After showing a swoopy concept in Detroit in January, Lincoln rolled out the production version of its "entry-level" MKZ sedan at the New York International Auto Show.
Designed to attract a new generation of buyers to revive the brand, redesigned MKZ will be based on the redesigned Ford Fusion. It will offer three powertrains. The standard engine is the 240-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder becoming ubiquitous throughout Ford's passenger cars. Buyers can also opt for a 300-hp, 3.7-liter V6 or a 188-hp hybrid setup that Ford says will get 40 mpg on the highway. The non-hybrids will get a six-speed automatic transmission with a push-button shifter. All-wheel drive will be available with the V6. Inside, the car uses the ubiquitous MyLincoln Touch, which still has a complete complement of capacitive touch-buttons without a single physical knob or switch in sight.
To woo new buyers from the Internet generation, Lincoln is also focusing on customer service at its dealerships, with a new 24-hour online concierge service to help you find the exact car you want or answer any questions. That's a good thing, since experience has shown that the touch-screen MyLincoln Touch is so complex that a simple pre-delivery explanation has not sufficed to train customers.
We're all for the personal touch with consumers, but we wish new cars didn't require personal tech support simply to operate. At least the new MKZ is gorgeous looking, nicely finished, and roomy, which should go a long way with many buyers.
While the concierge service rolls out in June, the new MKZ won't hit dealerships until late 2012.
See our complete 2012 NY auto show coverage.