This is Lincoln's make-or-break car. Being all new, it shares its platform with the Ford Fusion and overseas Ford Mondeo midsizers. But as the Lexus ES is to the Toyota Camry, the Lincoln MKZ Concept is a blinged to the hilt with leather, wood, and technology. Lincoln officially calls the MKZ a concept, but aside from the 20-inch wheels, four-seat interior, and other small details, this is pretty much what the production version will look like.
As the 2013 Ford Fusion will come standard with Sync and MyFord Touch technology, expect this Lincoln to come outfitted with its eight-inch LCD screen and MyLincoln Touch from the factory, too. Overall, the design is elegant, what Lincoln calls a modern interpretation of its 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr sedan with a winged grille, swept roofline, and compact LED headlights flanking each side of this sedan that grows almost five inches between the wheels for added passenger space.
Who It's For
We're not exactly sure. Lincoln has said that it is targeting BMW and other German automakers with its upcoming products in an effort to regain ground it sorely needs. But the front-wheel-drive MKZ Concept (and production vehicle), while tuned to perform with some dynamic alacrity, isn't the same sort of vehicle. It's larger, sized three inches longer than a Cadillac CTS and eight inches shorter than the Cadillac XTS that competes with the larger Lincoln MKS. To our eyes, it looks like a solid Lexus ES, Buick LaCrosse, and Hyundai Azera competitor, meaning early Generation X and Baby Boomers with some extra cash and a luxury-over-sport focus ought to check it out.
If technology is luxury, the Lincoln MKZ Concept has it in spades. The production version is going to need all of it, too, as the Ford Fusion has set the bar very high for what needs to be included as standard fare in a luxury car. Some features include:
- A full panoramic glass roof that makes every other moon roof we can think of look puny.
- A clean, smooth shape that is reminiscent of both the Cadillac XTS and Audi A7, but definitely Lincoln in style.
- A rich, plush interior with LCD readouts for the gauges and center console in addition to plenty of wood, aluminum, and poplar wood accents.
What We Think
The Lincoln MKZ interior is perfect. All it needs is a fifth seat, and we'll give it our blessing for production. Because, honestly, it needs to be as good as the concept for the production model for it to matter in a very hotly contested entry-level luxury segment.
But the rest of the car is leaving us waiting. What makes it any better than anything else in its class, especially if it's going to be toned down further for production? What's with the front end that looks like a smiling blue whale? Is a car of this size, weight, and configuration going to be able to compete with serious sports sedans, and is Lincoln even trying to go that direction?
Lincoln needed to hit a homerun with this car, especially because the 2013 Ford Fusion on which it's based looks to be such an impressive vehicle. But in our eyes, it looks to be merely a ground-rule double for its class. We'll reserve final judgment for the production-ready version, but consider us a little disappointed with what we see now.