Dubbing it "the future of Lincoln in both style and substance," Jim Farley, Group Vice President, Global Marketing, Sales and Service unveiled the all-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ in New York. Following through on the dramatic promise first seen in the MKZ Concept that appeared in Detroit, this full-production variant infuses the division's mid-size four-door with more contemporary design values on all levels intended to elevate the brand by developing "motor cars that are distinctive, elegant, full of technology and a delight to own."

>2012 New York Auto Show full coverage

Despite a more delicately proportioned split-wing grille that pays direct homage to the classic 1938 Lincoln Zephyr, this new-gen MKZ makes a decidedly more youthful visual statement -- and one that's clearly rooted in tomorrow. Sweeping lines and optimized contours yield a package that's fully 10-percent more aerodynamic than the current MKZ but an entire world beyond it conceptually.

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ's steeply raked windshield leads back to a new Retractable Panoramic Roof that is being touted as a new "signature feature" of the brand. This huge 15.2 square-foot glass panel reportedly maintains the same structural strength as a steel top and offers a 100+ SPF rating when closed while providing one of the largest open-air portals found on any sedan today when it's slid back into full al fresco position. More refined detailing, highlighted by LED-intensive illumination systems, corner-following adaptive headlamps, a full-width taillight treatment and pedestal-mounted outside mirrors effectively complement the MKZ's striking makeover.

Like its exterior, the cabin of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ displays a few modest detail changes from the MKZ Concept but otherwise retains all of the elegant fundamentals found in the one-off, starting with a dash that contoured to reprise the design of the car's front end. Crafted to be warm and welcoming in all seating positions, the MKZ's roomy passenger compartment matches high-quality materials -- including standard premium leather and "responsibly harvested" wood -- with numerous upscale creature comforts that range from a 10.1-inch reconfigurable LCD main instrument display and SYNC with MyLincoln Touch to heated front seats, an 11-speaker audiophile entertainment system and a sophisticated Active Noise Control (ANC) system. The MKZ also introduces Lincoln's new Push Button Shift gear selector that jettisons the conventional lever actuator for a five-button array (Park/Neutral/Reverse/Drive/Sport) that is more user-friendly and opens up even more space in the center console. Key options for this elite inner sanctum include a 14-channel/14-speaker THX II Certified Audio system and class-exclusive inflatable second-row outboard seat belts.

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ will offer three different powertrains, including a new hybrid package. Available in both front and all-wheel drive configurations, the standard 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder will make 240 horsepower (on premium fuel) and 270 lb-ft of torque. Backed by six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, it's projected to earn class-leading overall fuel economy including 20-percent better highway mpg. Also backed by the six-speed automatic, the MKZ's naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 will crank out 300 ponies and 277 lb-ft of twist - up by 37 and 28 output units from the current V6 - while offering a five percent bump in overall mileage figures. The front-drive-only Hybrid pairs its 2.0-liter four with an electric motor to turn out 188 combined horsepower. Backed by a CVT automatic, it's projected to earn 41 mpg-city/36 mpg-highway EPA numbers.

Underpinning the 2013 Lincoln MKZ is fully adjustable suspension system that feature new front and rear hardware as well as the added benefit of the standard Lincoln Drive Control setup. This always-on master brain monitors and integrates operations of the MKZ's standard Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD), electric power-assisted steering (EPAS), engine, transmission, Active Noise Control (ANC) and traction/stability control systems to deliver the optimum balance of ride and handling in one of three driver-selectable (Sport/Normal/Comfort) modes.

In keeping with its newly elevated status, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ also will offer a number of advanced camera- and radar-based driver assists, including a Lane Keeping System with Lane Keeping Aid, Lane Keeping Alert and Driver Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with Brake Support, Active Park Assist and a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert.

As a finishing touch, Lincoln has contracted with Les Clefs d'Or - the international association of hotel concierges - to help school its dealers in how to provide owners of the new MKZ and all other Lincoln vehicles with the best in innovative and personalized service and support. Early next year, it also will introduce a new Lincoln 24/7 Online Concierge service that will be able to offer individuals a whole range of useful Internet-based research on all vehicles in the lineup. "We won't stop exploring different ways to be more than just a purveyor of luxury motor cars," Farley said. "We are just as committed to making our customers be more efficient as we are to creating a stand-out Lincoln lineup of vehicles, both now and in the future."

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ will be arriving in showrooms later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date.


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