Lin­coln MKZ has a new V6 en­gine and bet­ter looks. Does that mean beauty and the beast are fi­nally go­ing to live hap­pily ever af­ter?

Ford’s pre­mium di­vi­sion drops a bril­liant new V6 into its mid-size sa­loon’s en­gine bay. Does that make the Lin­coln MKZ good enough to al­ter per­cep­tion and in­flu­ence decisions, asks wheels’ Sony Thomas

Friday - - Contents -

TThe pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion Lin­coln MKZ was launched on a wing and a prayer… a re­designed split-wing grille and a prayer that it, along with the re­vised sheet metal, would re­vive the brand’s wilt­ing for­tunes. The wing didn’t work, even though it was touted as the bedrock of the Amer­i­can pre­mium mar­que’s fu­ture de­sign lan­guage, nor did the prayer. The model dis­ap­pointed with a be­low-par in­te­rior and a ride qual­ity that didn’t be­fit its pre­mium po­si­tion­ing. So, Lin­coln did the wise thing, hastily pulled that de­sign lan­guage to pieces and re­drew the fu­ture, first with the all-new Con­ti­nen­tal lux­ury sa­loon, and now, the re­freshed 2017 MKZ.

So, viewed head-on, the 2017 Lin­coln MKZ looks like a com­pletely new car, al­though it’s still very much a Ford Fu­sion un­der­neath. The re­designed front fas­cia now fol­lows the new sig­na­ture styling cues es­tab­lished by the cur­rent flag­ship, the Con­ti­nen­tal. An­chored by a new one-piece chrome grille that deftly in­cor­po­rates the logo’s out­line in the mesh de­sign, and new adap­tive LED head­lamps, the re­design im­me­di­ately el­e­vates the mid-size sa­loon’s road pres­ence.

The rest of the ex­te­rior is pretty much the same as be­fore, with the rear re­tain­ing the Dodge Charger-es­que LED light strip run­ning across the width of the tail­gate.

But the in­te­rior hasn’t re­ceived any ma­jor up­dates. It’s the same old lay­out with the quirky push but­ton con­trols on the driver’s side of the dash­board for the trans­mis­sion and the ‘float­ing’ cen­tre con­sole.

There’s enough space for odds and ends in the form of cup hold­ers and

Even though this is not a GEN­ER­A­TIONAL UP­DATE, the changes to the MKZ are SIG­NIF­I­CANT enough to war­rant a more SE­RI­OUS con­sid­er­a­tion from po­ten­tial CUS­TOMERS

door racks, and ad­di­tion­ally the space left by the hol­low in the cen­tre con­sole can hold a small bag, leav­ing more leg room in the footwell for the front pas­sen­ger. The over­all qual­ity of plas­tics and other ma­te­ri­als used in the cabin is still not up to the high stan­dards set by Ger­man and Ja­panese com­peti­tors or even those of the cur­rent crop of Cadil­lacs. The driver’s seat is gen­er­ally com­fort­able, but be­ing above av­er­age in size, I found the seat back to be a bit too nar­row to pro­vide suf­fi­cient lum­bar sup­port.

There’s one big change, how­ever, which is sure to add to the 2017 MKZ’s ap­peal. It’s the new 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6. This is not a pow­er­plant shared with the Ford Fu­sion, which still uses the 2.7-litre Eco Boost V6 as its top en­gine. In ad­di­tion to this air of ex­clu­siv­ity, the six-pot is ac­tu­ally a ma­jor im­prove­ment over the rel­a­tively dull 300bhp 3.7-litre V6 the older model had. Mated to an in­tel­li­gent all-wheel-drive sys­tem, the twin­tur­bocharged unit pro­duces 370 horse­power and 570Nm of torque.

This en­gine is so good that once you pin the ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal to the fire­wall, you for­get what­ever other short­com­ings the MKZ might have. With a torque de­liv­ery that’s seam­less, and surge in power that ap­pears to be end­less, this en­gine is al­most as good as the one in the In­finiti Q50 Red Sport 400. The six-speed au­to­matic gear­box also does a good job han­dling all this power and torque. Opt­ing for the Driver’s Pack­age gets you Dy­namic Torque Vec­tor­ing, which adds to the car’s al­ready agile dy­nam­ics.

It’s also not lack­ing in com­fort, con­ve­nience and safety fea­tures, which are of high pri­or­ity to cus­tomers in this seg­ment. The output from the pre­mium Revel au­dio sys­tem is flaw­less, with the ma­chined metal speak­ers adding to the cabin’s aes­thet­ics. The fully re­tractable panoramic glass roof is said to be the largest such in sa­loons, but the flip side is that the roof slides back over the rear wind­screen block­ing al­most half of the top sec­tion.

Then there’s the adap­tive cruise con­trol with stop-and-go func­tion, park as­sist, Pre-Col­li­sion As­sist with Pedes­trian De­tec­tion, a lane-keeping sys­tem that uses a for­ward-fac­ing cam­era to de­tect lane mark­ings and a Blind Spot In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem with cross-traf­fic alert. And since mid-size sa­loons are mostly bought as fam­ily cars, it’s heart­en­ing to know that the 2017 Lin­coln MKZ has also earned the high­est safety award is­sued by the In­sur­ance In­sti­tute for High­way Safety.

Even though this is not a gen­er­a­tional up­date, the changes to the MKZ are sig­nif­i­cant enough to war­rant a more se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion from po­ten­tial cus­tomers. While the 3.0-litre turbo mill is the star here, those look­ing for a good-look­ing Amer­i­can sa­loon with just enough power for ev­ery­day driv­ing and de­cent fuel econ­omy can take a look at the other en­gine op­tion, which is the 2.0-litre turbo four­cylin­der that’s good for 253 horse­power and 389Nm of torque. Prices start at Dh160,000.

Un­der the hood, the new MKZ packs enough punch to make you for­give all its short­com­ings

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.