Lincoln MKT – VehicleVoice Best of Show
Best of Show
You always go to an autoshow with the hope that there will be a truly outstanding example there. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific’s eight staffers at the 2008 North American International Auto Show were extremely impressed with the Lincoln MKT concept vehicle.
A vehicle we will call a Crossover SUV, the MKT is in many ways similar to General Motors Lambda Crossover SUVs and especially the Buick Enclave. The thing that makes MKT special is its exterior styling which uses all six Lincoln design cues (although they say seven at the show, Peter Horbury, Ford’s head designer in North America says he only really uses six) which are critical to the definition of a Lincoln design. Wow, this thing is beautiful. From the bow wave grille to the relatively fast rear end treatment, MKT comes across as a premium, substantial vehicle worthy of carrying the Lincoln badge.
Not only is the exterior stunning, the interior carries on new Lincoln cues which are very upscale, contemporary and modern. A four passenger concept with no pretense at transporting seven passengers, the MKT is decked out like a luxury business jet.
Only Thing Wrong… The Name
A few years back, Ford made the unfortunate error of renaming Lincoln vehicles with alphanumeric names – MKZ (Zephyr), MKX (Aviator), MKS (Continental), and now MKT. Another great concept is the MKR flagship sedan. Better with a real name. Only the Navigator and Town Car have not succumbed to this folly. I guess MKT means Lincoln “Truck”. No, it’s really “Touring”… guess that fits better. Well, MKT certainly ain’t no truck. It’s really special and deserves better… a name.
[Even Mark Fields, Ford’s President of North American Operations, botched up the name of the MKS when he introduced it at the Los Angeles Auto Show. He first said “MKX”. If Ford’s biggies can’t keep ’em straight, think about salespeople at Lincoln dealerships and prospective buyers].
2009 Ford Flex Crossover SUV is Base for MKT
Based on Ford Flex (Ford Crossover SUV to be launched in mid-2008) underpinnings, MKT is powered by Ford’s 3.5L Twin Turbo GDI EcoBoost V6. This should give it enough punch to qualify as a high performance Crossover. In the MKT the 3.5L V6 has 415-horsepower and 400 pound feet of torque.
Only A Concept – Get them to Build It
In discussions with Ford design management, there was no confirmation that the MKT – codenamed D472 – has been approved for production. In fact, the designers contend that the MKT design has not even been proven feasible. The front fenders and rear quarters have a very crisp blade on the upper surface that would be practically impossible to stamp out of metal. MKT uses plastic to get around that particular problem.
In any event, write, email, telephone Ford to convince them to produce the MKT. If they give the vehicle the go ahead, we could expect to see it in 2010 as a 2011 model year vehicle.
Ford’s press release on the Lincoln MKT Concept is below the fold.
LINCOLN UNVEILS ULTIMATE TOURING VEHICLE CONCEPT; PREMIUM UTILITY FEATURES ELEGANCE, SPACE, EFFICIENCY
• Growth opportunity: The Lincoln MKT concept shows a new potential vehicle for Lincoln, demonstrating the brand’s new design language works as well on a spacious luxury utility vehicle as it does luxury sedans like the new 2009 Lincoln MKS.
• EcoBoost power: Ford’s global solution for improving fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for millions of customers – EcoBoost engine technology – powers Lincoln MKT.
• Responsible luxury: The Lincoln MKT concept reaches a new level of responsible luxury with the use of more environmentally friendly materials that offer a premium look and feel.
DETROIT, Jan. 14, 2008 – Lincoln today pulls the wraps off a new premium utility concept vehicle – unsurpassed in its balance of spaciousness, comfort and fuel efficiency – that shows customers a new way to tour in style.
The Lincoln MKT concept features a 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine with turbocharging and direct injection that produces the power and torque of a V-8 engine with the fuel efficiency of a V-6. EcoBoost – combined with advanced transmissions, electric power steering, weight reductions and aerodynamic improvements – is a key part of Ford Motor Company’s vehicle sustainability strategy.
The company is introducing EcoBoost engines that will deliver up to 20 percent better fuel economy on half a million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles annually in North America within the next five years. Ford will first introduce EcoBoost in the Lincoln MKS next year. The luxury sedan will feature a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6, delivering an estimated 340-horsepower and more than 340 lb.-ft. of torque on regular gas.
“EcoBoost engines can deliver better fuel economy and performance on a full range of vehicles, from small cars to large trucks,” said Mark Fields, president of The Americas. “The Lincoln MKT concept offers the comfort of a luxury sedan, the spaciousness and flexibility of a full-size utility and the performance of a sporty roadster – executed with new technologies and materials that make it as environmentally friendly as it is elegant.
“The Lincoln MKT concept is understated but powerful – inside, outside and under the hood.”
