MKS goes on sale in summer 2008 at a price of about $38,000 for the front-wheel-drive model and two grand more for the all-wheel-drive version. In all, Lincoln is targeting sales of about 40,000 annually.

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· The new Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan aims to attract new buyers with its timeless design, fuel-efficient powertrain and an unparalleled suite of features and technologies.

· Class-leading convenience features include SYNC™ voice-activated, hands-free in-car communications; EasyFuel™ capless fuel filling; THX-certified audio; SIRIUS Travel Link™; voice-activated navigation; and a next-generation keyless entry keypad.

· Lincoln-exclusive fuel-efficient 3.7-liter V-6 and all-wheel drive provide smooth driving.

· Lincoln MKS will be the first vehicle to offer Ford's new gasoline turbo direct injection engine technology – which provides the power and torque of a V-8 engine with the fuel efficiency of a V-6 – less than a year after launch.

· An outstanding value starting below $38,000, Lincoln MKS orders are now being accepted; customers can visit to build and price their vehicle.

Los ANGELES, Nov. 14, 2007 – The all-new 2009 Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan debuts today, providing customers understated style, first-of-a-kind convenience features, advanced safety and one of the best values in the luxury market.

Unveiled at the Greater Los Angeles International Auto Show, the new Lincoln flagship is designed to help fuel Lincoln's growth by attracting new customers.

"Lincoln has reestablished itself as a quality and design leader with award-winning products like the Lincoln MKZ, MKX and Navigator," says Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company's president of The Americas. "With the Lincoln MKS, we are raising the bar even higher with unparalleled amenities and performance, and a price that should be irresistible to luxury customers."

The New Lincoln Flagship: A Strong Contender in the Luxury Sedan Segment

The Lincoln MKS is a full-size luxury sedan aimed at bringing new and younger buyers into the Lincoln fold. Not traditional luxury buyers who shop based on name and price tag alone, Lincoln MKS customers are under 50 and value beautiful modern design, more fuel efficiency and good value.

Pricing for Lincoln MKS starts at less than $38,000, a strategic move aimed at attracting new customers to the brand. Many will be first-time luxury buyers, with a significant number expected to migrate from imports. In fact, up to 60 percent of those buying the luxury sedan are expected to be new to Lincoln.

"We're playing to win with the Lincoln MKS, especially in California, where more luxury vehicles are sold than anywhere else. We will do so by offering confident, understated, respectful luxury – not something that will go out of fashion in a year or two," said Mike Richards, Lincoln General Marketing Manager. "We're also making an extra effort to reach out to African American and Hispanic buyers who want and deserve luxury in their lives, in part, through new marketing relationships with artists Common and Juanes."

Juanes, a 12-time Latin Grammy award winning artist, will help introduce SYNC, which is standard on Lincolns and widely available on Ford and Mercury products, to the Hispanic market. Juanes was recognized by Time magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" for his belief in the possibility of social change through music.

Common, an accomplished musician, children's author and actor, will represent Lincoln beginning in 2008. The partnership will feature multiple levels of advertising, marketing and promotional activities between Lincoln and Common's wide-ranging businesses and his community service program. Common is currently appearing in the Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington in the Ridley Scott-produced film American Gangster.

Consumers can visit to build and price their ideal Lincoln MKS and place their order at their local Lincoln dealer immediately.

To be built at Ford Motor Company's Chicago Assembly Plant, the Lincoln MKS will begin arriving in Lincoln showrooms next summer.

Loaded with Convenience and Technology: Lincoln MKS offers unprecedented amenities

The Lincoln MKS offers a suite of technologies and features not found on other luxury sedans. They include:

· SYNC, a hands-free, voice-activated hands-free in-car communication and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft. The system fully integrates most Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and digital media players, providing customers hands-free cell phone and music selection capabilities.

· THX®-certified audio system with 5.1 Surround Sound, SIRIUS Travel Link™ and Voice-Activated Navigation, which provides superior sound quality – plus real time traffic updates, movie listings, Doppler radar weather forecasts and even directions to the closest local gas stations with the best prices.

· Lincoln's Next-Generation Keypad, which uses heat-sensing technology to bring alive the keypad of LED backlit numerals embedded in the driver side B-pillar. The driver enters a five-digit code to unlock the vehicle.

· EasyFuel™ Capless Fuel-Filler System, a customer convenience that helps reduce evaporative emissions that create smog and global warming. When fueling is completed, and the nozzle is removed, the system automatically seals shut.

· Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which allows the driver to set the car's speed and maintain that speed without using the accelerator pedal. The radar-based system also can monitor the vehicle in front (up to 600 feet) and adjust the speed of the Lincoln MKS to keep it a safe distance behind the lead vehicle. Four settings accommodate different driving styles.

· Intelligent Access with Push Button Start, which is a first for Lincoln and allows the driver to enter the Lincoln MKS and start the engine without using a key. Drivers simply carry the special fob as they approach the vehicle, touch the keyless entry pad on the B-Pillar, open the door and with the brake pedal engaged, start the engine by pushing a button.

· Adaptive Headlamps with Automatic High Beams and Standard High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps, which enhance nighttime visibility by illuminating more of the road and reducing glare from oncoming traffic. Sensors monitor vehicle speed and steering wheel input engaging electric motors that pivot the left headlamp up to five degrees and the right headlamp up to 15 degrees to increase the driver's field of vision. Plus, automatic high beams switch to high intensity when no other vehicles are detected.

