Lincoln MKZ

For 2013, the Lincoln MKZ has really come of age and made a statement with an attractive, luxurious package that offers much to like in the competitive mid-level luxury segment.

The Lincoln MKZ comes standard as a front-wheel-drive 4-door sedan in several available package trims. Base cars are powered by a 2.0L Ecoboost 4-cylinder. The turbocharged engine features direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) and produces 240 horsepower and 270 ft-lb of torque. Available is a 3.7L V6, also with Ti-VCT, which develops an impressive 300 horsepower and 277 ft-lb of torque. A 6-speed automatic with SelectShift paddled shifters is standard. Lincoln's "intelligent" all-wheel drive System is optional with either engine and provides enhanced handling and control by redirecting power to the appropriate wheel for best traction in a variety of conditions. A 2.0L Atkinson-cycle hybrid-electric powertrain comes on the front-wheel-drive Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, offering a total of 188 horsepower and returning an EPA-estimate 47 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway.

Four equipment groups are offered on the Lincoln MKZ: Premiere, Select, Reserve and Preferred. Standard features in Premiere include heated leather seating with front row 10-way power adjustability and driver memory, wood trim throughout, SYNC with MyLincoln Touch infotainment system on an 8-inch LCD touch-screen center stack, and an 11-speaker premium CD/MP3 sound system. Moving up to the Select trim adds a wood steering wheel, rearview camera and parking sensors, as well as HD Radio technology. The Reserve trim gets a navigation system with voice recognition, blind spot information system with a cross-traffic alert and a power trunk lid with soft close. Finally, the top-of-the-line Preferred trim comes with 19-inch polished aluminum wheels, heated steering wheel and rear seats and THX II Premium Audio.

Popular standalone options to be added to the above groups on the Lincoln MKZ include two different moonroofs. The 'single panel' roof is a traditional remote glass sunroof, while the dual panel moonroof features an opening panel above the seats, with a fixed pane in the ceiling above the rear seats, which includes a power rear sunshade.

Standard safety features on the Lincoln MKZ include a forward and reverse sensing system, AdvanceTrac Electronic Stability Control, an SOS Post-Crash Alert System, a bevy of airbags and traction control.

Editors' First Take

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LOS ANGELES -- Bringing an advanced 400-horsepower engine, a sport suspension mode, LED headlights and a thumping stereo to bear, Lincoln hopes to pique the interest of younger buyers. But can this storied brand break its stodgy image?

Everything from the steering wheel forward is new on the MKZ. LED headlights flank the one-piece grille, representing a change from the winged grille of recent years. Luxury materials fill the interior, and the available retractable panoramic glass roof brings the outside in during those sunny days.

Also new is a 3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine producing 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. That amount of power could make the MKZ something of a premium muscle car, but for the more economically-inclined, Lincoln will also offer a 2-liter four-cylinder engine with 245 horsepower as well as a 2-liter hybrid.

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