Detroit: 2013 Lincoln MKZ Concept Aims to Relaunch Lincoln (Again)

Another day, another Lincoln renaissance. Here we are, at the beginning of another supposed new era for Lincoln. Sorry that we are a bit cynical – we’ve seen this movie before. That said, there have been some efforts that have really been convincing on Ford’s part to show this time is different.

A whole new design center is being built specifically for Lincoln and designers (Max Wolff from Cadillac) and engineers are being brought in from different luxury brand. This is all aimed at providing an entirely different luxury experience for Lincoln buyers. Being a true luxury brand requires exclusive technology and Ford has expressed its intent on giving that to Lincoln.

Lincoln’s problems have stemmed from being entirely too close to Ford products, which are now extremely competitive in the segments they compete in. Ford’s winning streak has stood in stark contrast to Lincoln’s declining sales. But no more they say, the MKZ is on its way as the first example of a changed Lincoln.

Some designs grow on you with time and after seeing them in more realistic pictures. Some just hit you from the first time you see them. The MKZ strikes us as more of a grower. We want to like it – we really do. It just isn’t an instant knock-it-out-of-the-park design that we were hoping for. The proportions up front would have been better if designers had the advantage of a rear-wheel drive platform. That is really what Lincoln needs – a clean sheet rear-wheel drive platform to build on. The front isn’t winning us over at this point.

What we do love is the MKZ’s rear end; the proportions back there are perfect….just look at that rakish C-pillar. Full-width taillights are making a comeback, servicing as a distinctive trait that will define Lincoln.

The MKZ Concept is much more elegant and less brash than what Lincoln has been putting out for years. Refined is the word, and that kind of elegant simplicity is what Lincoln said they were aiming for in the creation of the MKZ. In a cutthroat market, is that going to be enough?

While the exterior is iffy at some points, the interior is gorgeous. It lives up to the hype. Lincoln is doing things others aren’t in here; like switching to a push-button shifter. That is a luxury item, and way to differentiate from mainstream makes. Attention to detail is spot on; you notice things like small door lights that elegantly protrude into the speakers. The showpiece element is no doubt the glass roof, which plays the biggest part in achieving a spacious, open-air feeling. This roof will be making its way to production.

The MKZ Concept is a good preview of what to expect from the production car. The 2013 MKZ is scheduled to arrive in April at the Chicago Auto Show. Maybe it will grow on us more before then, or maybe it will look better as a production car. Until then though, stay tuned and create your own impressions by checking out our gallery below.

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