LOS ANGELES — (WWJ) As Ford prepares to unveil a complete overhaul of its upscale Lincoln brand, the company is using the LA Auto Show to introduce updated versions of two existing products, the MKT crossover, and MKS large car.
These improvements will likely be a boost for Lincoln dealers, who have been anxiously awaiting new products since the ending of the Mercury brand. But they are not yet the full scale product onslaught that Ford has been promising for Lincoln.
“We’ve said we want to build Lincoln into a really world class luxury brand,” said Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields, who described the updated MKS and MKT as a step in that direction. “You’ll continue to see news in the very near future of taking us along that journey.”Ford has admitted that Lincoln has not been competitive with other luxury brands, and promises that the full overhaul they are doing of the brand will put it into a much better position, with vehicles that are unique, not just improvements on Ford brand products.
While we wait to see those products on next year’s auto show circuit, Ford says the MKS and MKT are significantly improved.
First the MKT, which is a variation on the Ford Flex crossover that was also introduced at this show. Ford sums up the highlights this way:
- Continuously Controlled Damping – included with 355-horsepower 3.5-liter EcoBoost® V6 engine – continuously monitors and adjusts suspension for even better ride and handling
- Lincoln Drive Control – also included with EcoBoost V6 – allows drivers to easily change the dynamics
- More projected standard horsepower and a 1-mpg highway improvement
- New interior styling, new MyLincoln Touch™ system and upgraded exterior design, as well as new safety and convenience features.
The improvements, according to a press release from Ford, will mean a much more carlike ride.
“The 2013 MKT with Continuously Controlled Damping delivers a surprisingly vibrant blend of ride and handling. It’s more than you’d expect from a full-size, three-row luxury crossover,” said Scott Tobin, Director, Lincoln Product Development, in a statement.
The MKS is Lincoln’s big car. Highlights of the update, according to Ford, include:
- The Lincoln MKS is the only car in its segment to offer Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) as standard equipment. By monitoring
suspension settings up to 500 times per second, the real-time system delivers a more engaging ride with improved handling, making the 2013 model the best-handling, most road-refined MKS ever
- Lincoln Drive Control allows drivers to easily change the on-road personality of the MKS. Moving the gear selector from ‘Drive’ to ‘Sport’ automatically adjusts handling performance, ride firmness, throttle response, shift feel, steering response and traction control/electronic stability control parameters. Drivers can further personalize the CCD suspension settings, including selecting the smoother-riding Comfort setting, using MyLincoln Touch™
- More projected standard horsepower (300 horsepower vs. 274 horsepower for 2012) is coupled with improved fuel economy; projected 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway, a 3-mpg highway improvement versus today’s car
- Significantly larger brake components increase braking power and fade resistance while improving pedal feel
- Improving quietness, additional noise barriers and absorbers are placed in the front wheel wells, around the shock towers, under the hood and in the trunk. Redesigned exterior rearview mirrors reduce wind noise
- Expanded SYNC® functionality includes standard Operator Assist and local Wi-Fi® hotspot capabilities for laptops and tablets
- Collision warning, new Lane Keeping Alert and new Lane Keeping Aid technologies help warn drivers of potentially dangerous situations and can help them avoid common accidents
- Exterior styling updates include new grille, hood, front fenders, HID headlamps, front fascia, 19- and 20-inch aluminum wheels, decklid, rear fascia, LED tail lamps and exhaust tips
- Newly crafted interior features an all-new instrument panel, MyLincoln Touch™ and rich new color schemes complementing new premium materials and genuine stitching
Both the 2013 Lincoln MKS and 2013 Lincoln MKT will go on sale next year.