It’s almost a new year, which means it is time for another new Lincoln design theme apparently. At this year’s LA Auto Show Lincoln revealed the refreshed 2017 MKZ featuring the “new face” of the Lincoln brand – the third new face for the brand in recent years by our count. This time the new look is inspired by the Continental Concept, revealed at the New York Auto Show earlier in 2015. The new face is joined by a host of other upgrades, highlighted by a new 400 horsepower engine.
The new, new face of Lincoln is highlighted by a square grille design that is certainly bolder than the “gull-wing” grille on the previous MKZ. In fact, this design theme appears to favor the brand more than both the wing grille and the proceeding waterfall design for those keeping track of history here. The square grille is flanked by new, larger lamps with LED accent lighting. Overall the new face is more upright—a trend across the entire industry—and the graphic gives off a more premium look than the previous car.
Aside from new wheels, the rest of the MKZ exterior remains unchanged, which isn’t a bad thing. The side profile and full-length rear tail lamps marry to the new front clip surprisingly well. In fact, it could be argued the new face matches the rest of the car better than the original did.
Of course, Lincoln needs more than a cohesive design strategy to be taken seriously as a premium brand. In this regard Lincoln is also debuting an exclusive new twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 engine in the MKZ. This new power plant is projected to generate a healthy 400 horsepower and 400 foot-pounds of torque, funneled through an “intelligent” all-wheel drive system. Those not needing 400 horsepower can still resort to the MKZ’s hybrid option, which is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 245 horsepower.
Lincoln has also made other mechanical tweaks to the 2017 MKZ, such as retuning the continuously damping suspension system for the beefier engine.
Inside the MKZ is a similar story to the outside. Lincoln has made a few changes to the interior, such as switching from capacitive touch controls to real buttons once again. The new controls will be backed by Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system, which is a very noteworthy improvement over the previous MyLincoln Touch system that, frankly, wasn’t that great. Rounding out the interior enhancements are new materials, such as laser etched leather that looks and feels very premium. MKZ will also offer multiple wood trim types or carbon fiber accents, which really emphasize a new level of detail in Lincoln interiors.
Jokes aside about this brand’s so many attempts at reinvention, this refreshed 2017 MKZ is perhaps the best story out of the brand in several years. The new look, premium-ized cabin and exclusive engine make this the first MKZ worthy of the midsize premium sedan segment. It’s expected to arrive in Lincoln showrooms in Summer 2016.