|Manufacturer||Ford Motor Company|
|Production start||August 1, 2005|
|Assembly||Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico|
|Body style(s)||4-door sedan|
|Layout||Front engine, front-wheel drive / four-wheel drive|
|Platform||Ford CD3 platform|
|Engine(s)||2,967 cc (2.967 L; 181.1 cu
in) Duratec 30 V6
3,496 cc (3.496 L; 213.3 cu in) Duratec 35 V6
|Wheelbase||107.4 in (2728 mm)|
|Length||190.5 in (4839 mm)|
|Width||72.2 in (1834 mm)|
|Height||2006: 55.9 in (1420 mm)
2007-09: 57.2 in (1453 mm)
2010-: 57.9 in (1471 mm)
|Curb weight||2006: 3,546 lb (1,608 kg)
2007-Present: 3,438 lb (1,559 kg)
|Fuel capacity||2006: 15 US gal (57 L;
12 imp gal)
2007: 17.5 US gal (66 L; 15 imp gal)
The Lincoln MKZ, initially named the Lincoln Zephyr, is a mid-size, entry-level luxury car from the Lincoln division of the Ford Motor Company. Lincoln revived the Zephyr name in the fall of 2005 as a platform-mate for the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan; the vehicles were based on the CD3 platform, which was derived from the Mazda 6. The Zephyr's sole powertrain was a 3.0 L DOHC Duratec V6 mated to an Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission; identical to the V6 powertrain that was optional in the Fusion and Milan. Visually, the Zephyr could be easily distinguished from its Ford and Mercury siblings thanks to unique fascias and other stylistic elements, but as much as 35% of its body panels were shared with the other cars. However, the interior is entirely unique to the Lincoln, and this, along with different equipment packaging, helped differentiate the brands. Reflecting its entry-level luxury position, the 2006 Zephyr started at a base MSRP of $29,995 USD, ranging up to $35,575 USD when fully optioned.
Though slightly smaller and natively front-wheel drive, the Zephyr was a intended as a replacement for Lincoln's previous entry level mid-size, the rear-wheel drive, V8-equipped Lincoln LS. To facilitate a smooth transition, the Zephyr and LS were sold parallel to each other during the 2006 model year, the first model year of the Zephyr and the last for the LS. Ironically the Zephyr's first model year was also its last, in name. For 2007 the car was renamed MKZ, and took over the LS' market with sales beginning in September 2006. Highlighting the MKZ for 2007, other than the new name, was a mild exterior refresh, optional all-wheel drive, and a larger displacement engine with more power. The MKZ name followed a new nomenclature used at Lincoln for new vehicles beginning in the 2007 model year (existing models such as the Navigator and Town Car have been unaffected thus far). Ford initially intended the "MK" to represent an abbreviation of its traditional "Mark" naming series, but has since abandoned that in favor of simply reading the letters. The MKZ was the first in this series of new "MK"-named Lincolns, and has since been followed by the MKX, MKT and MKS. For 2010 the MKZ was revised with new exterior and interior styling along with other new features.
The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr was initially unveiled in concept form at the 2004 New York International Auto Show as a new entry-level luxury sedan intended to appeal to a younger generation of luxury car buyers. The car was based on Ford's CD3 platform which is shared by the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, and other vehicles. Many of the design elements of the Zephyr concept made their way into the production model, albeit with some revision. The front fascia of the Zephyr's exterior was adorned with Lincoln's signature waterfall grille and jeweled quad projector beam headlights (HID headlights were available). Chrome trim extends along the Zephyr's beltline while the car's rear fascia features wing-shaped LED taillights and dual chrome exhaust tips. All Zephyrs featured low-profile tires on 17x7.5-inch wheels with painted aluminum versions standard and chrome versions optional. In spite of unique styling relative to the Zephyr's siblings, the Fusion and Milan, a little over one-third of the car's body panels are shared.
Inside the Zephyr was an interior design that was thoroughly distinctive relative to the Fusion or Milan, almost shadowing the 2005 to 2009 Ford Mustang. The upscale design featured rectangular shapes in the dashboard surfaces and door panels with real ebony or maple wood inserts (depending on desired trim) in metallic frames. These surfaces were contrasted with chrome-bezeled gauges, circular, chrome-finished vents and a metallic center stack where the radio and climate controls are housed. The Zephyr's steering wheel was leather-wrapped with real wood grips and satin-nickel audio, climate, and cruise control buttons. White LED backlighting was used for the Zephyr's controls and instrumentation. Leather seating surfaces were standard in all models.
In terms of luxury and convenience features there was little that distinguished the Zephyr from the Fusion or Milan. Most of the features that were optional in the Fusion or Milan were simply standard in the Zephyr. Some of these standard features in the Zephyr include: cruise control, automatic headlights, fog lights, power door locks, "global" power windows (all windows can lower simulataneously at the push of a button), power adjustable and heated mirrors with puddle lamps, remote keyless entry, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel with redundant audio and climate controls, dual-zone automatic climate control, a universal garage door opener, 10-way power driver and front passenger seats, rear-seat reading lamps, and a six-speaker audio system with an AM/FM stereo radio and a six-disc, MP3-compatible CD changer. Optional in the Zephyr was a power moonroof, a DVD-based satellite navigation system, HID headlights, heated and cooled front seats, and an industry-first THX II-Certified audio system with a six-disc, MP3-compatible CD changer and ten speakers. Safety features include standard dual front-side airbags, front seat-deployed side airbags, and curtain airbags that extend from the front to rear seats.
