The car has been updated for the 2017 year, but what really draws you to the Lincoln MKZ is its new 3.0-litre EcoBoost engine. We test drive the car in Oman.
Author: Raj Warrior | Photography: Elvis John Ferrao
Lincoln has had a rather good, long run with the Lincoln MKZ. The mid-segment stalwart is in its second generation and serves as an object lesson about the brand’s transformation over the past decade.
For a start, the car began life as a shared platform version from Ford, but was known as the Zephyr. Almost immediately into its first year, Lincoln’s model line up underwent a nomenclature change placing the MKZ badge on it.
And from there the development story has only evolved. The MKZ is now in the tail end of its second generation, having made the switch in the 2013 model year. It is currently also on the CD4 Ford platform that spawns front-wheel drive models and the closest Ford model is the mass selling Fusion. And now the model has been refreshed for the 2017 model year, with some significant changes that bring the Lincoln design and product story to a peak.
Being a mid-model cycle refresh, don’t expect any major changes on the platform itself – that is never economical. But the MKZ now shows a distinct styling connect to the modern Lincoln, even using the association with the new Continental’s grille and attempting to mirror the sleek headlights too, despite using more traditional elements. However, it is very identifiable with its unique light signature and large air intakes along the lower part of the bumper.
The profile hasn’t changed much – the car still has that raked and tapering treatment of the C-pillar moving back to the raised rear deck. That rear deck is almost the signature visual of the MKZ. It drops off to the rear fenders and uses a high load point on top of a very beefy rear bumper. And then there is that edge to edge treatment of the taillight assembly across the rear.
The car gets a choice of 18 or 19″ wheels with adequate rubber that fills the wheel bays. Because of the wedge like profile treatment, the car looks shorter than its 2,850mm wheelbase and overall length of 4,925mm spell out.
The interior of the Lincoln MKZ has been upgraded to bring it closer inline with big brother Continental. The 10.1″ configurable instrument panel is still a hybrid of a two analogue dials using inset LCD panels. The tachometer and speedo dial get pointers that show up in the background behind the orbs of the readouts, while a multi information display hogs the centre area. The IP itself is set in a deep pod that is defined by the top cowl.
The wheel and centre console are also closer to the Continental’s interior. The steering wheel is reasonably compact with the three-spoke layout, integrating a V-shaped button layout that includes voice command, cruise control and audio controls.
The centre stack is a lot more interesting now. The new 8″ colour display is paired with a standard 11-speaker sound system that can be pushed all the way up to the two Revel audio choices – one offering 14 speakers on a 12-channel amplifier or the top of the line 20-speaker unit that uses a 20-channel amp and Clari-Fi audio filtering. There is also an optional voice activated navigation system that will come in at a later date.
Gear shift has also been changed to the new button operated system that typifies the new Lincoln, although there isn’t enough dashboard to accommodate the stack of control buttons. The resultant solution looks a little haphazard, stacking the buttons to the left of the display in the console area.
The seats have been cleaned up from the previous lot, with a 10-way power offering for the front occupants, with a new driver’s seat memory option.
3Engine and Chassis
That’s where the biggest shift has happened. The car no longer uses the 3.7-litre standard unit, shifting to two turbocharged engines. The smaller unit is a 2.0-litre inline four GTDI Ecoboost engine that generates 253PS at 5,500 rpm and offers a turbocharged typical 389Nm at the 2,500rpm band. The standard gearbox is the six-speed automatic SelectShift unit driving the front wheels.
The larger engine, which was on our Reserve variant, is the twin turbocharged 3.0-litre GTDI V6 EcoBoost engine with 370PS at 5,500rpm and an enormous 570Nm of torque at 2,500rpm. This unit will be the single reason why the MKZ will begin to make its mark as a premium sedan. It is no longer an average offering, with deep reserves of torque and the ability to rev on demand.
The 2017 Lincoln MKZ will only be sold with the larger engine in Oman, thereby marking a new entry point for the nameplate.
Handling is fine-tuned by the application of electric power steering and continuous damping control using valves and the car gets torque vectoring control using elements of its traction and stability systems.
The Lincoln MKZ has all the elements of a mainstream American sedan. Its active noise cancellation only adds to the feeling of a cocooned interior, with much of the engine and road noise filtered out. If you bother to switch on the Revel audio with a high quality track on play you won’t even hear the road. And unlike on the MKX you won’t hear the whine of the turbo – even that has been filtered down.
The MKZ exhibits the good inline takeoff that you would expect from a biturbo V6, although at some stages you would hope for either a better gearbox choice for the engine or at least an electronic drive mode selection that went beyond the simple sport selection. Of course there is a difference in using this since the damping control and EPAS response around corners gets directly affected. You can easily go into a corner too fast and the bulk of the car is rather unforgiving, using every bit of the ESC to stay on track. And yes, you get understeer.
The suspension is quite forgiving, although it does stay a bit towards the soft side of the equation. The brakes are adequate.
The Lincoln MKZ has grown. It may end up having a major revamp in a few years, but for now it takes the virtues of a dependable platform and tries to pack in an electronic overload of features that will set it apart. And then there is that absolutely brilliant 3.0-litre V6 unit that has been carried over from the Continental. We love it although that doesn’t forgive the rather hefty price tag that the Lincoln MKZ now commands. However, that could also be attributed to the entire package of the Revel audio and leather interiors.
2017 Lincoln MKZ
|Length Width Height (mm)||4925 x 1908 x 1476|
|Engine||3.0-liter GTDI V6 engine (twin turbocharged)|
|Power HP@RPM||365 @ 5500|
|Torque Nm@RPM||570 @ 2500|
|Fr Suspension||MacPherson strut dampers with aluminum control arm and stabilizer bar|
|Rr Suspension||Advanced integral-link suspension with coil springs, gas-pressurized dampers and stabilizer bar|
|Brakes||Fr 17" vented, Rr 17"solid|
|Wheels||18" and 19"machined aluminium|