The Lincoln MKZ is now the sedan formerly known as Zephyr. With the name change comes other updates for 2007, such as: more power, available intelligent all-wheel drive; an updated front fascia and grille; new 17-inch, 8-spoke machined aluminum wheels; and an available THX II Certified audio system and Sirius satellite radio.
While the Lincoln MKZ is akin to the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, it does get more of its own personality for 2007. It retains the signature waterfall grille, but has been refined to incorporate more brightwork (polished metal parts) and unique headlamps. The MKZ also gets chrome trim on the beltline as well as on the mirror caps to differentiate it from its siblings. The 17-inch alloy wheels are standard, but if you prefer a machined aluminum or chrome look, you can choose that as well. The MKZ also features rear, twin chrome-tip exhausts.
Inside, the MKZ is instantly recognizable as a Lincoln product. It features electroluminescent gauges trimmed with chrome rings, satin nickel finishes on the center console, a steering wheel with real Figured Maple or Ebony wood accents, and redundant audio, climate, and cruise controls. The MKZ boasts of three feet of rear-passenger leg room, along with a trunk that has nearly 16 cubic feet of cargo volume. The rear seats also split/fold, 60/40, for even more cargo capacity. In addition, the MKZ is loaded with all of Ford's impressive safety features like the Safety Canopy side air bag system and ABS with Electronic Brake force Distribution.
The big news on the MKZ is the presence of a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that's also the motive force behind Lincoln's new mid-size crossover, the MKX. While the previous Zephyr, equipped with a 3.0-liter V-6, only produced around 220 hp, the new 3.5-liter unit in the MKZ delivers 250 hp and 240 lb.-ft. of torque. It's the only engine choice on the MKZ, and is matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The addition of intelligent all-wheel drive as an option delivers benefits in any type of weather situation. It's paired with available traction control, which allows the systems to work together to transfer torque both side-to-side as well as front-to-rear.
The Lincoln MKZ competes in the Compact Premium Conventional segment, which consists of 15 models. Buyers in this segment look for performance, exterior styling, and quality, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the BMW 3 Series (120,180 units sold), Acura TL (71,348), and Infiniti G35 (60,741). The Lincoln MKZ sold 11,176 units in 2006 in its first year on the market. Other models offered in the Compact Premium Conventional segment include the Cadillac CTS, Lexus IS-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, and Acura TSX.