Mechanically the Zephyr was closely related to the Fusion and Milan. As mentioned, all three cars were based on Ford's CD3 platform, which was in turn derived from the Mazda 6. Like these cars the Zephyr is natively front-wheel drive (FWD). The Zephyr uses a coil-over damper, short- and long-arm (SLA) front suspension with double-ball-joint control arms while the rear suspension is an independent multi-link design with lower control arms and a 17 mm (0.7 in) stabilizer bar. Spring rates, bushings, and dampers have been specially tuned for the Zephyr to provide excellent ride comfort without compromising handling. All Zephyrs feature standard four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with traction control. The sole engine offered in the Zephyr was an all-aluminum 3.0 L DOHC Duratec V6 producing 221 hp (165 kW) at 6250 rpm and 205 lb·ft (278 N·m) of torque at 4800 rpm. This engine was mated to an Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission and had a final drive ratio of 3.46:1. This powertrain was identical to the V6 powertrain available in the Fusion and Milan from 2006-2009. With this powertrain the Zephyr could accelerate from zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.5 seconds. The Zephyr came with a 17.5 US gal (66 L; 15 imp gal) fuel tank and is rated to deliver 17 mpg-US (14 L/100 km; 20 mpg-imp) in city driving and 26 mpg-US (9.0 L/100 km; 31 mpg-imp) on the highway based on the revised 2008 EPA fuel efficiency measurement standards.
For 2007, just one year after its introduction, the Zephyr was refreshed and, unexpectedly, renamed. Following a new nomenclature developed by Lincoln that mimics the alphanumeric naming schemes used by other luxury automakers like Mercedes-Benz, the Zephyr was renamed MKZ. Management at Lincoln originally announced the MKZ with a "Mark-Zee" pronunciation during the 2006 auto show circuit, but eventually changed it to the phonetic "em-kay-zee" due to confusion observed among focus groups and dealership personnel.
The 2007 MKZ was first shown at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2006. Other than its new name, the MKZ gained a number of substantial changes over its predecessor. Stylistically, the MKZ's grille was revised as was the lower front fascia below the grille. The standard and optional versions of the MKZ's 17x7.5-inch wheels were restyled. An intelligent all-wheel drive system was now available, seamlessly distributing power to each wheel for optimum traction. Powering the MKZ, and taking a large step toward further differentiating the car from the Fusion and Milan, was Ford's new, all-aluminum 3.5 L DOHC Duratec V6. The engine was tuned to produce 263 hp (196 kW) at 6250 rpm and 249 lb·ft (337 N·m) of torque at 4500 rpm. Significantly, the new engine needed only 87-octane regular grade gasoline to achieve its output. Also, in spite of the MKZ's power advantage over the 3.0 L DOHC V6-equipped Zephyr, the fuel economy of the MKZ rivals that of the Zephyr at 17 mpg-US (14 L/100 km; 20 mpg-imp) in city driving and 25 mpg-US (9.4 L/100 km; 30 mpg-imp) on the highway in front-wheel drive models. A road test by Motor Trend found that an MKZ equipped with all-wheel drive could accelerate from zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.8 seconds and complete a quarter mile in 15.2 seconds at 93.4 mph (150.3 km/h) thanks to the more powerful engine and extra traction. One of the few other changes that was applied to the 2007 MKZ was a revision to the available THX II-Certified audio system to increase its speaker amount to 14 and its peak output to 600 Watts. Beyond the MKZ's changes, the car remained positioned as an entry-level luxury sedan with base models still starting at just under $30,000 USD and fully optioned models remaining well below $40,000 USD.
For 2008 the MKZ received new standard features as apart of Lincoln's continued effort to refine the car. Sirius satellite radio, perforated leather seats, a reverse sensing system, a tire pressure monitoring system, and Lincoln SYNC (late availability) were all newly standard. For 2009, Ford's AdvanceTrac stability control system became standard while a special edition "Midnight Black" package was available, featuring black leather seating surfaces and panels contrasted with maple wood and satin nickel inserts.
The 2010 MKZ was unveiled at the 2008 Los Angeles International Auto Show, revealing an extensive update with a revised interior and exterior in addition to new features. The MKZ's exterior was updated with an emphasis on the front and rear fascias. In the front, the MKZ's headlights are new while its fascia and split-wing grille closely resembles that of the Lincoln MKS, which was in turn inspired by the styling of the Lincoln MKR concept. In the rear, the taillights have been revised to be longer and thinner, similar to the original Zephyr concept. The MKZ's standard and optional 17-inch wheels have been restyled again and are supplemented with a new 18-inch wheel option. Inside, the MKZ's interior is all-new stylistically but continues to extensively use real wood accents and metal surfaces. Higher quality Bridge of Weir leather seating surfaces are standard. Other features new for 2010 include a reverse camera system, Sirius Travel Link, a DVD-based satellite navigation system updated to accept voice commands, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a cabin air filter, and adaptive HID headlights. Mechanically, the MKZ features new suspension tuning to further improve ride quality and handling and a new SelectShift 6-speed automatic transmission that improves acceleration. The 2010 MKZ was released during the Spring of 2009.
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