There are mid-cycle product updates, and then there's the 2017 MKZ. Instead of just a nip-and-tuck styling refresh, the entry-level Lincoln gets an all-new engine with a whopping 400 horsepower and an optional torque-vectoring rear differential. And that powerplant is exclusive to the Lincoln, at least for the time being. It's a sign that Ford is getting serious about elevating its luxury brand above the recent history of rebadged Blue Oval models.
The engine is a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, based on the current 2.7-liter that serves across the Ford and Lincoln lineup. With 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, it's the most powerful Lincoln ever. That big number will only be available in all-wheel-drive versions of the MKZ. With front-wheel drive the engine will be detuned to an estimated 350 horsepower to retain some level of driving refinement. A further option on the AWD model will be the Driver's Pack, which adds the same torque-vectoring rear differential as on the forthcoming Focus RS. With the promise of rear-wheel-drive handling characteristics, the MKZ could be the most fun-to-drive Lincoln ever. In addition to the V6, a 245-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo four and a hybrid model will be available.
When the 2017 model goes on sale next spring it will be the first Lincoln in showrooms with the new signature grille, first previewed in the Continental Concept at this year's New York Auto Show. Adaptive LED headlights are available options, and a Lincoln logo "welcome mat" projects down from the side mirrors when unlocking the car at night. The view from behind is nearly unchanged, with a revised bumper giving the car a slightly wider appearance.
Inside things are all new as well, with a completely revised center console. The capacitive-touch sliding controls are gone, replaced by buttons and knobs. In the press release, Lincoln mentions that engineers gave special attention to the sounds and feel of the switches, but the switches on the pre-production model at our product briefing felt cheap and loose. The large climate control knob clicked like it was grinding sand. We hope the production version will show more refinement.
The good news, if you're rooting for Lincoln, is that the rest of the interior is impressive, at least in the top-of-the-line Black Label trim we saw. The front seats are comfortable, and the center console is trimmed in real aluminum. The overall feel is high quality, and features like four high-speed USB charging ports (two of which are accessible to rear-seat passengers) are a nice bonus. Two audio systems are available, both Revel-branded Harman/Kardon systems: a base 14-speaker system or an optional 20-speaker setup.
Technology plays a key part in the updated MKZ. Lincoln firsts include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection and all-speed adaptive cruise control. The MKZ comes with the latest version of Ford's park assist system, which will now maneuver out of parallel parking spots and automate perpendicular parking. The MyLincoln Mobile app will also debut on the MKZ. Lincoln didn't provide a demo at this point, but the functionality will be similar to the Ford Sync Connect app coming on the 2017 Escape, with remote locking and unlocking and remote start from a smartphone app.
Read on in the press release below, and check back soon for live photos from the LA Auto Show.
- Suite of cutting-edge intuitive technologies including available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, auto hold, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and enhanced park assist help ease the new Lincoln MKZ driving experience
- Effortless performance enabled by available new Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter GTDI V6 engine, which creates a quiet, powerful ride, or popular hybrid option
- Distinctively redesigned from the inside out, including three new Lincoln Black Label themes available, plus two available Revel® audio systems delivering the height of Lincoln luxury
Lincoln reveals a newly designed MKZ today, focusing on areas most desired by today's luxury midsize sedan customer – quality, performance and style.
"Our customers are looking for three attributes in a luxury midsize sedan – technologies that ease their everyday experience, a beautiful design that is crafted with attention to detail, and a vehicle with impressive power that makes it a pleasure to drive," said Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln. "The new Lincoln MKZ elevates all of these attributes – and many more – to create a compelling entry in this large and highly competitive portion of the luxury market."
The new Lincoln MKZ is designed to appeal to those who are looking for something different in the luxury market. From the placement of technology features such as the push-button gear shift to reimagined interior spaces including the floating center console, drivers can relish in discovering an unexpected experience based on intelligent function and beautiful form that offers, above all, an enjoyable drive.
The Lincoln Experience is brought to life through the available Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter GTDI V6 engine, as well as intangible elements like the quiet cabin provided by the Active Noise Control system.
Features that make the new Lincoln MKZ a haven of refined comfort include curated spaces for storage, the availability of three Lincoln Black Label interior packages with exclusive, personal in-home design consultation, available fully retractable panoramic glass roof, and concert-quality Revel® audio with specially designed doors for optimal positioning of the speakers.
The new Lincoln MKZ is designed to make the drive ride easier and more enjoyable. Available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality automatically can slow the car, resuming higher speeds when traffic clears. The system activates the brakes automatically to bring the car to a complete stop if the driver fails to apply brakes in time1.
An auto hold feature keeps the car at a complete stop without the driver having to press and hold the brake pedal – making stop-and-go driving more relaxing for MKZ owners.
Available enhanced park assist uses ultrasonic sensors to help Lincoln MKZ seamlessly steer itself into a parallel or perpendicular parking spot. The car can assist with park-out as needed1.
Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection is an available technology that can help avoid some frontal crashes ( 1), or lessen the severity of such events.
Lincoln-exclusive engine provides effortless performance
An all-new, Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter GTDI V6 leads available engine choices for the new Lincoln MKZ. When paired with an intelligent all-wheel-drive system, the twin-turbocharged engine produces 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque (2,3 )for effortless performance and refinement.
Dynamic Torque Vectoring (4), part of an available Driver's Package for MKZ with the 3.0-liter engine, enhances cornering agility without compromising ride comfort, helping drivers enjoy a smooth, seamless experience.
The new Lincoln MKZ provides a hybrid alternative as well; and a 2.0-liter GTDI, 245-horsepower2 four-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive.
Available Lincoln Drive Control allows drivers to adjust among three drive ride modes – comfort, normal and sport. The system includes continuously controlled damping, and electric power-assisted steering to provide comfortable, confident handling.
The Driver's Package for Lincoln MKZ with 3.0-liter V6 also includes 19-inch wheels, Ebony-painted calipers, light Magnetic-painted grille, Ebony interior with carbon fiber appliqués, customizable multi-contour seats and aluminum pedal covers. In addition, the package features retuned continuously controlled damping and suspension for enhanced driving dynamics.
The new face of Lincoln is highlighted by available adaptive LED headlamps that help deliver cleaner, clearer lighting for drivers, complemented by the all-new one-piece Lincoln signature grille.
Inside, engineers paid particular attention to the sound and feel of new switches and dials that replace slider adjustments for easier control of ventilation and audio functions for new Lincoln MKZ customers. Commonly used buttons and USB ports are now even easier to access.
Two all-new Lincoln Black Label themes, Chalet and Vineyard, as well as Thoroughbred, deliver desired uniqueness and options paired with luxurious materials. Lincoln MKZ's available fully retractable panoramic glass roof offers the largest open-air roof among sedans.5
The new Lincoln MKZ goes on sale in summer 2016.
1. Driver-assist features are supplemental and do not replace the driver's judgment. 2. Tested with 93-octane fuel. 3. 3.0-liter GTDI V6 engine in front-wheel drive models is limited to 350 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. 4. Requires 3.0-liter GTDI V6 engine and AWD. 5. Based on effective roof opening as measured by Webasto.
About The Lincoln Motor Company
The Lincoln Motor Company is the luxury automotive brand of Ford Motor Company, committed to creating compelling vehicles with an exceptional ownership experience to match. For more information about The Lincoln Motor Company, please visit www.media.lincoln.com or www.lincoln.com. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/lincoln.