Lincoln Introduces Elegant Simplicity with MKZ Concept

By Jonathan Spira on 10 January 2012
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I first saw the MKZ Concept at a preview in New York City in December and I kept noticing one thing, the mirrors. They were razor sharp and elegant, as was the car itself.

When I was young, our neighbor had an “antique” 1964 Lincoln Continental, a car I consider one of the most elegant American cars to date.  While the MKZ is thoroughly modern, it nonetheless has the flair of the Continental.

The uninterrupted panoramic glass roof makes for a very open cabin and the roofline is smooth and flowing.

The view from the side is clean and elegant and there is little unnecessary brightwork or trim – although I would personally stay away from the chrome wheels.  I was, however, disappointed that the car didn’t feature suicide doors (for some reason, carmakers shun this term: Rolls-Royce uses “coach doors” for example) in the manner of the ’64.

The interior is wood, aluminum, and leather – think Scandinavian cool – and the seats looked very comfortable (we weren’t allowed to sit in them, however).  The concept car’s seats were champagne in color and had unevenly distributed perforations, giving the seats a distinctive appearance.

The dashboard is very high-tech but not off-putting.  The instrument cluster is really a 10.1” TFT display and there’s an 8” touchscreen display in the center stack.  I’m not a fan of touchscreens (even Lexus has moved to a joystick controller) but the voice commands of Sync and My Lincoln Touch will probably make up for it.
It will be interesting to see how the button-operated electric shift works in person.  My first thought was to Packard, which had introduced an electrical push-button shifter in the 1950s but technology has, of course, clearly progressed in the past half century.  Most cars with automatic transmissions either have the gear-shift lever attached to the steering column (BMW tried an electronic version of this with the 2001 7er Series, without much success) or in the center console.  It will be interesting to see how Lincoln buyers react to this break with tradition.

According to Lincoln, the MKZ Concept “strongly hints” at what the next-generation MKZ will look like.  Lincoln, Ford’s sole luxury brand since the disbanding of the automaker’s Premier Automotive Group (which included Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo in addition to Lincoln), considers the redesigned MKZ a key aspect of its transformation to a twenty-first century luxury car maker.  Based onwhat we saw of the the MKZ Concept, it looks like they are on their way.

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