The Lincoln MKT concept features an EcoBoost engine that’s flex-fuel capable, providing the driver with the flexibility to switch back and forth between premium gasoline and E85 ethanol-gas blend. Burning these high-octane fuels, the MKT concept’s V-6 engine delivers 415 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque – an impressive 118 horsepower per liter.
The concept’s engine is mated to a six-speed transmission for greater fuel efficiency. Fuel efficiency also is helped by weight-saving, eco-friendly “upcycled” materials from SABIC
Two upcycled plastic materials, Valox iQ and Xenoy iQ, were used in making the Lincoln MKT body panels, energy absorbers, wire bundles and glazing. The resins are made from discarded soft-drink bottles and other polyester waste, keeping them out of landfills, reducing energy consumption and shrinking the vehicle’s overall carbon footprint.
Some applications of the resin help the vehicle resist heat and chemicals and also improve overall noise and vibration.
Drivers and passengers alike will appreciate the Lincoln MKT concept’s spaciousness – right down to the seats that mirror those found in first-class aircraft cabins. Four executive-sized chairs offer comfort and unprecedented leg room. As an added pleasure, second-row heated and cooled thigh supports deploy from under the seats, while footrests deploy rearward from the front seats, allowing passengers to fully recline.
“We envisioned this concept as a modern grand tourer, really a Learjet of the road,” said Peter Horbury, executive director of Design, The Americas. “With the Lincoln MKT concept, you find a premium utility that could as easily accommodate a businessperson slipping into the back seat on the way to his or her next meeting in the chaos of Manhattan as a family packed up for a weekend getaway to the coast.”
The vehicle’s symmetrical interior design divides the cabin thoughtfully, providing all four passengers equal access to the vehicle’s appointments.
Through the use of soothing tone-on-colors, eco-friendly materials, ambient lighting and flexible storage, the MKT concept offers customers a unique combination of serenity and connectivity.
Environmentally friendly details include the plush, hand-knotted rug made from banana silk that covers the floor and complements the contrasting Creamy Pearl chromium-free leather seats.
Elsewhere in the interior, chrome accents – including a one-piece sculpted door handle featuring a baroque-influenced graphic – mirror the elegant lines on the concept’s exterior.
For the center stack, designers invented and patented a solid-state lighting technology that allows them to project onto a contoured surface in 3-D. Until now, all projection was limited to flat surfaces with square or rectangular boundaries like a flat-screen television.
This new technology allowed designers to use non-traditional shapes and spaces for information displays as well as unique storage spaces in the center stack.
The expansive instrument panel and twin-level center console, finished in a reconstituted oak veneer, houses an assortment of technologies, including an instrument cluster inspired by Swarovski crystals. It uses Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) strategically positioned so light appears to emanate from the center of three circular dials and radiate to the outer edge of the dials.
The MKT concept’s center console, which runs the entire length of the vehicle to create a feeling of continuity between the upper and lower portion of the cabin, contains individual air vents, audio and climate controls, and personal storage.
In addition, a flat screen deploys from a floating overhead console which also hides two small cameras, each aimed at one of rear seats to provide on-screen “conference calling.”
In the rear cargo area, a smart space behind the second-row seats provides additional storage. Designers also included a power lift system that raises and lowers a series of rails behind the rear seats to allow flat-load or compartmentalized storage.
Lincoln’s timeless design on a whole new package
The Lincoln MKT concept features Lincoln’s signature double-wing chrome grille, encapsulating LED headlamps that wrap around into the sculptured hood, lending the luxury utility a powerful presence.
Its elegant body side chamfer runs along the shoulder, with dynamic haunches over the rear wheel arches. Inset into each front fender and traveling through the door panels are chrome Lincoln stars with spears that add visual length to the car. Meanwhile, winged, curb-clearing doors give the car a dramatic sense of direction, agility and forward movement.
A substantial C-pillar creates an aura of privacy for the rear occupants. Like limousines, the MKT cuts an interesting profile – long, low and comfortably wide. The signature roofline runs the entire length of the greenhouse and remains uninterrupted. The roof itself is glass, allowing in natural light.
As an unconventional surprise, designers incorporated a bustle-back design into the concept. The classic look provides massive storage capacity, crucial for any trip.
From the rear, the concept is instantly recognizable as a Lincoln, thanks to full-width LED taillamps stretching from side to side.
The exterior is bathed in a rich Liquid Bronze Metallic paint that compliments the chrome brightwork. The intricate 21-inch, 14-spoke interlocking chrome aluminum wheels have body color accents.
“The Lincoln MKT concept represents harmony in motion, balancing sculptured shapes and contours traditionally associated with beautiful cars on a crossover vehicle that offers the luxury of space and efficient, powerful performance,” Horbury said.