The first thing you’ll notice about the exterior of the redesigned 2013 Lincoln MKZ is the new grille, a split-V design added as a nod to the 1938 Lincoln Zephyr. For the interior, the first noticeable thing is the absence of a shifter, which has been replaced by a series of buttons stacked next to the infotainment screen. Both innovations are designed to turn heads in a midsize, entry-level luxury market that includes competing models from BMW, Audi, Volvo and others.
The MKZ debuted in 2006 as the front-wheel drive replacement for the outgoing, rear-wheel drive LS. Originally named “Zephyr” itself, the MKZ shared showroom space with the LS for a year before being renamed and taking over as Lincoln’s biggest seller. A hybrid version hit the streets two years ago and quickly garnered one-fifth of the MKZ’s sales.
Each new year has brought technological advancement and additional options, and the second-generation model is no exception.
The new sheet metal sports a high shoulder line and restyled front and rear fascia. The thin, trunk-length taillight stack is nearly as stylish as the front grille, and an integrated spoiler completes the look. The new MKZ also includes an optional panoramic sunroof, which in the closed position, you would never know was there.
The standard engine for the gas and hybrid editions is the same 2.0-liter turbo I-4 offered as an upgrade in the MKZ’s cousin, the Ford Fusion. The four-cylinder delivers 240 horsepower (hp) and 270 lb.-ft. of torque in the gas version and 188 hp in the MKZ Hybrid; the optional 3.7-liter V-6 ups the ante to 300 hp and 277 lb.-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is available for both engines in the gasoline-powered MKZ.
As expected, the cabin is packed with luxury items and technical wizardry — so much so that the MKZ actually offers slightly less interior room than the Fusion. In return, Lincoln drivers are treated to premium surfaces, cushy seating and LED lighting throughout. And then there are the options.
Starting with the base edition, which comes equipped with creature comforts such as 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, heated and powered front seats, keyless ignition and entry and more, the MKZ offers three stackable option packages.
The Lincoln MKZ and MKZ Hybrid both start at $35,925.