With Lincoln's sales stagnating since its peak in the 90s, Ford Motor Company is trying to revive the ailing marque with an all-new MKZ, unveiled at the 2012 New York Auto Show. "Lincoln's Future Begins," boasts the company's press release—but if this retro-styled sedan showcases the best that's to come, it's a glum outlook.
The car may look familiar; it's because Lincoln revealed the concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, which aside from nearly setting itself on fire might've slipped by unnoticed. Retaining the Colonel-Sanders-inspired moustached grill, the production version looks mostly unchanged, save for adding door handles and a usable rear-view mirror. The most striking feature is the lack of a gear shifter inside, with the MKZ instead using buttons that adorn the center console's side. Otherwise, the interior shape is similar to the upcoming 2013 Ford Fusion, which shares the same CD4 global architecture.
But why would a white-collared urbanite prefer this Lincoln over an Audi A4 or a BMW 3 Series? Lincoln thinks it found the answer: a sliding glass roof. That might've been done before, but this option's special because it's bigger, at 15.2 square feet (video below has no audio).
Like the Fusion, powertrain options come in three flavors: a FWD/AWD turbocharged four-cylinder good for 240 horsepower and around 22 city / 33 highway mpg, a FWD/AWD 3.7-liter V-6 making 300 hp and 18 city / 26 hwy mpg, and a FWD 2.0 hybrid, which Lincoln expects to be an improvement over the 2012 hybrid's 41 city / 36 hwy. Both gasoline engines come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission, whereas the hybrid is paired with CVT. Carrying over a slew of technology from the MKS, the MKZ also includes Lincoln Drive Control, which gives drivers the option to choose between Sport/Normal/Comfort modes. Hopefully, that means steering where you can feel the road.
Given that the Aston Martin-esque Fusion is going upscale, the Lincoln MKZ still faces an uphill battle to distinguish itself from its Ford sibling, let alone the major luxury automakers. Pricing—which has yet to be announced—may be a deciding factor, but so far Lincoln's vision of the future echoes its product-overlapping woes of the past.