Monday, February 22, 2010

2010 Detroit: Lincoln Claims Freshest Luxury Lineup with Redesigned MKX

With four new nameplates in five years, Lincoln is claiming the freshest luxury lineup in the industry, but it’s the introduction of the redesigned 2011 Lincoln MKX that truly unifies the products. In addition to the corporate face, the updated five-passenger crossover features a larger engine and an all-new infotainment system that removes all physical knobs and buttons from the center stack.

“We redefined the Lincoln lineup for a whole new era of luxury,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of the Americas. “MKX is unmistakably Lincoln.”

The revised exterior brings the MKX into line with the family look established by the MKS sedan. Most notably, the cheese-grater grille on the old MKX has been replaced with Lincoln’s signature split-wing grille. The hood, fenders, and wheel offerings are also new. In the rear, the full-width tail lamps have been replaced by more traditional pieces, lit by LEDs. To replace the horizontal red element, a stamped crease below the Lincoln badge now defines the rear hatch.

Growing from 3.5 liters to 3.7 liters, the engine now makes 305 hp and 280 lb.-ft. To maintain efficiency while increasing the performance, the Duratec powerplant uses twin-independent variable cam timing and late-closing intake valves. Fuel economy stands at 25 mpg on the highway, while city fuel economy hasn’t been announced yet. A six-speed automatic is still the sole transmission and buyers can choose either front- or all-wheel drive.

Inside, drivers will notice a new infotainment system that incorporates three LCD screens along with touch-sensitive buttons on the center-stack. Known as MyLincoln Touch, the system provides navigation, phone integration via Bluetooth, audio entertainment, and climate control. The driver interacts with the system through the 8-inch touch screen in the center stack, two small LCDs in the instrument cluster, and two five-way buttons on the steering wheel. In place of traditional knobs, the MyLincoln features two touch-sensitive sliders to control audio volume and fan speed. As a passenger drags their finger across the horizontal lip, a light follows along to acknowledge their touch. Ford intends to equip MyFord Touch on 80 percent of its vehicles from its three brands, but all Lincolns will have the technology as standard.