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.
Lincoln Drive Control in the MKZ will let you choose between Comfort, Normal and Sport suspension settings. Also on tap is a collision prevention system with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control, able to bring the car to a full stop. Automated parking not only helps you get in and out of parallel parking spots, but also assists with perpendicular parking.
One feature that gives the car a "wow" factor is a nifty light sequence that engages as you approach it. Meanwhile, music fans will appreciate the optional Revel 14 or 20-speaker stereo systems.
Upping the ante for driving enthusiasts, which may skew younger, Lincoln offers a Driver's package for the 3-liter model, adding 19-inch wheels, a more aggressive sport mode, and all-wheel-drive.
No word on pricing yet, but look for the 2017 Lincoln MKZ in dealers in the summer of 2016.