· Rain-Sensing Wipers, which are moisture-activated and programmable.

· Forward Sensing System, which determines how close front objects are while parking.

· Rearview Camera System, which is mounted beneath the Lincoln Star on the decklid and activated when the vehicle is shifted into reverse, giving the driver a view of what's behind the vehicle. The system works in conjunction with the vehicle's reverse sensing system and uses the navigation screen as a display.

Understated Design: Lincoln MKS debuts new design DNA

The Lincoln MKS is the first vehicle to embrace Lincoln's new design DNA.

"Every element of this luxury sedan reflects the culture of Lincoln – from its well-proportioned athleticism to the design cues we have painstakingly developed, modernizing the best elements over time," says Peter Horbury, executive director of Design for The Americas.

Its most striking exterior design feature is its double-wing grille, which sweeps up into the jewel-like headlamps, wrapping around the front fascia and forming a sharp crease that defines the high beltline. A subtle kick-up over the rear wheel calls back cue found on many classic Lincolns. Strong shoulders, dramatic C-pillars, clean body sides, a tall rear deck and large wheels and tires lend the Lincoln MKS a confident stance.

Modern luxury carries through inside, as well. Space is abundant, with a class-leading interior package. In fact, the MKS has the largest rear cabin in its class in every important dimension, including head, leg and shoulder room. And Lincoln tends to passengers' comfort with standard heated rear seats, an overhead skylight and a sun shade for the backlight.

Its interior is sleek. For instance, the Lincoln MKS's symmetrical instrument panel has fewer break lines than other luxury vehicles. The flow-through center stack is clean and uncluttered, with an information screen integrated at the top. The large center console has a split, two-piece, padded upper section. Each section slides forward individually to form an armrest.

"Luxury buyers still expect rare beauty, but today, they also seek authenticity," Horbury said.

"This is space Lincoln can rightfully reclaim, given the design of our vehicles and the way we've chosen to adorn the MKS with the finest real leathers, rare woods, real aluminum and chrome accents – in a more environmentally responsible way."

For example, the leather used for the seats is perfected with vegetable dyes and a chromium-free tanning process to create the softest leather ever used in a Lincoln.

It is supplied by Bridge of Weir Leather, the same company that provided hides for the Ford Model T and the iconic Continental Mark II, as well as the Concorde, the Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Burj Al Arab, the world's first 7-star hotel.

Ebony wood used for some models is reclaimed from furniture makers and others sources, offering a rare wood with minimal environmental impact. Also offered is Olive Ash, a wood with a distinctive grain pattern created when the roots of two trees grow together.

Smooth Power: Fuel-efficient V-6 today; V-8 power with V-6 efficiency tomorrow

The Lincoln MKS is powered by a Lincoln exclusive new 3.7-liter V-6 engine. The powertrain has been derived from the proven 3.5-liter V-6 found in the Lincoln MKX, which was voted one of Ward's 10-Best Engines for 2007.

Both engines share the same strong, die-cast aluminum block and lightweight four-valve heads for smooth operation at high RPMs. The 3.7-liter's larger cylinders contribute to the increase in horsepower and torque. This engine delivers 270 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift that delivers smoother shifts, better fuel economy, acceleration and the option to manually select gears.

"This engine is tuned to maximize the increased torque to improve performance where it's needed most – standing acceleration and passing," says Michael Celentino, chief engineer.

Less than a year after launch, the Lincoln MKS will be the first vehicle to offer Ford's new gasoline turbo direct injection engine technology.

The premium engine – which offers the power and torque of a V-8 with the fuel efficiency of a V-6 – will make the Lincoln MKS the most powerful and fuel-efficient all-wheel drive luxury sedan in the market.

Lincoln MKS also is available with an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that provides a confident driving experience in all weather. It uses a sophisticated system of clutches to quickly distribute torque between front and rear wheels – up to 100 percent in either direction – to avoid wheel slip. The AWD system works with the standard Advance Trac® stability control system to provide additional stability, transferring torque from side-to-side.

An all-new independent rear suspension design features vertically mounted shock absorbers mounted at the outboard end of the suspension arms near the wheels, maximizing suspension travel and allowing for more precise suspension tuning.

The MacPherson strut and rear-facing L-shaped lower control arm front suspension also was designed to maximize suspension travel and tuned to work in harmony with the rear suspension. As an added benefit, the new suspension design can accommodate larger, 20-inch wheels and tires without compromising ride comfort.

The Lincoln MKS comes standard with 18-inch bright, machined, cast aluminum painted 10-spoke wheels. Nineteen-inch 10-spoke painted, polished or machined aluminum or a class-exclusive 20-inch, 11-spoke, highly polished, cast aluminum wheel are available options.
Building on a Heritage of Safety Leadership

The Lincoln MKS is equipped with a comprehensive package of the latest in active and passive safety features to provide the highest level of protection for all occupants.

Standard safety features include: dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags, safety belt pretensioners, load-limiting retractors, driver seat positioning sensor, side air bags and Safety Canopy™ side curtain air bags with roll-fold technology and four-wheel ABS brakes.

Additional standard safety features include an anti-theft perimeter alarm, Battery Saver, Belt-Minder®, Child Safety Locks, glow-in-the-dark trunk release, illuminated entry, LATCH (Lower Anchors & Tethers for Children) and a tire pressure monitoring system.

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